Voter ID amendment protects right to vote, fair elections

By LU SHAUGHNESSY

As I see it, the only people that didn’t want the Voter ID constitutional amendment on our ballots in November are those who want voter fraud to continue. Why else would they oppose showing proper identification?

Seriously, there is no other reason to not insist that voters show appropriate identification in order to take part in one of the most honorable rights a citizen of the United States of America has. Our right to vote, and to have fair election results needs to be protected.

Since when is being required to present proper identification a violation of a persons’ constitutional rights? A valid ID needs to be presented for practically everything these days. The usual occasions are to verify your airline boarding pass and get through airport security; to purchase alcohol and tobacco products, prescription medications, apply for welfare/food stamp assistance, attend an R-rated movie, ear and body piercings, tattoos and to obtain all types of insurance to name a few of the most common.

More and more medical providers are asking for photo IDs. As a matter of fact, any and all real estate transactions require a photo ID, as does renting an apartment or a vehicle, and sometimes just to use a credit card.

To enter any Disney property to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse, my fingerprint is required to prove that I wasn’t using someone else’s pass. I was just asked for ID to return an item to TJ Maxx without a receipt recently.

It just takes one fraudulent or illegal vote to cheapen all lawful votes and I cannot understand why some people wouldn’t want every legitimate vote to count. After all, we are voting to elect the leaders of our cities, state, and country.

Over the years, I’ve had many conversations with election judges throughout the state and some of their stories made me realize that voter fraud truly exists. At one precinct, a van pulled up carrying about a dozen people that all had nametags on and two people to vouch for their ‘residency’ and ability to vote.

These folks were evidently not competent enough to cast votes on their own because the two "witnesses" tried to enter the voting booths to "assist" them. A male election judge went over to explain that no one can accompany a person into the voting booth and "coach" them. The "witnesses" insisted that they’d coached other voters before and should be able to do so again, whereas the precinct judge had to insist they step away or he’d have to call the authorities. That’s just one example.

I don’t believe for a minute that the people opposing the Voter ID amendment and claim there’s never been any voter fraud convictions are stupid, ill-informed, or in denial. I believe they offer their opinions to keep the truth from being told.

Yes, 113 individuals who voted illegally in 2008 have been convicted under Minnesota Statue 201.014. According to the Minnesota Majority, "The actual number of illegal votes cast was in the thousands. Most unlawful voters were never charged with a crime because they simply pleaded ignorance. We have evidence of these people casting illegal ballots, but in Minnesota, ignorance of election law is considered to be an acceptable defense."

This has got to be the only law that can be broken by claiming ignorance! Think about it; there would not be a Sen. Franken if voter fraud laws could have been properly enforced immediately at the ballot box. In both of these elections, there were several counties with more votes than registered voters.

For something as important as our right to vote and to fair election outcomes, you would think that early registration should be mandatory. In order to obtain a U.S. passport, you must apply at least six weeks before you need it. Sure, you can pay the additional $150 to expedite the processing, but it’s still at least a week. No passport, no international travel. The same should hold true for voting; no valid ID, no vote.

As for the very poor and disadvantaged being ‘disenfranchised’ because they are unable to obtain an ID, that’s one of the biggest lies you’ll hear from those opposed to this common-sense law. This legislation includes a provision for free, government-issued photo IDs for anyone who needs one.

Eighty percent of Minnesota voters support this sensible, judicious, reasonable, practical legislation and it’s not because they already have an ID. It’s because they know there is voter fraud and it needs to be stopped.

The Democrats are absolutely terrified of this referendum on the November ballot. I, on the other hand, welcome it and am confident that requiring voters to produce proper identification will become law.

Lu Shaughnessy is a Stillwater real estate broker.

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