Editorial: Voter ID law is unnecessary

Published 9:14 am Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The drive under way at the Capitol to require photo identification for voters is a solution in search of a problem. Whether it takes the form of a constitutional amendment or a simple law, voter identification is a step in the wrong direction.

We are aware that polls have shown most Minnesotans favor voter identification and, on the surface, it makes some sense. Upon closer inspection, however, it is clear that the change is not needed. Minnesota has historically had great voter turnout and very few cases of fraud and none that proved significant.

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Sure, voter identification supporters can point to a handful of cases, but when millions vote in every election the number of “bad” votes is so small that it is inconsequential. So where’s the problem?

There isn’t one.

But there would be a problem if we continued to expand the list of places and times when Minnesotans have to have their identification on hand. It furthers an air of mistrust. And excessive requirements of that sort lead to ever-growing government oversight and expenses.

The bottom line is this: If there’s no significant evidence that a new law would solve a real problem, there’s no need for the law.