Editorials in Minnesota and Oklahoma: No Voter Photo ID Law
This week two editorials, one in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the other in the Norman Transcript from Norman, Oklahoma, call for rejecting voter photo ID laws.
Lori Sturdevant, writing in the Star Tribune in response to Minnesota Republican legislators who recently renewed their call for voter photo ID laws in the North Star state, says such legislation is a solution "in search of a problem."
She quotes Coleman campaign attorney Joe Friedberg, who said, "There aren't any allegations that I'm aware of of fraud or bad faith by voters. Nobody accuses anybody of it." Sturdevant points out that the "finding puts a heavy burden on the Republican legislators" because "without clear evidence of a problem, it's difficult to justify an additional barrier to voting..."
"That requirement [that a voter show a state-issued photo ID at the polls] would fall hardest on the estimated 135,000 Minnesotans who are eligible to vote, but lack a driver's license or other government-issued photo ID card."
Sturdevant concludes with the following: "If anything, the Coleman-Franken recount has shown that the simpler Minnesota can make its voting procedures, the better."
Well put, Ms. Sturdevant.
Over in Norman, Oklahoma, an unsigned editorial in the Norman Transcript is headlined "Extend voter times but leave ID rule out." They point out that Oklahoma's Governor Brad Henry has said he's in favor of adding some additional early voting days, but that the state's Republican legislators have said "any change in election reform would have to include a proposal requiring voters identification at the polls." House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, told the Oklahoman, "We're going to be pushing voter ID very heavily."
I'll let the last three paragraphs of this fine editorial speak for itself:
"That's a sure fire way to disenfranchise and turn away potential voters. Believe it or not, some individuals do not carry photo identification. The poor who rely on public transportation or the elderly who no longer drive may just give up on casting their ballot.
"The cases of non-registered voters casting ballots are rare. The election's integrity is more often challenged at the registration process or through folks who vote twice -- once by mail or in-person absentee -- and then again on election day.
"Oklahoma's professional election system is one of the nation's best. States look to Oklahoma for leadership on how to run elections. Let's not try to fix what's not broken."
The fight against disenfranchising voter photo ID laws will continue in many parts of the country, including Minnesota and Oklahoma. But it's refreshing to see editorials using clear and fact-based arguments against these democracy-hating voter photo ID laws.