Letter: Voter ID law is unnecessary

In its Jan. 31 report “Debunking the Voter Fraud Myth” the nationally respected Brennan Center for Justice stated, “Government investigations agree: Voter fraud is rare.” A 2014 two-year investigation for which the previous Iowa Secretary of State spent $240,000 of our tax money is one of nine investigations from across the county cited in that Brennan Center report. A Jan. 7 article by Erin Jordan in The Gazette (“In 5 years, Iowa saw only 23 voter fraud convictions”) noted “while Iowa law enforcement agencies have investigated hundreds of cases of election misconduct, only 23 people were convicted in the last five years.” That’s 23 cases out of over a million and a half votes in general elections alone.

Iowa’s own data says it, voter fraud is virtually non-existent.

Still Secretary of State Paul Pate is pushing a Voter ID law that would put an additional barrier between the voter and the system. It’s expensive and unnecessary. It has been reported that Pate estimated needing $1 million to fully implement Voter ID but says he could work with $400,000 for a “soft” rollout of the proposed law.

Excellence is no cause for compliancy and I appreciate Pate’s desire to make a good system even better. However, when we make changes to our system it should be to help more people vote. All new systems must be fully funded and carefully thought through.

Rushed, partially funded alterations to our voting system will not bring integrity or confidence, only frustration, confusion and lower voter turnout.

Teel Salaun Thebeau

League of Women Voters Linn County

Cedar Rapids

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