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News story reveals need to fight fraud

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Here's an irony that should not go unnoticed. I absolutely couldn't stop marveling at the situation but I assure you, those involved missed the point by a mile.

Last week's highly-regarded St. Louis Post Dispatch editorialized on the evils of the voter ID law in Missouri. They ranted about the new law that debuts in November where voters will be asked to provide a photo identification to assure they are eligible voters and are voting in the proper precinct. The Post-Dispatch sees it much differently. They are less concerned about voter fraud than they are about potential voters who - for whatever reason - fail to obtain a photo ID.

Here's the irony.

On the front page of the very day the Post blasted the new Missouri law, they also ran an article about the voting fraud trial and conviction in East St. Louis. A prominent city official across the river - along with nine other upstanding residents - was convicted of trying to buy votes among other violations. The nine were prosecuted in a scheme to buy votes in the November 2004 election to get key Democrats elected.

Now the two stories are not entirely related. But both deal with voting fraud. Buying votes is much different than trying to vote without registering. I fully understand that. But both stories - in two communities separated by one river - are closely related. On the Missouri side, legislators are trying to assure voters that only those eligible will indeed be allowed to vote. On the Illinois side, it's the price of the vote not the identification.

How could a newspaper - especially one with the respect of the Post-

Dispatch - not connect the dots to understand why this new voter ID is needed? Liberal or conservative doesn't matter. The Post likes to talk about the "disenfranchised" population. I would suggest they pay closer attention to what could potentially happen if no checks and balances are imposed on the election process.

And they need not look beyond a mile or two east of their offices.



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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen