With all this Voter ID talk going on for the past few years, have you ever wondered how likely voter impersonation really is? Here’s your answer:
It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.
This information comes from a study done four years ago at the Brennan Center at New York University. It’s almost comical. I mean, how many people do you know who have been struck by lightning?
But in all seriousness, Republicans keep justifying their Voter ID with the same tired excuses, all of which are wrong. Governor Dayton put it well when he said Voter ID was “largely a solution in search of a problem.”
Let’s break down the GOP justifications.
As we just said, voter impersonation is so rare you’d be more likely to get hit by lightning. In Minnesota, county attorneys in 71 of Minnesota’s 87 counties investigated a total of seven impersonation charges out of 2.9 million voters in 2008. Seven whole impersonation charges. Zero convictions as of 2010.
Another GOP justification for Voter ID is that it will keep felons from voting. That claim is false, because identification cards such as a driver’s license don’t have a person’s criminal status on them.
“They’re talking about a solution that doesn’t address the issue,” said Kathy Bonnifield, CEIMN’s associate director.
The Voter ID bill is moving closer and closer to a floor vote in the legislature. Implementing a Voter ID system will cost $1.5 million. Spending that much money on a fix to a nonexistent problem is reckless and a misuse of money that is needed elsewhere. Minnesota still has a multibillion dollar deficit and Republicans should focus on what really matters: balancing the budget and getting Minnesotans back to work, not spending millions of dollars on an unnecessary system.
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