There's been much trumpeting in recent days about the report that Minnesota Majority produced that shows as many as 341 felons voted illegally in the 2008 election in Minnesota. Since Al Franken's official margin of victory was only 312 votes, there have been more than a few people who have surmised that these felons may have provided Franken with his margin of victory.
It's possible, I suppose. We'll never really know, which is the problem. I don't know that convicted felons are a reliable DFL voting block. I do know that the law states they are not allowed to vote and that under the current system, there's really no way to stop them from voting. All that can be done is to punish them after the fact.
The bottom line is this: it is exceptionally easy to game the system in Minnesota. We do not require photo identification to vote in Minnesota and we allow same-day registration. We get strange results because of this -- I'll never forget the 1998 election, when we had scores of giggling 20-something dudes with mullets lined up in the new voter registration line at my polling place, all awaiting their chance to vote for Skip Humphrey. No, I'm kidding. They wanted to vote for Jesse Ventura and it was their votes, cast mainly as a lark, that put a bullet-headed conspiracy theorist in the governor's chair.
Personally, I'd like to see two things happen:
1) Require photo identification to vote. I need to show an i.d. to do many other things.
2) If we think felons should vote, let's change the law and let them. If we don't, we need to enforce the law and stop them. But we need to decide.
I'd also like to see Mark Ritchie, who allowed all manner of shenanigans to happen in the 2008 cycle, out on his ear. But that's another post.