The governor’s rationale for vetoing the Voter ID bill expressed in his veto letter doesn’t stand scrutiny for even a second. His letter recycles tired, discredited talking points circulated nationally by organizations in opposition to Voter ID. The points aren’t grounded in reality, especially as they relate to Minnesota’s own unique 21st Century Voter ID bill (SF509).
Between the governor’s ill-composed veto letter and executive order establishing a commission to ostensibly recommend improvements to Minnesota’s election system fully two months after the 2012 presidential election, it leaves one to wonder what he’s really thinking.
Governor Dayton laid out several excuses to rationalize his veto of the popular Voter ID bill. He began by raising the shield Secretary of State Mark Ritchie always goes to first, stating that Minnesota has the best election system in the nation, yet by executive order, he established a commission to “streamline the process for voters, lower the costs to local governments and prevent from voting those who should not be voting.” SF509 would have accomplished all those things. Does our election system need improvement, or not? From the governor’s statement and actions, it appears he thinks it may, but not until after the 2012 election.
The governor went on to make several patently false statements to excuse his veto of the wildly popular Voter ID bill.
First, he asserted that the election offense most often cited – felons voting illegally – “will not be addressed by a photo ID requirement.”
This is a deceptive talking point that was often raised by Mike Dean, Minnesota’s Common Cause director, in over a dozen legislative hearings on the Voter ID bill. Common Cause, like MoveOn.org and ACORN, is largely funded by George Soros, the man behind the Secretary of State Project that helped elect our anti-voter ID secretary of state, Mark Ritchie in 2006. The talking point has been circulated nationally by Common Cause, MoveOn and the League of Women Voters but while it may have been true in some states debating their own simpler Voter ID bills, it is completely false in relation to Minnesota’s own 21st Century Voter ID bill (SF509), but to the uninformed, it sounds logical.
The bill elegantly addressed the problem of ineligible voters in Article 2, Sections 11 and 13, by cross-referencing state databases of known ineligible voters like convicted felons and known non-citizens. The system would verify eligibility by identical standards for all voters, including Election Day registrants – before they get a ballot.
The governor said delaying the primary canvassing date by a week to accommodate counting provisional ballots would violate the federal MOVE Act which requires military and overseas absentee ballots to be sent at least 45 days before an election, but, thanks to a change last year that moved Minnesota’s primaries to August, there are approximately 90 days between the primary and general elections in any given election year. Delaying the canvass by 7 days still leaves about 38 days to prepare ballots for mailing before the 45-day advance deadline to mail them.
44 other states employ provisional ballots in the same fashion without running afoul of the MOVE Act.
The Governor objected to what he termed an “unfunded mandate” of $23 million on local governments, citing a “local impact note” that mirrored a report by Common Cause (“the High Costs of Voter ID Mandates” – March, 2011).
The local impact note primarily involves the cost of obtaining electronic roster equipment though. Since their use is optional in the bill. It’s not a mandate, unfunded or otherwise.
It should also be noted that the bill’s official fiscal note, produced by Dayton’s own Administration Department relied on sources including Common Cause Minnesota and the Brennan Center for Justice (another Soros-funded outfit), which recently hired Minnesota’s League of Women Voters executive director Keesha Gaskins as their Senior Counsel. Ms. Gaskins frequently testified against Voter ID in legislative hearings on behalf of the League.
The governor’s final excuse was that the bill did not have bipartisan support. Two recent polls (Star Tribune and KSTP/Survey USA) found that about 80% of voters support Voter ID, including 64% of Democrats, 84% of independents and 94% of Republicans.
Not one of the governor’s explanations stand up to reason, so what’s he really thinking?
The taskforce he ordered to make recommendations on modernizing Minnesota’s election system and preventing fraud isn’t due to make a report until two months after the 2012 election, providing the governor a convenient excuse to veto any other common-sense election reforms the legislature may send his way. He can justify future vetoes by claiming to be waiting for a report from his taskforce.
A constitutional amendment requiring Voter ID has been introduced, and with 80% support is certain to be passed by the voters without any possibility for interference from the governor, but it won’t take effect until the 2014 elections.
The strategy of the national organizations and the governor seems simply to buy time and keep Minnesota’s election reforms at bay until after the 2012 presidential election.
Because the governor shot down the 21st Century Voter ID bill, which would have dramatically increased election integrity, supporters of election integrity must redouble our efforts for the 2012 election. Be sure to fill out the volunteer form on this site if you haven’t already and share the site with your friends and neighbors. It’s once again up to the citizens to secure a fair, untarnished election.