Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If the facts and the law are against you...

Our Vote Our Future, the front group for the anti Photo ID amendment, decided to drop any pretense of honest debate with their latest ad.  Using a veteran who has been part of the vote no effort for over a year, they have blatantly lied that overseas military voters will be prohibited from casting a vote under Photo ID.

This is a lie on two levels, both facts and common sense.  The fact is that the Photo ID amendment does not prohibit military ID's from being used (in fact it is implicitly authorized) and the common sense is that military voters overwhelmingly vote conservative and/or Republican, so there is no reason for Republicans to intentionally prevent military voters from casting a ballot.

Fact; the Minnesota Constitution would be amended to say the following-
(b) All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic
identification before receiving a ballot. The state must issue photographic identification
1.21at no charge to an eligible voter who does not have a form of identification meeting the
1.22requirements of this section. A voter unable to present government-issued photographic
1.23identification must be permitted to submit a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot must
1.24only be counted if the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by law.
2.1(c) All voters, including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially
2.2equivalent identity and eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.

All current military ID's have a Photo ID included, and they are in fact issued by the government.  There is no other standard proposed, so any claim that a military ID will not be accepted as a Photo ID is pure BS. 

Common sense-active duty and reserve military members tend to vote overwhelmingly for Republican candidates at the top of the ticket.  The annual Military Times poll of servicemembers finds this year is no exception, with those in uniform favoring Romney over Obama 66-26.  In keeping with McCain's 3-1 advantage over Obama four years ago, the trend line is one of military voters consistently preferring Republicans of Democrats.  Remember the recount in Florida in the 2000 presidential race?  Democrats tried to get military absentee ballots thrown out because of the common knowledge that military voters vote Republican by a hefty margin.

So what on earth would be the motivation for the Republican led legislature for wanting to prevent military voters from casting a ballot?  That is the accusation being made by anti Photo ID folks, that Republicans have a reason for preventing military voters from voting for Republicans.  This asinine argument doesn't even pass the smell test of common sense.

There are a few reasonable arguments that opponents of Photo ID can make-the cost, the inconvenience to some people of having to have a valid photo ID.  Reasonable people make reasonable arguments, and we can reasonably debate the merits of them.  This argument about military voters is based on a lie, and worse yet the folks making the claim have to know it is a lie.  There is no possible way a reasonable person can read the amendment language and come to the conclusion that military ID's will not be considered valid.

So the statement is a lie, and it is likely that the group knows it to be false information.  Why does that sound familiar?  Oh yeah, section 211B.06 of MN law-

        Subdivision 1. Gross misdemeanor. A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who intentionally participates in the preparation, dissemination, or broadcast of paid political advertising or campaign material with respect to the personal or political character or acts of a candidate, or with respect to the effect of a ballot question, that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat a candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with reckless disregard of whether it is false.

Our Vote Our Future and their spokesman in the ad, Alex Erickson, may end up joining the Secretary of State defending themselves in court for violating MN election law.

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