Photo IDs and close elections

Charlie Warner

Argus News Editor

Ever notice how the round-about actions of a person attempting to manipulate something can become laughable when scrutinized under the real light of day?

The recent decision by the Obama administration to block photo ID legislation in Texas seems to show they are more interested in using any means necessary to try and win elections rather than safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.

Why would anyone object to having to produce a photo ID before he or she could vote in a local, state or federal election?

You have to show a photo ID to write a check, get a library card, board a plane, buy a six pack of beer or check into a hotel. Are these daily activities more important than voting?

I certainly agree that we need to protect our most basic freedom by requiring a similar standard for voting.

According to what I’ve read, the Obama administration also blocked similar photo ID legislation in South Carolina in December. Both states have filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court to overturn this federal action. It will be interesting to see how quickly the system works to determine the process in November’s general election.

In April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s photo ID law in a 6-3 vote, ruling that requiring a voter to show a photo ID does not violate their constitutional right. Courts have upheld photo ID legislation in other states as well, including Arizona, Georgia and Michigan.

Many lawmakers in Minnesota are proposing similar legislation and I’m all for it. If you want to vote and be part of our democratic system, get a photo ID.

Persons opposed to this legislation maintain it wouldn’t be fair to persons who have recently immigrated to this county.

Road apples!

If they want to be part of this country, learn our language and get a photo ID. When my ancestors immigrated from Norway, Sweden and Germany, the first thing they did was learn the English language. They wanted to become an American so they learned English.

But I’d like to take this photo ID issue one step farther.

Recently in Caledonia there has been quite a bit of controversy about alcohol sales compliance checks. Some of the owners of our local bars and restaurants have voiced objections to compliance checks conducted by the local police department. Some feel it’s entrapment.

Last year one of the establishments that failed the Caledonia Police Department’s alcohol compliance check was the city’s municipal liquor store. Talk about egg on one’s face.

In a recent online survey we had on The Argus website, 95 persons responded to the question of whether law enforcement agencies should conduct alcohol and tobacco sales compliance checks. Of that total, 55 persons agreed with the compliance checks, 21 said it was just a waste of taxpayers’ money and 19 felt the checks constituted entrapment.

I’ve got a way of remedying this issue once and for all…and it’s not my idea. Just require everyone, and I mean everyone who purchases tobacco or alcoholic products to produce a picture ID. I don’t care if the person is 100 years old. Make it mandatory that everyone gets carded.

There are a number of states in the U.S. that already have this requirement. And they don’t have any problems with it.

But how does one handle this issue with the Amish? Living smack dab in the middle of Amish country in Fillmore County, I have talked to many persons employed at bars and liquor stores who have found the Amish to be a real challenge.

According to their religion, they are “to have no graven images made of them.” In other words, no photos. My wife works for the municipal liquor store in Canton and had concerns about this. So I contacted the county sheriff. He contacted the Amish bishop of the Canton area and was told that consuming alcohol was just as much of a sin for an Amish as having his or her picture taken. So if the Amish wanted to purchase alcohol, they needed a picture ID.

I’m not sure how this would work out with requiring Amish to produce photo IDs at polling places. But I don’t think there are a lot of illegal aliens who are Amish.


The extremely close supervisor election in Yucatan Township once again proves that every single vote does count.

Two years ago Elvin Paulson and Peter Orr received 62 votes each for the Yucatan Township supervisor position. After several recounts, the number stood at 62 votes each. So the two men cut cards. Orr drew the three of clubs and Paulson drew the two of clubs.

Yucatan Township had another dead heat this year. After the votes were counted last Tuesday, election officials announced that Tom Bennedum and Burdell Hahn both received 66 votes. The two men decided to cut cards.  Burdell drew the queen of clubs and then Bennedum drew the king of clubs.

It just doesn’t get much closer than that!