Minnesota Majority’s Huffing and Puffing About Nothing

I made the mistake of listening to KTLK’s Jason Lewis discuss potential voter fraud in Minnesota during my afternoon drive home yesterday.

He had on Jeff Davis from the “Traditional Values”* group, Minnesota Majority, to talk about what Mr. Davis considers a major problem voting fraud issue in Minnesota.

Jeff Davis and Jason Lewis don’t seem to be thinking rationally on this issue (which is probably their point). A rational person might say, “Wait a minute. Isn’t the penalty for casting more than one ballot in a single election a felony? Who in their right mind would risk a felony conviction in exchange for casting an additional ballot?” A rational person would see that the benefits of casting one additional vote do not outweigh the extremely high costs of getting caught.

Here are the issues that have Mr Davis’ panties in a bunch:

* POTENTIAL DUPLICATE VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS: A total of 16,578 exact voter registration record matches using the criteria of first name, middle name, last name and birth year. When phone number is used instead of middle name as a matching criterion, there are a total of 488 matching records.
* VACANT AND NON-DELIVERABLE ADDRESSES: A total of 29,006 voters have a voter registration address which is flagged as being “vacant” by the United States Postal Service. A total of 62,822 voters list an address which is flagged as being “non-deliverable” by the Postal Service.
* DEFICIENT VOTER REGISTRATIONS DUE TO MISSING BIRTH YEAR: There are a total of 1,695 voter registrations with registration dates after August 1, 1983 when birth date was required by law.
* VOTER REGISTERING BEFORE THE AGE OF 18: Over 1,800 records have a voter registration date and a birth year that suggests the voter registered before the age of 18 years of age (some before they were born).
* VOTERS POTENTIALLY CASTING MORE THAN ONE BALLOT IN A SINGLE ELECTION: 76 cases in which it appears that a single voter may have cast more than one ballot, with thousands of additional records which merit additional review.

Let’s take a deep breath and look at whether the issues Jeff Davis and Jason Lewis are huffing and puffing about actually influence elections.

The first four examples show that our voter registration process could be more precise, but don’t suggest that people are voting more than once.

In the last example, they state that 76 out of 3,199,134 registered voters in Minnesota may have cast more than one ballot in a single election. Of course, there may be more than one person with the same name in the state of Minnesota or other circumstances that would explain these 76 cases.

If Mr Davis was serious about cleaning up the voter files, we would have started work on the issue before the 14th of October. Many of these issues go back to when former Minnesota Majority Executive Director, Mary Kiffmeyer, didn’t address them as Secretary of State.

* Am I the only one who thinks “Traditional Values” is code for using religious justifications to discriminate against non-white, non-heterosexual, non-Christian Americans?

13 thoughts on “Minnesota Majority’s Huffing and Puffing About Nothing”

  1. And even if people WERE willing to risk the felony, I’m thinking these 76 cases involved votes for both parties, effectively cancelling each other out.

    But let’s cry “conspiracy!” instead.

  2. I’m also calling BS on the “non-deliverable” addresses issue.

    Our system is connected to the USPS address lookup, and half of the addresses I plug in come back as invalid. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it just means it’s not in the USPS database yet. Most of them are rural, reservation addresses or those with suite/apartment numbers.

  3. “Am I the only one who thinks “Traditional Values” is code for using religious justifications to discriminate against non-white, non-heterosexual, non-Christian Americans?”

    You aren’t the only one who would try to make that leap. There is only one page in the left-wing playbook: Smear your conservative opponant as a racist, right-wing religiouis nut.

    You miss the point on the duplicate votes. It may be somebody else voting in the name of the legitimate registered voter. Since MN doesn’t require ID, and duplicate registrations remain on the rolls (as well as dead people) all a vote-stealer has to do is walk into the polls as say they are someone on the list, and they get a ballot. Use the name of someone’s who’s died in the last 4 years or someone who’s moved, and you get a ballot, no questions asked and after the fact, nobody will know who did it, only that it happened.

  4. “I’m also calling BS on the “non-deliverable” addresses issue.”

    Minnesota Majority has photos of some examples on their website http://www.minnesotamajority.org

    These aren’t just database failings. These are parks and freeways and forests. These addresses don’t exist and never did.

  5. Dan, I’m not suggesting that they’re right-wing religious nuts. I’m just saying that they’re right wing and use religion to discriminate, which is nuts. I believe the term, “attack the sin and not the sinner” is how people on the right would describe it.

    Minnesota Monthly’s site says, “Tired of the noisy secular-progressive minority dictating the laws for the majority in Minnesota?” So, is that Tim Pawlenty, Larry Pogemiller, David Senjem, Marty Seifert or Tony Sertich? Which one is secular-progressive or a minority?

    So I’m not exactly reaching when I say that they’re using religion to discriminate against non-Christians. MinnesotaMonthly.org has pages and pages on how much they hate the idea of giving the same legal rights to homosexuals.

    It sure seems like Minnesota Monthly’s problems with illegal immigrants are focused on darker skinned illegal immigrants. How about throwing in an occasional example of a Swede or German who never leaves after visiting as a tourist? A token majority, shall we say?

  6. Dan —

    Just because some registration addresses don’t exist, it doesn’t necessarily mean there was an attempt to deceive. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen perfectly legitimate addresses that were mangled on data entry — think the telephone game, except with lots of numbers, compass directions, and street designators. And since registration is entirely based on hand-written applications, this is certainly applicable.

    This is a big problem both in expanding urban areas — with five-digit house numbers and lots of similar street designators (St, Lane, Ave, Circle, Drive, etc.) and directions (N, NW, NE, etc.) used for the same street name — and also in rural areas, where post-9/11 emergency response programs have necessitated renaming all of the former Rural Route / Box addresses. It’s a problem that’s worth addressing, but it does very little to hype these numbers and lump them with allegations of “voter fraud.”

    There is zero evidence that suggests any meaningful voter fraud is taking place in Minnesota, even dating from Kiffmeyer’s run as SoS. The real concerns of the Minnesota Majority have simply been about the potential for voter fraud, not the actual occurrence. Like I said, it’s still worth addressing, but their oft-suggested solutions — purging voter rolls, mandating ID at the polls, etc. — are guaranteed to prevent many legitimate voters from casting a ballot. Is that really worth it, when cross-checking with the drivers license database in 2006 revealed only 5 ineligible voters in Minnesota cast ballots? And in a five-year federal crackdown, the Bush administration rounded up a total of 23 cases nationally of multiple or ineligible voting, and they were all isolated incidents. With Kiffmeyer’s and the Minnesota Majority’s proposed solutions, it sounds like we’d be amputating our arm because of a hangnail!

  7. Please, oh, please explain to me how calling 15-20 people and asking about their address will suppress 10,000 voters. The only answer I can imagine is that you believe there are 10,000 fraudulent voters that may be deterred from committing a crime because they know they are under scrutiny.

  8. And why is everyone so hell-bent on not fixing any of these problems? When you find errors in voter data, shouldn’t an effort be made to correct the error, instead of trying to discredit the one who found the error? Instead of smearing Minnesota Majority, the SOS should be saying gee, thanks for doing my job for me!

  9. This ‘issue’ reminds me exactly of the GOP ‘issue’ with immigration.

    In both cases, the rules and regulations are in place to prevent/reduce instances of abuse, but have bureaucratically been allowed to be ignored and go unenforced.

    There is no need for new laws or more regulations, nor is the answer all of this election day arm-waving by pundits and people in special interest groups unable to face the underlying problems.

    Work the problems, don’t create new 527s to stir up divisiveness and let loose uncovered hatred. Does that make us a better country? How about putting out some Country First solutions, or is that just meant to be a slogan for GOP yard signs and not put into practice in the real america?

    How about we focus people on the problem–which is Mary Kiffmeyer’s old department is not able or willing to keep the voter registrations up-to-date.

    And where are those small government solutions, folks? You want a new bureacracy to manage the old one? You want more *gasp* oversight of the existing one?

    Or is Mary’s new job the answer–the one where she heads up a special interest group intending to provide non-governmentally resources to disrupt the elections with observers who intimidate and slow the voting process down in her selected locations…how quaint, such a totally american solution–CIRCA 1955 Mobile Alabama maybe.

    Yes, by all means, let’s suppress a 10,000 voters to try to prevent the potential of 76 voter abuses. Does that sound like the GOP solution we have come to know and shake our heads at?

    But answer me this–how many races were decided by those 76 possible abused votes in 2006?

    Focus, work the problem, don’t create two new problems to try to solve the first perceived problem.

    Only then would I actually be proud to support a GOP-based solution, instead of grumbling about new GOP problems inflamed with ethnic and divisive tones.

  10. Please explain to me how ‘calling 15-20 people’ will clear up the voter registration concerns?

  11. Dan, why did Minnesota Majority sit on this issue until last week? Wasn’t Mary Kiffmeyer already aware of the inaccuracies in our poll rolls?

    I agree that the issues Minnesota Majority raised should be addressed at some point. Why not deal with it during a less emotionally charge time when rational decisions on how to improve the voter rolls can be addressed properly?

  12. That could be, but why the heck didn’t she do something about it while SoS or with Minnesota Majority? This clearly isn’t a new issue, although Minnesota Majority seems to be huffing and puffing about it like it’s somehow new information.

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