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Granting Rights Imposes Duties


As the Minnesota Senate race is moving from the recount phase to the lawsuit phase, hearts are bleeding:

After the counting, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said he was satisfied that the recount results were as accurate as they could be, given human limitations, the scope of state law and Supreme Court directives.

But he said that the entire pool of 12,000 rejected absentee ballots "break my heart" because a complicated system disenfranchised those voters. And he said he wasn't happy at all with the court order that allowed the counting of only wrongly rejected absentee ballots that both campaigns agreed to accept.

"The two campaigns got to veto the right to vote of over 400 Minnesotans," he said.

No, those 400 people botched their ballots.

With the right to vote comes the duty to follow election procedures. The problem of human limitation applies to both the counter and the voter. 2.9 million citizens were able to sufficiently follow the rules and cast proper ballots. The few handfuls who couldn’t are not being disenfranchised. They had the right to vote, but failed in their exercise of it.

Only inalienable rights come without duty. Each person is conceived with a right to life, for example. The government does not create the right to life, it is imbued by God. The right to vote, to participate in a democratic government, is implicitly one granted by the state. The state, in creating the right, also establishes limits on that right.

The lawsuits, I think, will focus on making sure those limits are applied equally to every voter. The State, under the Constitution, should strive to treat each of us as equals. Granting special allowances for those who didn’t follow the rules cheapens the votes of all those who did follow the rules. Secretary Ritchie has it backward. Awarding privilege to the incompetent disenfranchises the rest of us.