Republican state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer imagines voter fraud and believes the "answer to that is transparency" ("GOP calls for more limits on voters," front page, March 7). Transparency requires truth-telling and not selling a problem that doesn't exist.
Clearly, Minnesota does not have voter fraud worthy of legislative attention. A dozen or so votes out of millions cast do not warrant the voting burdens Kiffmeyer and the Republicans want to place on exercising one's right to vote.
Undeterred, Kiffmeyer claims "folks ask these questions" about voter fraud and "we should try to get them answered." It's easy to get them answered: There isn't any meaningful voter fraud. The U.S. Supreme Court and more than 60 court cases from jurisdictions across the nation universally rejected the voter fraud claims of Republicans. "Folks ask these questions" due to the Republican drumbeat of false accusations of rampant voter fraud.
Kiffmeyer's concern about a nonexistent problem provides a window into the Republicans' sheer fear of people exercising their right to vote in large numbers. In the U.S. Supreme Court oral argument recently regarding Arizona efforts to restrict voting rights, the attorney for the GOP answered Justice Amy Coney Barrett's question "what's the interest" to Republicans in these voter restrictions: "Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats."
It is crystal-clear that Kiffmeyer and the Republicans seek to restrict the right to vote for partisan advantage, not because of the mirage of voter fraud. The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that the right to vote freely "is of the essence of a democratic society, and any restrictions on that right strike at the heart of representative government."
It is easy to see through Kiffmeyer's claimed transparency but, frankly, it is a dirty pane in the glass.
Brad Engdahl, Golden Valley
• • •
Included in the nationwide assault on voting rights pending in state legislatures are provisions in Georgia that will not only chop the number of early voting days by one-third but also criminalize the providing of water and food to people waiting in long lines. Anyone who says this nonsense is about election integrity is lying to the public.
Richard Robbins, Mankato
• • •
Here's a radical idea for the GOP: Find some planks for your platform to draw voters in rather than building legislative walls to keep voters out. Is suppressing the votes of millions of Americans the only idea the GOP can conjure to try to keep its power as an ever-shrinking minority party? Where are GOP solutions to our nation's problems? How about suppressing domestic terrorism — an actual, demonstrable threat? The radical nationwide moves by the GOP at voter disenfranchising are as astoundingly troubling as they are desperate.
Stop this steal!
Melinda Erickson, Roseville
One huge fact undercuts article on crossing state lines
A March 6 front-page story in the Star Tribune was headlined "Minnesotans crossing state lines for shots." The story was filled with anecdotes that created an overwhelming impression that Minnesota's COVID-19 vaccination policies under Gov. Tim Walz are worse than in other states, forcing massive flight to seek wrongfully deprived immunization. But the eighth paragraph dropped a startling fact that undercut the headline and the general thrust of the article: While more than 15,000 Minnesotans have crossed state lines to get shots, more than 26,000 people from other states have come to Minnesota for shots. There were no anecdotes about these Minnesota-bound vaccine seekers, and little further explanation was offered for Minnesota's rather obvious status as a net importer of "vaccine tourists."
The story did provide one paragraph that offers broader context for the interstate border crossings and should be developed into another more accurate and interesting story. That causative factor: "These long-distance quests stem from a dizzying patchwork of state rules for distributing the vaccines and the lack of coordinated, national standards."
One more point: The Star Tribune's pandemic coverage has otherwise been superlative.
Dane Smith, St. Paul
The writer is senior fellow and president emeritus at the research and advocacy organization Growth & Justice, and is also a former Star Tribune reporter.
WISCONSIN WOLF HUNT
Only lesson: Reinstate protections of the Endangered Species Act
Dennis Anderson's examination of a Wisconsin travesty ("Lessons learned from Wisconsin wolf hunt," March 2) describes the incompetency of wildlife agencies, officials and the Department of Natural Resources. The description of the "hunt" is not as graphic or exceptional as it was. The deference given to a very small bunch of avid wolf haters who chose to live where the animal occupies territory is pathetic, as is the attempt to rationalize the use of hounds in fresh snow and the vile practices of those who use them to kill wantonly. (This is not hunting; it is savagery.)
It is doubtful that any "lessons" were learned by those who propagated the debacle. For those of us who are adamantly opposed to state attempts to eliminate wolves (Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho), there is only one lesson: Reinstate the Endangered Species Act protections. Minnesota has a sordid history in conducting wolf hunts. The ESA takes away any possibility that Minnesota will join Wisconsin in what Anderson called "salient activities."
Karen Drews Munoz, Rochester
DIVERSITY IN EDUCATION
Race is one thing that matters to outcomes. Gender is another.
The March 8 editorial of regarding a lack of diversity in K-12 education was a good beginning, but incomplete. Yes, about 96% of teachers in Minnesota are white. But it's also notable that three-quarters are women. What about male teachers?
Seventy-two percent of Black children are raised in single-parent households. The majority of those kids live without a male adult in the home. School should be the next best place for children to find a male role model. Both male and female role models are vital for a child's development. But with low numbers of male influence in education, including only 2% who are Black males, children are disadvantaged and destined to predictable social pathologies later in life.
Charles Corcoran, Stillwater
Is this imagery correct?
Regarding the March 7 article about the biblical women murals being painted by Mark Balma: Although the pictures in the Star Tribune weren't very clear, the images of Adam and Eve seem remarkably Charlton Heston/Megan Markle-ish. Odd that contemporary Middle Easterners should look so different with that kind of heritage.