Vote no twice

 The Minnesota ballot this election features two measures which, at first glance, might seem noble to the uninformed conservative voter but which, upon further inspection are neither noble nor conservative. 


On measure requires a valid photo ID showing your present address in order to vote. 


This amendment is popular because of the completely false belief that there was massive voter fraud in the 2008 election. 


There is absolutely no evidence of any organized fraud. None. In fact, Minnesota has proven that elections are pretty darn clean. 


When Al Franken and Norm Coleman nearly tied in 2008, scandal-hungry lawyers combed over every vote. 


All they found were a few dozen ballots cast by felons. No party organized those felons and there is no indication that they supported one candidate over another. 


This amendment wouldn't prevent felons from voting, since most felons have valid photo ID. And voting by felons is already illegal. 


In other words, the photo ID amendment fixes a problem which doesn't exist at an approximate cost of $30-$50 million dollars, to be raised from local property taxes. 


The 200,000 voters in Minnesota without photo IDs are: Students who move frequently, elderly people who no longer have a valid driver's license and minorities living in the inner city who don't have driver's licenses. 


Under this law, my 101-year old Aunt Olive, who hasn't had a driver's license for twenty years, would not be able to vote. 


Now even if 95% of these people go out and get photo IDs, the other 5% might be deterred by the cost and inconvenience. That is the goal: Shave 5% off the vote of poorer people. 


That is why the Pennsylvania governor said, in an unguarded moment, that he was proud of his state's voter ID law because it would assure Mitt Romney's victory in that state. 


True conservatives are for less government spending and less bureaucracy. The Voter ID amendment creates more of both. 


The other measure on the ballot is also unnecessary. There is already a law on Minnesota's books preventing same-sex marriage.


However, some people seem to think that the ban needs to be included in our state constitution. 


If it is adopted, the amendment is guaranteed to be temporary, for in vast majorities, younger people approve of allowing same-sex marriage. 


And again, one might ask, what is the true conservative position? 


After conservatives have slandered gay people for decades for their alleged promiscuity and refusal to take adult responsibility, now a few thousand gay couples in the state want to take a step towards commitment and permanence. 


And conservatives want to prevent this? 


This is a bizarre one. It seems that, after railing against gay people in their churches in the ugliest of terms for years, religious conservatives have become so attached to their skewed view of gay people that they don't want to let it go!


Faced with mounting evidence all around them that gay people are productive members of society, they still cling to the notion that the bile spewed by their radio preachers is the more accurate picture. 


Even when civil gay marriage becomes legal, no church will be forced to acknowledge it. 


Again, you'd think the conservative position would be to keep government from interfering with the private decisions of individuals and the liberty of people to shape their lives as they see fit. 


But suddenly, when it comes time to extend a harmless right to a hopelessly small and unpopular minority, conservatives want the government to make sure that minority knows that it is less! 


The two amendments have one thing in common: The are deceptively simple. And their true purpose is concealed. 


The Voter ID amendment is designed to lower the vote totals of the poor and disadvantaged.


Meanwhile, the so-called marriage amendment was introduced in several states for one reason: To drive up voter turnout amongst the "right" kind of people. 


Staffers at the Minnesota Senate have verified that the Senators who self-righteously promoted the marriage amendment had one goal in mind: Winning the next election. 


Some quietly apologized to their gay staffers, saying "this is politics." 


Is that so bad, you ask? 


Well, if to win elections, politicians are willing to give a good, swift kick in the shins to an already despised and frequently shunned minority, it doesn't speak well of their character. 


No matter who you support in the election, these two amendments are a golden opportunity for Minnesota voters to show that they not only show up to vote in greater numbers than others, but the are also more intelligent and insightful than most. 


Vote smart. Vote no twice.