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Report: Photo ID requirement would not prevent voter fraud

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Opponents of a proposed photo identification requirement for voters say that allegations of election fraud in Minnesota have been wildly exaggerated.

Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota and the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance released a report Monday that concluded photo IDs would not prevent the relatively few cases of voter fraud that result in convictions. 

Kathy Bonnifield, the report co-author, said county attorneys investigated 1,500 allegations of ineligible voting in the 2008 election.

"The only type of conviction was due to felons," she said. "In total, 26 people were convicted because they had not completed their sentence and voted, while an additional 12 convictions were because felons registered to vote, but they did not vote."

Bonnifield said most of the cases were dismissed because the felons did not know they could not vote. She also noted that current forms of government-issued identification do not include criminal status.

John Kingrey, the head of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association said the unfounded voter-fraud allegations are wasting limited public safety resources.  

State Republican Party officials asked county attorneys back in July to investigate a list of voter-fraud allegations compiled by a conservative watchdog group. Kingrey said such allegations must be investigated, but he described this particular list as "wildly overstated." Kingrey said most cases involved felons who could legally vote.

"Our priority must remain public safety," Kingrey said. "The diversion of resources to investigate frivolous voter fraud causes nothing to protect public safety."

Kingery said since 2008 he knew of only one prosecution of voter-fraud in Minnesota.