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Joseph Kennedy, Fargo, Published February 04 2013

Letter: New voting bills create a problem

Newly introduced legislation in North Dakota would expand the residency-before-voting period and limit the availability of early voting. The apparent rationale for such changes is to reduce voter fraud. However, speaking last week at the Brennan Center in Washington, D.C., North Dakota Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger (R) noted, “I believe it is a perception problem. In my 20 years as secretary of state, we’ve only had one or two or three cases of what we’d consider fraud.”

Proponents of such bills argue against its impact on students, noting that, “They still have the opportunity to vote back home, as well” (Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, Jan. 31 Forum). However, many college students care about what is happening around THEM, and become engaged in issues and politics where they live, not where they spend their summers. Thus, such legislation would discourage our newest voters from voting.

So, the bills don’t address a real problem, but they definitely create one. Our legislators should heed the words of local elections officials, and kill these bills.