Vote Buying Bill Advances on Party-Line Vote from House Elections Committee

Buying votesMinnesota Statutes 204C.18 and 204C.22 contain protections against vote buying fraud that have been in place in some form through court rulings and statutes as long as Minnesota has had a secret or “Australian” ballot, which was adopted statewide in 1891 with strong bipartisan support.

Prior to the advent of the Australian ballot system, scholars and historians note that vote buying corruption was common practice, but voters would generally need to provide evidence that they have voted the “right” way to collect their bounty, typically ranging from $2 to $20 in those days.

The proof could often be a mark on a ballot that identified who had cast it, or the act of showing one’s completed ballot to the right person before depositing it in the ballot box. Making small tears in a ballot was also a common practice.

Prohibiting and invalidating ballots containing identifying marks has been a deterrent to vote buying fraud that’s helped protect the sanctity of the secret ballot for over 120 years. Now, HF1841 (Freiberg – D- 45B) and its companion bill in the senate (SF1663, Hoffman – D-36) would strip away that anti-fraud protection by making it legal for voters to make self-identifying marks on a ballot and requiring such marked ballots to be accepted and tabulated.

HF1841 was heard in the House Elections Committee on the first day of session and was passed to the full House on a party-line vote with all Democrats on the committee voting in favor and all Republicans voting no.

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5 Responses to Vote Buying Bill Advances on Party-Line Vote from House Elections Committee

  1. Brad Hutchison February 26, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Could you please explain the rationale that is used to advance a bill like this? There must be a reason, whether valid or not, that is being used that has nothing to do with vote-buying. In fact, this type of explanation would always help: Tell us what is the proposed reason for advancing a bill, then if you oppose it tell us why.

    • Dan February 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      The rationale is simple, and it’s the usual argument used by the left when they are opposed to anti-fraud measures: Disenfranchisement. The bill’s author is concerned that if a voter mistakenly writes his or her name or makes other identifying marks on a ballot, their vote may wind up not being counted.

      • Bill Schulz February 26, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

        I have been involved in at least three recounts, where unallowed marks were made on ballots. My best estimate is that of some 60,000 or more of ballots counted, there were only 5 or 6 rejected because of such markings. In other words, one in 10,000 were rejected. That is hardly any evidence that any group was being disenfranchised. The socialist DFL just wants to ensure that nobody but their candidates will ever be elected, and this will enable them to hire voters for pay or other inducements (drink, drugs, etc.). Of greater concern should be that if only , say, three hundred ballots are cast in a polling place, the poll judges should not be reporting 400 or 500 votes, and guess what? they are 100% DFL votes.

  2. Brad Hutchison February 27, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    It should not be considered disenfranchisement if somebody simply can not follow directions. It sounds like this seldom occurs, so why make a new exception now. Keep the rules in place, and if needed make it even more clear for people to follow.

    • Sally March 5, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      If somebody simply can’t follow directions? why would they be a part of it all? There’s too much fraud and corruption potential. There’s absolutely no reason integrity can’t be protected all the way through!

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