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People who do not have a permanent home — including the homeless — are supposed to register an address for wherever they reside, such as an intersection, along with a separate mailing address if they have one. For typical voter registrations, the county checks a person’s various identification numbers against existing databases and then sends a postal verification card to the address, which is returned undeliverable if there is any problem.
Voter fraud concerns
Conservatives for years have argued that the state’s system was vulnerable to fraud and pushed for greater voter security. Democrats, in their attempts to broaden access, insisted that fraud was minimal and that Republicans wanted to depress turnout.
“There is a side of me that is kind of chuckling,” Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said Monday. Newman sponsored the failed constitutional amendment that would have required voters to present photo ID at the polls. “This particular story lends credence to what some of us have tried to accomplish.”
Newman said voters in 2012 rejected the idea that a voter ID requirement should be enshrined in the constitution but, “the issue of voter fraud has never gone away.”
Now a candidate for state attorney general, Newman said the Minneapolis case, if it proves out, will serve as a reminder that voter fraud is very real.
Minnesota Majority’s Dan McGrath said his conservative group has forwarded several cases of alleged fraud to law enforcement over the years. “I’m glad that, at least this instance, it has been caught,” he said.
Under state law, the Hennepin County attorney’s office must quickly investigate the Minneapolis allegations.
“Minnesota has a process for dealing with questions about voters’ eligibility,” said Dennis Smith, spokesman for Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. He said Ritchie, who will retire at the end of his term, had no comment on the allegations.
DFL Rep. Steve Simon, of Hopkins, said he would not speculate on the outcome of the investigation but said, “If there has been illegal conduct there will be consequences, serious consequences, under Minnesota law right now.”
Simon, who is running to replace Ritchie, said if the voters used absentee ballots to vote, that might prove a boon to the voting system.
“When people vote absentee you can track that ballot,” he said. Since those ballots are not counted until shortly before the election, ineligible voters can be screened out.
Newman agrees. “It may give us an extra bite out of the apple when it comes to security,” he said.
Staff writer Glenn Howatt contributed to this report.
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