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Vicki Voldal Rosenau, Valley City, N.D., Published February 11 2013

Letter: Rabid right wing group attempts to manipulate ND election laws

All the voting-manipulation bills before this Legislature should be swiftly rebuffed. They are un-needed and un-American.

An excellent Feb. 6 Forum story reported that North Dakota’s handling of elections was ranked first among the states by the Pew Charitable Trusts Elections Performing Index. So, even if these rules-changing bills weren’t obvious vote-suppressing schemes, common sense dictates that making ANY change to our state’s top-performing system can only degrade it.

Truth is, if enacted, these bills would make it harder for North Dakotans to vote. Worse yet, their provisions are closely aligned with the voter-suppression agenda of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a secretive, rabidly right-wing group waging a systematic campaign to pass laws that would make it harder for millions of Americans to vote.

ALEC is a corporate bill mill largely funded by huge corporations and their billionaire executives, notably including the Koch brothers who bankrolled the increasingly discredited tea party. Through ALEC, global corporations ghostwrite boilerplate bills on various topics, with one common goal: increasing corporate profits.

Across the country, ALEC-affiliated state legislators, including many in North Dakota, sponsor and promote ALEC’s “model bills” to weaken public health, safety and environmental protections; strategically suppress voting; privatize public schools; reduce corporate taxation and move U.S. jobs offshore.

Chances are most of the North Dakotans who voted-in the super-majority of Republican legislators didn’t realize they were electing a slew of shills for an out-of-state corporate agenda. ALEC’s fingerprints are all over the batch of vote-suppressing bills in the Bismarck hopper, many of whose sponsors are dues-paying members of ALEC.