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New York Times on MN voter ID amendment: Solution to a "virtually non-existent problem"

Rosenthal: "I have yet to see any evidence of anyone pretending to be an eligible voter."
Rosenthal: "I have yet to see any evidence of anyone pretending to be an eligible voter."

In a column published last night, New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal blasts Minnesota Republicans for pushing a voter ID amendment through the legislature.

"I never cease to be amazed -- in a really bad way -- at the lengths to which Republican lawmakers will go to cut down the number of people who get to vote (preferably, of course, people who might vote Democratic)," Rosenthal writes in "Voter Suppression, Again, in Minnesota This Time."

Rosenthal, editor of the Times' editorial page for more than five years and a contributor to the paper since 1988, characterizes Minnesota's ID amendment as a solution to a "virtually non-existent problem" -- a characterization supported by the fact that nobody has yet been able to take the ACLU of Minnesota up on its $1,000 offer to anyone who could provide documented proof of a single voter impersonation case in the state.

In particular, Rosenthal argues the ID amendment would reduce turnout among left-leaning college students who would no longer be able to use college IDs to verify their identities.

He writes:

The real aim of the voter ID requirements is to cut down on turnout, and to do it in a way that affects Democrats more than Republicans. Some voter-ID advocates deny this, and others try to hide it. Some are totally open about it. Florida's State Senate pro-tem, Michael Bennett, said recently that he wants "'em to fight" for the right to vote. You know, like they do in African countries.

But let's assume for a moment that Minnesota Republicans really think there is a problem with voter fraud, and that the number of people who pretend to be eligible to vote is so high that it's worth amending the state constitution to deal with it. Why do they want to put the issue on the ballot before all those fake Minnesota voters?

Rosenthal fails to acknowledge, however, that in today's nearly-evenly-split Land of 10,000 Lakes, a few hundred votes here and there is all that differentiates our politics from the bitterness we've seen develop in Wisconsin under the Walker Administration coupled with a Republican-controlled legislature. So while Rosenthal might regard the voter ID amendment as a problem-less solution, the MNGOP presumably sees it differently -- as a popular and unobtrusive reform of the state's voting system that could help them maintain a strong voice in Minnesota politics in 2014 and beyond.

Previous coverage:
-- Voter ID amendment approved by legislature, on ballot this November
-- ACLU denies Minnesota Majority's claim to $1,000 voter impersonation bounty
-- House approves voter ID bill
-- Voter ID advances to House floor
-- Minnesota Majority uncovers evidence of voter impersonation, claims ACLU's $1,000 bounty
-- Minnesota ACLU places $1,000 bounty on voter-impersonatin' "rascals"
-- Minnesota Majority scrubs race-baiting imagery from website
-- Minnesota Majority, pro-voter ID group, blasted for using race-baiting imagery
-- Keith Ellison on voter ID approval: "Today is a sad day for democracy"


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