Friday, September 24, 2004

Minnesota Voter Registration Invites Fraud

I’ve seen some disturbing pieces regarding potential voter fraud lately. John Fund has obviously been calling the issue to attention by recently writing a book about it.

But one of the most abuse-inviting voter registration systems is right here in Minnesota. In fact, for all the bad examples offered in the media lately, I have yet to see one anywhere else quite as vulnerable.

You don’t have to take my word for it (and most people don’t – when I’ve brought this up in the past I have not been believed). Take the word of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

A couple of excerpts for you:

Q. Who is eligible to vote?

A. You may vote if you are:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • a US citizen
  • a Minnesota resident for at least 20 days before the election
  • not a convicted felon without your civil rights
  • not under guardianship of the person where you have not retained the right to vote
  • not legally incompetent

Emphasis mine. You don’t have to live in Minnesota for three whole weeks to be eligible to vote here. People take vacations longer than 20 days. But as far as Minnesota law is concerned, 20 days is long enough to establish residency and voter eligibility.


Q. Can I register to vote on election day?

A. You can register at your polling place on election day. You will need one of the following to verify your residence.

  • Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit, identification card, or receipt for one, with your current address,
  • Tribal ID where authorized, with your current address
  • If the Minnesota license or ID has a former address, you may bring a recent utility bill* to use with your license
  • “Notice of Late Registration” postcard
  • U.S. passport with utility bill*
  • U.S. military photo ID card with utility bill*

· If you are a student, you can use...

o Student ID, registration, or fee statement with your current address

o Student photo ID with utility bill*

o Student ID if you are on a student housing list on file at the polling place

  • Someone who is registered in the precinct where you live who will vouch for your residence
Again, emphasis mine. This is the one most people don’t believe when I tell them. You don’t need identification of any kind to register to vote in Minnesota. Just someone to vouch for you. Because we all know a registered voter would never lie, right?

According to Minnesota law you can show up at the polling place, a registered voter can vouch that you’ve been crashing on his couch for the past 20 days, and voila! You’re a legally registered voter. Next election this newly registered voter can be the one to vouch for someone else.

There have been rumors for years that certain unsavory political operators shuttle voters to multiple precincts to abuse the system just this way. I have no idea whether or not that’s true. But under these laws, it wouldn’t be terribly hard to pull off.

For all the attention paid to registration problems in other states, does anyone know of a registration system more vulnerable than the one right here?


Blogger Pat in NC said...

I think that along with voting machine change we need some sort of voter registration card with a national number like vehicle identification numbers. These numbers need to be recorded so that people cannot vote in NY by absentee and vote in FL as a winter resident. With todays technology it could be like a credit card needing opnly to be swiped through a machine. Since the people with numbers would be registered, these numbers could run through a national computer to identify anyone double voting. When someone dies, the national center would be notified just as social security is by funeral directors. It may be costly to set up but in the long run it should produce fairness.

6:59 PM  

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