Letters: City blind to Lake/Pioneer pedestrian dangers; Ineligible voting a concern
Doesn't city see dangers at Lake Road and Pioneer Drive?
Regarding the article about a Lake Middle School student getting hit by a 20-something woman distracted by her phone: The article talks about a future "yellow pedestrian light at an intersection near the middle school."
It is unbelievable that powers that be are blind to the danger posed by current stop signs — or a future yellow light — regulating traffic at the busy intersection of Pioneer Drive and Lake Road. This multi-lane intersection with several turn lanes absolutely requires a regular traffic signal with red — not just yellow — light with push button feature to allow for safe pedestrian crossing.
Will our City Council wake up only after a fatality occurs at this intersection? Isn't there any rational voice in the City Council that sees the inevitable catastrophe should a red light not get installed? Yes, I know regular traffic signals with red lights are very expensive. But I do not wish to see a preventable disaster occurring simply because other city projects received priorities over the lives of our children.
We should be concerned with integrity of election system
Some people, it seems, are easily "terrified." But terrified by what? The specter of provisional ballots, stricter voter identification requirements — whatever. Even, as one recent Bulletin letter writer put it, by the threat of Jim Crow laws in Minnesota.
As you may recall, this "terror" talk was prompted by a recent letter suggesting that several hundred ex-felons may have voted illegally in Minnesota in 2008. Whether or not this claim is valid, it does raise serious questions as to the extent of improper voting, whether here or in some other jurisdiction. Why, then, the concern? Because among other things, an illegal vote, in effect, cancels out a legitimate vote, a vote cast in good faith.
So much, then, for the claim that even a small number of illegal ballots, whether intentionally or unintentionally cast, are "no big deal." This, of course, also speaks to the larger question: Does stricter voter scrutiny depress voter participation, particularly among racial minorities or among otherwise marginalized groups? Or, to put it differently, does any requirement that — at least arguably — could "suppress" voter turnout outweigh the damage, even if marginal, done to the overall integrity of the election system? Good question.
Even if marginal? A caveat that, quite obviously, speaks to another claim made by those who are so easily "terrified." And that claim, in brief, is the claim that illegal, fraudulent voting doesn't really happen, at least not to any significant degree. This argument — largely a leftist talking point — would have us believe that illegal voting is so rare as to be inconsequential, e.g., it could not "throw" a close election. History, of course, tells us otherwise. Significant voter fraud has happened in the past (e.g. in Illinois in 1960, Texas in 1948). And undoubtedly will continue to happen, though perhaps less frequently and less blatantly than in the good old days. More importantly, we must remember that elections are, in essence, raw power games in which the players will, predictably, play "hardball," whether by way of dishonest rhetoric, outright lies, dirty tricks and, if given the opportunity, by "stuffing the ballot box."
In sum then, we should be concerned (but without becoming "terrified") with protecting the integrity of our voting system. But, an aside: Maybe we should also say vote responsibly, thoughtfully.
Thomas St. Martin
Ineligible voting a concern
Through the course of multiple letters from liberal apologists Joyce Denn and Carol Turnbull ("Voting franchise is a precious right"; "Voting claims should be backed with proof"), they never express any concern that Minnesota election law requires known ineligible persons be given a ballot if they simply swear they are eligible. The election judge has no power to prevent such an ineligible person from voting and Denn and Turnbull do not tell us what they think about that.
It is good, though, that Denn highlights how few convictions there are for fraudulent voting. Her implied (and illogical) conclusion is that a low number of convictions means a low amount of ineligible voting. She fails to mention that county attorneys have no interest in pursuing such cases, in no small part because the statute requires that the person be shown to have "known" that they were ineligible. That is, as a practical matter, the person must admit they knew they were ineligible. Absent that, a conviction cannot be obtained.
Further, the public should be aware that Steve Simon, the Minnesota Secretary of State, defies the Data Practices Act by keeping secret the voter information and voting histories of ineligible persons. If Denn and Turnbull want to provide a public service they might talk to their fellow Democrat about allowing public interest groups to obtain the official information needed to do the data comparisons that the Office of the Secretary of State refuses to do.
Finally, Turnbull's questioning of the validity of the Minnesota Voters Alliance's analysis that found more than 900 ineligible votes in the 2008 election demonstrates that she has not looked at the data presented to the Minnesota Supreme Court. A review of that submission would have made her aware of the specific and detailed proof provided, including criminal Registers of Action from the state court system, official individual voting histories from the Secretary of State, signed Voter Registration Applications, signed poll rosters, and lists of ineligible persons provided to the Secretary of State by state agencies.