During the endless Coleman/Franken recount a justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court informed an attorney: "This is not Florida." The observation deservedly got wide-spread attention. Indeed, Minnesota is nothing at all like Florida when it comes to election recounts although some of our choices in elected officials bring widespread scorn and contempt, ie, Senator Franken. Minnesotans simply think too highly of themselves and avoid the obvious conclusion that at times they are something of a laughing stock in nation, ie, Governor Ventura. Should we go on?
Yet what MC has noticed of late is that Minnesota is also not Illinois. We say this because of the very serious issue of voter fraud being bandied about, mostly by our team but in ways so overt and heavy-handed that the issue is drained of importance, not highlighted. A disservice is done to the very issue that is sought to be made serious to a wider audience. This is a pity.
MC has had these thoughts for some time but kept them to itself until now. Our candidate for secretary of state, Dan Severson deserves to win over the hack, ACORN coddled Mark Ritchie. Yet the former's claim in a recent press conference that voter fraud swayed the outcome of the Coleman/Franken senate race of 2008 is simply not supported by the facts. Coleman's own attorneys said that there was "not a whiff" of voter fraud. We are confused as to why a solid, decent candidate should claim otherwise. The case against Ritchie is overwhelming and is only undermined by unsupportable assertions.
Minnesota Majority has done a fair amount of work on the issue of felons and others who should not be voting voting. This is to the good. Large, dramatic, over-arching conclusions about the integrity of the Minnesota electoral system should not be made, however, let alone be made fodder for breathless fund raising efforts. Minnesota is not Illinois. By claiming more than can be reasonably proven, or even inferred, an important issue is marginalized as a football between two political parties. The issue deserves more, deserves better.
MC would be remiss if it didn't point out that the DFL routinely minimizes the issue of voter fraud and irregularities. This is a disgraceful abdication of its responsibilities as a political party wielding great power in this state. We hope our friends on the other side take the DFL to task in the same spirit in which we caution our side from inadvertently making Minnesota into Illinois.
MC supports voter photo ID but does not see it as a panacea because we are not convinced of any underlying pathology. With same day voter registration still in place, we aren't sure that any alleged fraud will be remedied. Still, presenting a picture ID is not a burden in any meaningful sense and democrat opposition is not only misplaced, it positively suggests bad faith. So, too, does democrat opposition to voting integrity efforts while placing complete emphasis on voter registration. If democrats don't want to be seen as suspect, they might want to stop acting in suspect ways.
The point MC is making is a simple one: voter integrity is crucial to any healthy, functioning state in this nation. By overstating the case of problems, republicans only serve to make it more likely than not that an effective corrective can be brought to bear on the matter. By minimizing, if not denying outright, any such problems brought to light, the democrats in Minnesota make themselves resemble democrats in Illinois, failing the public in being responsible and responsive to a legitimate--and bi-partisan--issue of great importance.
The public has every right to expect more and better of these parties and, starting November 3rd, MC hopes they begin to provide it.