Minnesota Senate Debates Expansion of Early Voting Measures

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

(The Senate Elections Committee heard testimony Wednesday in regards to a bill proposed to expand early voting and absentee balloting in Minnesota elections. -Video from TheUptake.org)

Minnesota Senate Committee members heard testimony Wednesday debating whether or not it would be constitutional to expand early voting and absentee balloting, making it easier and convenient to cast a ballot in all primary and general elections.

Proponents of the bill, such as the Chairman of the Committee Sen. Katie Siebens who introduced the bill, says it is a myth that Minnesotans have early voting rights now and she says this bill will expand early voting and be more convenient for the voter.

Opponents say the bill may be unconstitutional and argue that it will make it easier to cheat in elections and harder to detect and prevent voter fraud. Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer and Minnesota Majority’s Dan McGrath both testified at the hearing in opposition of the new bill.

“(This bill) is extraordinarily dangerous for the integrity of our election system,” said McGrath. “We can simply not have every election convenience to make voting easier and at the same time have none of the features that other states employ to make cheating harder, unless our objective of course is to be governed by the candidates and parties who cheat the best.”

McGrath supported a controversial voter ID constitutional Amendment authored by Kiffmeyer that failed in the General Election last fall. He has championed Voter Integrity measures and uncovered instances of voter fraud sometimes leading in felony convictions for some.

In her testimony, Kiffmeyer called into question the legality of early voting and absentee balloting measures saying they conflicted with the single day general election as set forth in the constitution. She also called for a second look at current election law in regards to absentee balloting. 

Language of the bills debated Wednesday are included here at S0498.0 and S0332.0 respectively. 

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Voter ID History So Far

(Video by Jeremy Griffith)

History of the Voter ID Debate in Minnesota

In November, Minnesotans will vote on election day for or against a controversial pair of amendments, one upholding the definition of traditional marriage and the other on requiring photo ID at the polls. We will be examining the photo ID constitutional amendment.

The voter ID law has been an issue since the heavily contested election of Al Franken as senator over the incumbent Norm Coleman. The election was so tight that voter fraud was alleged and recounts and legal challenges mounted. In the end Franken was elected, but a need had arisen in the eyes of many to clean up the Minnesota election system.

Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority has led the charge to require voter ID laws since the 2008 election. He has turned up instances of voter irregularities and fraud and has helped draft voter ID legislation.

In 2010, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the law that was approved largely on a partisan basis. He says the law would disenfranchise many voters who cannot afford an ID.

In an effort to get the matter into law, the Minnesota Majority and protectmyvote.com people have sought the make the issue into a constitutional amendment that would have the power to bypass the governor’s veto. This puts the matter directly in the hands of the voter.

Over 80 organizations in the state oppose the voter ID amendment saying it would serve to restrict voter turnout and disenfranchise voters unable to obtain ID.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie who opposes the law, changed the name of the ballot initiative without the consent of the legislature. The issue was taken to court and the supreme court of Minnesota ruled that the Secretary did not have the right to change the name of the initiative on the ballot where the legislature had already done so.

Opposition of the law includes the Secretary of State, The Governor, and the League of Women Voters, and most recently OurVoteOurFuture. On Thursday Dan McGrath debated OurVoteOurFuture’s Doran Schrantz on public television. Local legislators who support the bill includes former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, who authored the bill, Rep. Mike Benson, and Sen. Carla Nelson, to name a few.

John Fund of the Wall Street Journal has written a book on the issue of voter fraud entitled “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk”. He supports the Minnesota Voter ID amendment and has visited Minnesota often to talk about this issue. Recently he spoke to amendment supporters in Minnesota and debated Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

For more information on this issue, follow American Millennium Online.com.

(Below see a the most recent poll regarding Voter ID from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.)


(Visualization by Jeremy Griffith based on statistics from the Star Tribune Poll.)

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WSJ’s John Fund Visits St. Paul, Gives Voter Fraud Talk

by Jeremy Griffith

John Fund, author, Fox News and WSJ contributor. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

Wall Street Journal and Fox News contributor John Fund was in St. Paul, Minnesota Monday to promote his new book and to talk to fans about the issue of requiring voter ID at the polls in order to prevent voter fraud.

Fund’s book, entitled “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk”, prominently features issues of alleged voter fraud in Minnesota during the 2008 election campaign in its opening chapter.

“I at least wanted to come here to thank the folks who read my work, who watch my various appearances on the networks, to at least thank you for your support,” said Fund.”You pay my salary!”

“I know there are a lot of people who will hear a lot of different things about the Voter ID amendment. Our goal is this,” said Fund. “It’s what Democratic Senator Chris Dodd said when we passed the bipartisan ‘Help America Vote’ act, which by the way says contrary to the opponents of this amendment a military ID is a valid government ID, no military personnel will be denied the right to vote.”

“What (Dodd) said is, ‘this is America! We can make it easy to vote and hard to cheat!” said Fund, quoting Dodd. “We can do both at the same time!”

“This is America! We can make it easy to vote and hard to cheat! We can do both at the same time!” -John Fund, Wall Street Journal

Fund’s appearance was facilitated by Minnesota Majority and ProtectMyVote.com and took place at O’Gara’s Bar and Grill in St. Paul. Both organizations have been active in drafting legislation in Minnesota and raising awareness of voter disenfranchisement due to voter fraud. A full video of Fund’s remarks is available here.

Minnesota Majority Chairman Dan McGrath, introduced the key note speaker. McGrath helped write legislation requiring voter identification at the polls. A ballot question setting forth a constitutional amendment to require voter ID at the polls will be voted on by the electorate in November’s general election.

Dan McGrath, Minnesota Majority. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

“My grandmother is 92-years old, she has photo ID,” McGrath said, explaining his rational for support of ballot question. “She needs it to see her doctor and pick up her prescriptions. The idea (of the opposition) that senior citizens won’t be able to vote is nonsense.”

“‘It’s going to eliminate same day registration’, they say,” said McGrath said, quoting opposition to the amendment. “Absolute nonsense. Nothing in the amendment calls for that, nothing in statue implies that is going to happen. It’s a desperate lie and nothing more!”

Since the 2008 election, McGrath has almost single-handedly bird-dogged the Voter ID fraud issue, resulting in the placement of the ballot initiative on the ballot and the conviction of over 200 cases of voter fraud.

McGrath and Minnesota Majority won a major victory early this month when the Supreme Court decided that the Secretary of State Mark Ritchie does not have the authority to change the title of ballot questions as they appear on the ballot when the legislature has already decided on a name. Ritchie, along with Attorney General Lori Swanson, who both oppose the Voter ID amendment, approved the name change of two ballot initiatives, the Voter ID amendment question and the Traditional Marriage Amendment. The Supreme Court’s decision chastises state officials for changing the title of the amendments and restores the original titles as they will appear on the amendment.

According to McGrath, a lot of work is needed to raise awareness about the Voter ID Amendment ballot question to inform voters and dispel myths from the opposition.

“We need to spend some money getting this message out there, refuting those lies, using logic and reason to explain how the amendment works and what it doesn’t do,” said McGrath.

“We need to spend some money getting this message out there, refuting those lies, using logic and reason to explain how the amendment works and what it doesn’t do,” -Dan McGrath, Minnesota Majority.

Legislation to require voter ID at the polls was vetoed earlier by Governor Mark Dayton. A constitutional amendment has the power to overcome a governor’s veto. Constitutional amendments like the Voter ID and Marriage Amendments require a majority of voters to pass, and a abstention from voting equals a no vote according to Minnesota Statues.

The League of Women Voters is one of nearly 80 organizations who oppose the Voter ID ballot question, saying it will disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and military voters serving overseas.

ProtectMyVote.com staff hand out campaign signs at an event in St. Paul. John Fund of WSJ spoke in favor of a voter ID amendment in Minnesota. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

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