I'm just sayin' - Why it's important that we are who we say we areThe most sacred and important right we have as U.S. citizens is the right to vote as we see fit with no outside influences, pressures or fraudulent activity. Politics has gotten so divisive and polarized that billions of dollars are spent to pressure and influence us to vote a certain way.
By: DuWayne Paul, Columnist, Alexandria Echo Press
The most sacred and important right we have as U.S. citizens is the right to vote as we see fit with no outside influences, pressures or fraudulent activity. Politics has gotten so divisive and polarized that billions of dollars are spent to pressure and influence us to vote a certain way. However, even with pressure and influence, it is still our own vote as we choose to exercise it. The part of our election process that particularly irritates me is the effort to either suppress votes or to fraudulently place votes. Either practice is unacceptable in a republic form of government, as ours was initially established. The state of Minnesota currently has very unflattering notoriety, having been declared by Minnesota Majority as “Number one in voter fraud.”
How can that be, you ask? Minnesotans are well educated, and a very high percentage of the state’s residents vote. Those are good things, but they do not prevent voter fraud. There is no way to tell what percentage of the fraudulent votes in Minnesota would be Democrat, Republican, or other political party; but revealing and interesting statistics were identified during the 2008 election in Minnesota.
For instance, research indicated there were 2,800 fraudulent votes cast by — get this, here it comes — convicted felons! Minnesota is prosecuting some felons for voter fraud but has only convicted 156 to date; many more prosecutions are still pending. Also, there were about 6,500 votes cast in the 2008 election where the people who cast those votes cannot be located or identified. So, that makes a potential of 9,300 votes cast by someone who did not have the right to vote or who were not who they said they were. That is enough votes to sway any state or national election in Minnesota. For instance, Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race by 312 votes. Did those 9,300 votes affect the final tally? Of course they did! How they affected the vote total is unknown, but common sense says that they did.
Minnesota encourages everyone to register to vote if they are eligible. Other potential voters have the ability to register on Election Day, if they can prove who they are. Minnesota has another method of registering to vote that seems to go beyond the bounds of common sense. This method is called “vouching.” Using this method, potential voters can show up at the polling place and announce who they are and where they live. If they don’t have a method of ID, they can bring along a friend. If that friend “vouches” that they are who they say they are, then voting is allowed. This seems beyond ridiculous. In rural Minnesota, where everyone knows everyone, it can work. In highly populated urban areas, how can this method be acceptable or responsible? Plus, by using this method, a voter and their “vouching person” can go to several polling locations and use different names and addresses at each location on Election Day. This method of voter verification is ripe for fraud.
Minnesota needs a system of identification that verifies voter identity. The State Constitutional amendment on the ballot in November will call for voter ID in order to vote. The amendment has provisions to help those who need assistance to secure an ID over the next two years. Minnesota should have voter ID to protect our liberties. But I’m just sayin’.
“The greatest threat to the constitutional right to vote is voter fraud.”
U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.