Those who oppose a constitutional requirement that Minnesotans present a photo ID to vote like to argue that voter fraud is too rare to worry about. These opponents are primarily Democrats and liberals, including Gov. Mark Dayton. To us, their standard seems pretty weak and contradictory, given the fact that in any other public policy question, they favor government intervention. What's their line? "Even if this [insert issue here] affects only one person, that's one person too many." Right?
The fact is that voter fraud is real. There were 157 total convictions in the 2008 and 2010 elections. That likely means there were many other cases in which no one was caught or prosecuted. The goal should be zero voter fraud. And one very good way to get there is by requiring citizens to bring a photo ID to the polls that includes a current address. People who do not drive could obtain a picture ID, and if there are other special circumstances, they could be worked out within the new system.
Critics say the real goal is to limit access to the polls for the poor, minorities, the elderly and the disabled, or groups that tend to favor Democrats. But if critics want to make that case, couldn't it be turned around on them? As in, when fraud exists, who is benefitting from it? And fraud, it seems to us, is far worse than the mere possibility that someone might be discouraged from voting because they see obtaining an ID as too much work.
In the end, we believe Minnesotans deserve a fraud-free system, and they deserve the chance to express their opinion on voter ID as a constitutional amendment question on the ballot this fall.