Sen. Julianne Ortman voted yesterday in favor of S.F. 509, voter ID legislation that would require voters to show a valid picture ID at the polling place when voting. It would also end the practice of same-day registration using a utility bill or other non-drivers license proof of residence.
Let’s be very clear: there is no voter fraud problem in this state.
We have had two highly contested statewide elections that have gone through litigated mandatory recounts, and no systematic voter fraud was uncovered. Literally millions of dollars were spent by both parties to scour the voting records to try to uncover any unsavory activities. All of those efforts were fruitless.
In fact, nearly every documented case of voter fraud in this state during the past decade can be traced back to felons attempting to vote before completing their probation, many of whom did so because they weren’t notified about the status of their voting rights. The DFL-controlled Legislature passed a solution supported by every County Attorney in the state during the last legislative session: send a letter to felons that clearly state whether or not they are eligible to vote. The Republican Governor vetoed the bill.
This bill serves one purpose and one purpose only: to disenfranchise the poor, elderly, and communities like college students who tend to me more transitional in their housing situations.
It is disgraceful that at a time when our state budget is in crisis and we have an economy that is struggling to grow and create jobs that the Republican legislative majorities are spending a great deal of time working to make it harder for people to vote.