Hearing before Minnesota House on Voter ID

On Thursday, April 7, 2010 I attended and gave testimony at a hearing before the Finance Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives. The purpose of the hearing was largely to obtain testimony of individuals on the bill, HF210 known as the “21st Century Voter ID” Bill.

Naturally, this bill is strongly opposed by labor, liberals, and Democrats because it is a good step towards reducing their ability to “game the system”, which is a huge problem in Minnesota. As an example of the problem, in the 2008 election (in which Franken and Coleman were running), there were 17,000 more votes cast in Minnesota that there were registered voters.

It was shown also that many ineligible voters, such as convicted felons, did manage to vote. The Democrat machine has at least a 50 year history of stealing elections in Minnesota. With a photo ID, the abuse-prone process of “vouching” will be no longer an available tactic.

The hearing room was packed. The supporters of voter ID outnumbered the opponents by at least five to one.

Essentially, supporters believe that it is so common in our society to require a photo ID that we should extend the process to voting. For example, if you ship a UPS parcel, travel by air, want to go to school and eat in the cafeteria, check out a book in the library, and on and on. It is clear that you practically cannot function without a photo ID.

I was struck by two aspects of the testimony:

  1. The supporters of Voter ID were passionate and held strong beliefs in the intent of having fair elections.
  2. The detractors of Voter ID appeared to have arguments that they could care less about. That is, they really don’t want voter ID because they want to continue to be able to have fraudulent elections, but their stated reasons seemed to be whatever they could think of as a possible downside, without commitment to that reason.

My testimony had to do with two experiences I had in the 2010 election where I served as a Poll Challenger.┬áThere were two incidents of “gaming the system” which HF210 would help prevent.

1. Busing potentially ineligible voters

During the day I was requested by to go to another precinct, where buses were dropping off voters.

Approximately 20 individuals were brought in two vans from the a resident LGBT treatment facility, whose residents are known to be predominantly non-residents. I identified myself to the Head Election Judge and presented my credentials. She informed me who they were and that they were all “same-day” registration.”

2. Agent Provocateur.

There was an agent provocateur who came to vote. His conduct was a blatant attempt to provoke an improper  response from me.

  • He very loudly and clearly made a number of provocative comments.
  • He carried in a small dog, which he repeatedly said was named “Acorn.”
  • He said that the dog could vote too, because his name was “Acorn” and Mark Ritchie (the Minnesota Secretary of State) said the dog could vote.
  • He carried two blue precinct notification cards and when asked his name by the election judge said “Oh yes, who am I now?” Then fumbled with the cards, looked at one, and gave his name.
  • He then said it was tiring going to all the polling places and could not see how the candidates were able to make all their campaign appearances since going to the numerous polling places to vote was so tiring.
  • Finally he said “where do I go next? Oh, yes to St Margaret’s” with the obvious implication that he was going to another polling place.

To me it is obvious that if you were trying to commit fraud you would be quiet and surreptitious, not loud, blatant, and obvious. Accordingly, I did not speak to him at all during his antics, judging that he was simply trying to create a provocation.

Again, I believe these are examples of “gaming the system” that HF210 would help prevent.

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