Voter ID laws not about protecting integrity of vote
Since Thomas St. Martin ("We should be concerned with integrity of election system") is so concerned about election fraud, surely he is outraged over the legitimate voters who lost the franchise through Republican chicanery. And, let's be clear: The Republican Party benefits when legitimate votes are suppressed.
Mike Turzai, then Republican leader of the Pennsylvania House, declared in 2012: "Voter ID, which is gonna[sic] allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done." Sometimes, voter suppression is almost too blatant: After passing a voter ID law in 2015, Alabama closed nearly every motor vehicle office in every county in which African Americans made up more than 75 percent of registered voters.
Then, of course, there is our neighbor Wisconsin, whose voter ID law took effect in time for the 2016 election. The law did mandate that the state educate voters regarding which forms of ID were acceptable, and how to get them. Funny thing, though: Wisconsin failed to fund that public education campaign.
Wisconsin Republicans knew what they were doing. As former Wisconsin Republican staffer Todd Allbaugh testified in court, Republican senators were "giddy" about keeping some people from voting: "They were politically frothing at the mouth."
St. Martin dismisses as a "liberal talking point" the idea that voter impersonation, the only kind of fraud that voter IDs and provisional ballots would prevent, is vanishingly rare. I had no idea federal courts used "liberal talking points." The Fifth Circuit noted "only two convictions for in-person voter impersonation fraud out of 20 million votes cast in the decade" in Texas, and, the Fourth Circuit found that there wasn't even "a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina." Even the U.S. Supreme Court, in Crawford v. Marion County, noted that there was "no evidence of any [in-person voter impersonation] fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history." And, the United States Department of Justice, looking for examples of election fraud in the 2002 and 2004 federal elections, found that 0.00000012 percent of ballots were fraudulent. Of those, none involved voter impersonation.
Certainly, election fraud exists, primarily through absentee voting, on which voter ID laws and provisional ballot laws have no impact; these laws are not about protecting the integrity of the vote, they are about winning at the expense of the integrity of the vote.
Barking up wrong tree with provisional ballots
Susan Richardson is still making a hubbub about provisional ballots ("Ineligible voting a concern"). I would point out that (1) this year's legislative session is over now, and (2) the provisional ballot language, while approved by the Senate, never made it out of the Republican-controlled House committee, where it was decisively rejected.
Woodbury's Republican representative, Kelly Fenton, stated she didn't want the voting bill to come with costs to the state, as provisional balloting would have done. Instead, she says she worked with the secretary of state and others on a bipartisan bill that would not be vetoed by the governor. It was then passed and signed into law. So I would say "thank you" to Rep. Fenton for showing common sense.
Richardson is correct that maintaining the integrity of our elections is vital. But since her own party doesn't seem to view this issue as "terrifying," I think she's barking up the wrong tree. Maybe she should focus on something like gerrymandering instead.
Thanks to Fenton for supporting tax relief
Minnesotans will finally receive some needed tax relief, and this would not have happened without the strong support provided by state Rep. Kelly Fenton.
Thanks to Rep. Fenton's vote, hardworking Minnesotans will see the largest tax relief proposal approved over the past two decades. This $650 million plan includes Social Security tax relief for senior citizens, a first-in-the-nation tax credit for college student loan payments, property tax relief for every small business owner, and improved dependent care tax credits for working families.
As chairman of the Minnesota House Taxes Committee, I can tell you this historic tax relief measure would not have occurred without the input and the backing of Rep. Fenton.
This session's $1 billion surplus gave lawmakers the opportunity to finally address the fact that Minnesotans are overtaxed. Instead of simply wasting your money, Rep. Fenton stood up and fought hard to ensure that residents in your area would benefit from tax relief. I thank Rep. Fenton for her continued support of this proposal throughout session, and your readers can be thankful she is prioritizing common sense tax relief at the State Capitol.
Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston
Chairman, Minnesota House Taxes Committee