Most Minnesotans are probably not aware that our state has recently seen more convictions for voter fraud than any other state since 1936.
The overwhelming majority of those convictions stemmed from felons (rapists, murderers, gangsters, drug dealers, et al) voting while still under the supervision of the Department of Corrections.
Thanks to a non-governmental organization, we brought some ineligible voters to justice, with 200 convictions since the 2008 election.
Prosecuting felons who willfully voted while ineligible is difficult to do under Minnesota’s election laws, since it must be proven not only that the person voted while ineligible, but also that he or she knew it was a crime to do so. Most provable cases of voting by ineligible people went unprosecuted after the contentious 2008 election, simply because the ineligible voters said, “I didn’t know.” The convictions, however, were of people who were proven in courts of law to have deliberately committed fraud.
Convictions are just the tip of the iceberg.
Photo ID alone will not fix the felon problem, but the amendment does. The eligibility verification requirement means we’ll use available databases to prevent felons and other ineligible voters, such as non-citizens, from voting. The felon problem is just the tip of the iceberg, and the Voter ID amendment is designed to address the iceberg itself.
I work for a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization called Minnesota Majority. I oversaw research on votes cast by ineligible people, and we found 1,099 ineligible voters in the “convicted felon” category alone. Detecting (but not necessarily prosecuting) voting by ineligible felons is relatively easy, because there is a list of felony convictions that can easily be compared to the voter rolls.
Unfortunately, it’s a logical impossibility to compile a list of voters who don’t exist.
Minnesota’s bizarre mix of Election Day registration and vouching allow the invention of fictitious identities and addresses on the spot.