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Minnesota counties starting to discuss how they’d handle possible Photo ID procedures

Joe Mansky
MinnPost file photo by Jay WeinerJoe Mansky

Some Minnesota counties — which help administer elections — are making preliminary plans for implementing the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment that will live or die at voters’ hands in November.

Joe Mansky, elections manager in Ramsey County, discussed the amendment’s potential effects with his county board Tuesday in an informational meeting.

“It’s a substantial, substantial change,” he told the board.

Mansky estimated the cost of the amendment, which would require voters to show an ID at the polls, would be about $1.7 million for his office over the first two years.

“The bottom line is, we operate entirely on property taxes,” Mansky said. “Any increase to our budget has to come from the property taxpayers.”

New computers would make up roughly $1.25 million of the foreseeable total cost, which would also be buoyed by a $250,000 informational campaign and $200,000 in city election operations expenses.

Mansky said the new computers could be used as electronic poll books if next year’s Legislature, which will have to craft the amendment-in-waiting’s specific language, decides to go that route. They would also be used to verify registered voters.

Ramsey County serves 55,000 to 60,000 Election Day registrants, who could be forced to cast a provisional ballot, and 250,000 to 280,000 voters total in an average presidential election.

The large number of provisional ballots — which would allow a voter to come back later with proper ID — could slow down the entire election system, Mansky said.

Anoka County Elections Manager Cindy Reichert estimated that electronic poll books would cost her office about $700,000, although she stressed it was a preliminary figure.

Her county sees about 33,000 Election Day registrants and about 180,000 total voters in a presidential election.

The Anoka County Board hasn’t formally met about Photo ID and doesn’t have a set position on the issue, she said. But Reichert has been addressing the issue informally in her office during budget meetings and other planning functions as a “heads up that it might be coming.”

Mansky — who, as a representative of county auditors, brought their concerns to the Legislature — said there’s no question his office could implement the proposal, despite some challenges going forward.

“Officially, I don’t oppose it,” he said. “We’re prepared. If the voters agree with this and vote for it, we will implement it.”

Mansky discussed potential solutions to concerns raised by board members and also offered one novel approach: printing the free IDs specified in the amendment at polling places.

“I have no idea whether it would have any support in the real world,” he said. “I’m not quite sure how it would work at this point.”

But, according to a spokeswoman from the Department of Public Safety, which provides services related to IDs and driver’s licenses, it’s unlikely that such a solution would be workable.

ID cards and driver’s licenses are printed off-site and are “impossible to print on the spot” because of specific security features,” said Kristine Chapin, a public information officer.

“It would be impossible with the system we currently have,” she said.

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Comments (6)

What is the cost of "Same Day" registration?

What is the cost of "Same Day" registration? There were 500,000 "Same Day" registrations in MN for the 2008 elections. Were they all legal to vote? Were they who they said they were? Did they live at their listed address? Were they all vetted per the constitutional requirement?

Voter ID has one and only one logical & rational reason to exist. To ensure voting integrity.

Voter ID simply applies a common sense approach to voting in the same manner as paying with a check, cashing a check, paying with a credit card, traveling by air, etc.

different cards

"ID cards and driver’s licenses are printed off-site and are “impossible to print on the spot” because of specific security features,” said Kristine Chapin, a public information officer.

“It would be impossible with the system we currently have,” she said."

I work at a community college, where students are photographed and their ID cards printed in less than a minute.

I hear what you're saying

I hear what you're saying Tony, but Chapin's point is ridiculous to begin with. Leftist excuses for maintaining the status quo are getting lamer by the day, and with good reason. It is simple common sense to ensure our elections are as free of fraud and abuse as possible, while maintaining our right to vote.

Now we're hearing whining of the intolerable abuse of expecting people to exert a small effort before election day. Reminds me of my kids back a few years when chores interrupted their relaxation..."But, but I *can't* do it noooow!"

Yes children, you're going to actually have to put some forethought into your voting franchise. Life's so unfair, I know, I know.

What !!?? It's not going to be FREE ??!!??

All those supporters of voter ID surely must be right with their all their assurances.

What the heck do the officials who have run elections in the counties for years know, anyway ?? They've got a nerve saying there are any problems with this. And what an outrage for them to say it's going to cost any money !!

shoot the messenger

You don't like anything not supporting your view, so you shoot the messenger. ...

At the college, where you print up an ID, you already have a registered student, you have a SSN, date of birth, everything about the student. At the polls they would have to sort through birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. I see a difference.

Your concerns about how many same day registrants are legit- that is easy to find out. We were mailed our voter registration cards the following couple of weeks. The PO does not forward them, if they come back undelivered, they are struck from the rolls. It should be easy to get that number.

Last election I moved on election day- without a permanent address I could not update my drivers license so I had to have someone vouch for me. Under the new amendment, I would not be able to vote- no more vouching. The provisional ballot has never been counted in the states that claim they have it.

The reason for the lawsuit is because backers of the bill won't discuss it and enlighten us on how it is to work. I had specific questions about absentee voting and Rep Kiffmeyer chose not to address them.

If you cannot make valid points without calling people children, please don't post.

For some reason, Minnesota has an antiquated system of printing

driver's licenses.

Yes, community colleges and the Y can create instant ID's, but unlike Oregon, which prints renewed driver's licenses on the spot after checking them in the state's database, Minnesota gives you a slip of yellow paper that shows that you've paid for your new license, and then you wait one or two weeks for it to show up in the mail.

So in Minnesota, if you happen to move close to Election Day, you will either not have a photo ID, or else you will delay updating your driver's license and vote in your old precinct.

Speaking of state databases, didn't Pawlenty veto a proposal to link the state's voting rolls to other state databases?