Voter Fraud Billboard A Fraud Says Mayor Rybak

“The proposition that Minnesota leads the nation in voter fraud is laughable. If anything, we lead the country in successful prosecutions,” said Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky. “This (Voter Photo ID) proposal that will go on the ballot deterred none of the cases that we prosecuted.”

Mansky was responding to a question by WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler about a freeway billboard outside of the Twin Cities which erroneously alleges that Minnesota leads the nation in voter fraud. Mansky appeared at a news conference at the State Capitol Monday along with Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to decry the constitutional amendment that will appear on this November’s ballot and the extra costs it will impose on the cities.

Over the last six years, added Mansky, more than 500,000 people have voted in the City of Saint Paul. During that time, only two people have been found to commit voter fraud — one was a felon and the other was a non-U.S. citizen — but in neither case would the the Voter Photo ID amendment have stopped them from committing their crime. “The two people who were raised in the lawsuit that was filed in federal court last week are both in prison today because we did detect that they had violated the law,” explained Mansky.

“A felon voting or a noncitizen voting is a crime,” added Mayor Coleman. “That’s why they get prosecuted. Voting as a student is not a crime. Voting as a senior is not a crime. Voting as a veteran is not a crime. That’s the problem with this amendment. You take a problem that is being fully addressed by the criminal justice system, and you put legitimate voters on the same plain.”

“They are taking a situation that should be the great pride of the state of Minnesota, which is that we have one of the highest turnout rates in the entire country, and turn us into a backward state where people are restricted from voting. I think it’s a tragedy.”

Minneapolis Mayor Rybak also found the billboard’s message to be untruthful and manipulative.

“I could put up a billboard saying that I’m Christian Ponder, but it wouldn’t mean that I can throw a touchdown pass,” he joked. “They can put up a billboard saying we’re number one in voter fraud, but that’s a flat out fraud, and everyone in the media needs to call them into account for it. You can put up a billboard saying anything; it doesn’t make it true.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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