As shown in Part 1 of this series, even a strict interpretation of the Voter ID amendment will not keep any Minnesota military voter from casting a ballot. In part 2, I brought to light the outrage that Minnesota VFW members expressed over Secretary Ritchie's bogus claims that the the Voter ID amendment would prevent military voters from voting. Part 3 is all about the details and loose ends.
First, my pertinant background; I've been in the MN National Guard for 20 years, since 9/11 over 5 years on active duty. I have voted absentee overseas military twice, once in 2004 for the primary and once in 2006 for the general. But in truth I'm pretty sure my vote in 2006 was never counted since I didn't get the ballot until 6 days before the election, and the mail back to the States usually took 7-10 days.
Second, the claim that SecState Ritchie is making that addresses would be required on the Photo ID for voting is purely BS. This claim pops up time and again in liberal propaganda, but to hear it from the top voting official in Minnesota is scandalous. Let me explain; the Voter ID amendment requires that voters show a 'government issued photo ID' to vote. It leaves the specifics of that Photo ID to be determined by the legislature, likely with input from the Secretary of State's office. So by saying that amendment will REQUIRE the voter's current address on the Photo ID, Secretary Ritchie is predicting the future and making a legal claim based on his prediction. Is SecState Ritchie trying to tell Minnesota that as the chief voting official HE will make addresses mandatory on Photo ID?
The 'addresses required' argument is a lie no matter what happens with the election; if the GOP holds the legislature, they have no reason to make it harder for military voters to cast a ballot. The military has voted conservative over 70% in the last 3 elections, so making it harder for military voters to vote would be counter productive. But if the DFL takes back the legislature, there is no reason they couldn't write the law to accommodate those voting overseas. Substantially equivalent means whatever the law says it does.The letter from a VFW member says it all-“While it may be
the intention of the Secretary to limit our military from voting, the amendment
has nothing to do with our servicemen and women.” -(Underlining in the original) Unless you believe the DFL wants to make it harder for military voters to vote...
Third, Secretary Ritchie is clearly guilty of using state resources to push a purely partisan message. It's now been confirmed that just like the Gold Star Mothers, Sec Ritchie used official letterhead to transmit his commentary full of bogus claims to the Minnesota Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. So the taxpayers of Minnesota have been paying for a supposedly non-partisan elected official to aggressively push a purely partisan message, and to make false and misleading claims while on duty. We are all used to politicians running for office making spurious claims, but to hear a guy who is not up for election and supposed to be above the fray bringing gutter politics and outright lies into the debate is embarrassing. Imagine for a moment the Governor using official letterhead to endorse a DFL political candidate; we would all know right away that it was wrong.
Fourth, the utter irony of this all; I knew about Secretary Ritchie's bogus claims over a month ago, as soon as I received my copy of the Gopher Oversea'r. But because I was on active duty with the US military, I was prohibited from speaking out about partisan politics. I held this story until I was off active duty and free from military regulations. Secretary Ritchie is also prohibited from speaking out about partisan politics while on the taxpayer dime. But the facts say he has done otherwise-not only using his time but also state resources to try to defeat a ballot initiative.
Secretary Ritchie's violation of MN law seems quite clear when the evidence is gathered together. But I don't get to determine if he has broken the law. Only the legislature can bring punitive action against the Secretary, and unfortunately it's election season, so the legislature is busy trying to get re-elected. Perhaps that is what the secretary is counting on-
...that good men will do nothing.
Good thing the voters have a chance to make Photo ID a part of the MN Constitution, so that even the Secretary of State will not be able to ignore the will of the voters.