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Letters: Voting franchise is a precious right; voting claims should be backed with proof

Voting franchise is a precious right

While Susan Richardson ("Lack of awareness of election defects 'more terrifying," May 10) is correct that the Minnesota Voters Alliance submitted 900 [alleged] instances of ineligible felons voting in 2008, she leaves out some salient facts. In truth, far fewer than 312 (Franken's margin of victory in '08) people were charged with fraudulently voting or fraudulently registering to vote, fewer than 80 in Hennepin and Ramsey counties combined, plus a handful in the rest of the state, and of those, only a few were convicted. In fact, an independent audit found only 10 cases of ex-felons voting illegally in '08, 0.00003 percent of the total vote in that election.

The Minnesota Voters Alliance bills itself as nonpartisan, but it is, in fact, a GOP-leaning advocacy group seeking to restrict the franchise of citizens more likely to vote for Democrats. While it is true that the majority of ex-felons tend to vote for Democrats, that is a result of the unequal application of felony laws; for example, while the rates of drug usage and dealing are similar for all races, people of color are much more likely to be searched, arrested and convicted than whites, because law enforcement efforts focus mainly on urban and low income communities of color. Furthermore, it is no accident that state bans on voting by ex-felons were largely enacted in the years immediately following the ratification of the 15th Amendment, which granted African Americans the right to vote.

I agree with Richardson on one thing, though; the lack of awareness of the facts, as she wrote, is terrifying. The franchise is a precious right, the very foundation of our form of government; it should not be stripped from anyone without a clear understanding of the consequences and ramifications of denying that right. Jim Crow laws should have no place in Minnesota.

Joyce Denn



Voting claims should be backed with proof

In attacking my previous letter, Susan Richardson ("Lack of awareness of election defects 'more terrifying," May 10) says the Minnesota Voters Alliance "provided the Minnesota Supreme Court with more than 900 specific instances of ineligible felons voting in the 2008 election." However, she neglects to tell us the disposition of those claims.

This conservative group (dubbed "Republican-friendly") has also reported as "election irregularities" the following: college students voting without using a driver's license; more than two people using an address to vote; an established registered voter vouching for the residence in a precinct of more than one person, and assistance for impaired voters, according to All of these things are perfectly legal.

Claiming is easy. Heck, President Trump claims that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes. He also claimed that voters were bused in from Massachusetts to vote illegally in New Hampshire (causing him to lose the state). But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding — and Trump has no pudding. Ms. Richardson, do you?

Carol Turnbull



Memorial Day....2017

As we look upon Memorial Day this year

We can't move on without a tear!

For the longest war we presently fight

Makes Viet Nam second, with no delight.

We veterans of 'Nam take little pride

As the war of today pushes us aside.

The reasons are different, but some are the same

Because the pain and suffering clearly remain.

Freedom is never free,

Ask those who fought for it, including me.

All the people like me

Are only pawns in the big picture you see.

So this Memorial Day, when you visit a hero or more

Remember what they really died for.

It wasn't for greatness or even for fame,

It was so freedom should forever remain.

Bob Beskar

Viet Nam war veteran

Cottage Grove

May 2017