Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Voter ID? We don’t see the need

Why change our voting system in Minnesota without any evidence that it doesn't work?

Gen has been a Twin Cities resident her entire life, born in Northeast Minneapolis, now residing in a senior building in Edina.  She is 92 years old, and does not have a current Minnesota picture ID. She is Jay’s mom.

She has voted consistently since she was 21 years old. Ten years ago her eyesight began to fail, so she gave up her car keys and stopped driving. About the same time, she moved into her current apartment where transportation is provided for the residents. She had no reason to renew her driver’s license.

Recently a bank matter arose that required Gen to get a picture ID. Because her license was expired for more than five years, it was necessary that she apply for a first-time state ID. That required proof of person — a birth certificate and a marriage license to track her name change. The marriage license was easily found through the Hennepin County records, at a cost of $9. They could not find a record of her birth.

We were told that the Minnesota Department of Health had birth certificates on file. Fortunately, they were able to find hers, but with a different spelling of her surname. Gen’s parents were Polish immigrants, and changed the spelling of their last name after her birth, a common practice in those days. The cost for the extra search and birth certificate was $26.

Documents in hand …

After several weeks, we had the license and certificate in hand and were ready to bring Gen to the only service center in our area that provides first time Minnesota IDs, the State Service Center in the Midtown Exchange on 28th and Chicago Ave. S. The Service Center allows you to make an appointment online, and thereby cut to the head of the line when you arrive. That was very helpful, and we made an appointment for 11:45.

We picked Gen up at 10:45, allowing extra time for the complicated logistics of getting her there with her limited mobility and need for a walker. There was no support for the elderly or disabled at the service center, no wheelchairs, drop-off area, or relatively close parking. The Service Center is in the basement of a very bustling, crowded business area. But, after 2 hours and 45 minutes, we accomplished the goal of ordering her ID (an $11 fee). We headed for home with our exhausted mother.

As we write this, four weeks later, the ID just arrived. 

Scant evidence of fraud

If the Voter ID proposed constitutional amendment passes, this scenario will play out all over the state of Minnesota. Supporters of this proposed amendment argue that this must happen to prevent what they fear would be significant fraud in our elections. A number of academic studies have been done on this subject, notably among these studies is the NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, and the Department of Justice study under George W. Bush. They have all concluded that there is scant evidence of election fraud. One area of concern, felons voting before serving their full sentence, would not be corrected by requiring a photo ID, and constitutes a tiny percentage of total voters.

Voting is a right, spelled out in our Constitution. Other matters, e.g. certain banking transactions, flying on a plane, checking in for a medical appointment, are not defined in our constitution. As citizens of this country, we are all entitled to vote. Even if we can’t cash a check for lack of ID, or fly to another destination … we are all entitled to vote.

Would set Minnesota apart

If this amendment passes, Minnesota would be the only state to require all voters have a government-issued ID, without exemptions, even absentee voters. All Minnesota citizens without a picture ID would have to spend extra time and money to get one, or be disenfranchised.

One has to wonder what the motivation is to change our Constitution on voting rights, when there are no facts to support such a move. The experience we had could disenfranchise many legitimate registered voters. It would be an injustice to create such a roadblock.  This proposal should not be enacted into law.  Vote NO on the proposed voter ID amendment.

Jay Kiedrowski is a Senior Fellow at the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota and a contributor to Citizens for Election Integrity in Minnesota (CEIMN); Iris Kiedrowski is an Election Judge and a Board Member for CEIMN.


Write your reaction to this piece in Comments below. Or consider submitting your own Community Voices commentary; for information, email Susan Albright.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (56)

  1. Submitted by rolf westgard on 05/02/2012 - 05:31 am.

    It’s clever, and it’s legal

    The voter ID amendment is a clever and legal attempt to reduce the DFL vote count. If we voters allow the MN GOP to succeed, we have only ourselves to blame.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/02/2012 - 04:57 pm.

      Is it legal?

      By my calculation, Gen’s photo ID cost her $35 without the $11 she had to pay for the ID itself or the time, effort, gas, parking, time off, etc. that her son and daughter (in-law?) expended to help her get it. Unless the documents required to get the ID and the ID itself are free, they constitute a poll tax. MN could require people to make a statement that they are using a birth certificate copy and/or marriage license copy (an issue that used to pretty much only affect women, but now often affecting men, too), and then provide them for free (cough it up taxpayers!). But how can MN keep other states from charging for such documentation?

  2. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 05/02/2012 - 08:05 am.

    Voter ID the next step backwards? Then where next?

    This story is a powerful example of what Voter ID could do for those who cannot for health reasons, economic limitations; cannot obtain an Voter ID.

    I can’t help think of “Loyalty pledges” – WWI initiative by more bad policy makers – could be next; walking in as secondary legislation monitoring more of that power restricting, creeping conservative agenda?

    What next…who knows but could be, church and state will be considered as one; a merged, mandated gargoyle… with theocracy coming through the transom as more restrictions are actuated on Joe and Joanna citizen?

    Once implanted, control and restrictions won’t stop there as a democratic society compromises its basic ideals, promises? Disappears? Worse case scenario but, gotta think ahead; down the line…?

    Check out one wise professor who some time ago wrote “Watchdog of Loyalty” by Carl Chrislock.

    Citizens rights can be restricted so easily in a sad and arrogant; scary attempt by a dominant few, to control the voter, the citizen…and we may wake up one morning with the Constitution and all it promises relegated to an alley dumpster and the right to vote and all it promises now restricted by Voter ID?

    Just think of another ‘pledge’ folks; another pledge restricting some voters some of the time; some of our citizens all of the time?

  3. Submitted by Jay Benanav on 05/02/2012 - 09:28 am.

    Jay & Iris are right

    I could not agree with Jay and Iris more! My mother recently moved to MN from NY. She is a holocaust survivor from Romania. Her birth certificate no longer exists. She was married to my father on a train in Turkey in 1944 as they were escaping so her marriage certificate which is hand written by a rabbi would probably not be considered valid under the voter ID amendment (though I believe that their 64 years of marriage and 4 sons should be enough proof of their marriage). She gave up her NY ID years ago. It would be impossible for her to register to vote in MN under the voter ID amendment. Such a shame that someone like her could no longer vote!

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/02/2012 - 09:38 am.

    The good news is

    people will have at least two years to get the ID that Gen was able to get in a month. Even democrats should be able to make that timeframe.

    • Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 05/02/2012 - 03:37 pm.

      Fine, what about…..

      If you move two or three times in a year, like many, many people in this tough economy. Do you get a new ID every time you move? You are already on hard times, obviously, since you have to move so much.

      For the thousands who don’t have stable housing, this amendment actually makes it incentive to vote where your old ID says you live. Otherwise you could just take an old ID and piece of mail from your new place. Stupid.

      What about the college freshmen at the U of M, just moved to campus a couple months before voting, from South Dakota? Even Scalia says that kid has the right to vote in Minneapolis. Should he be able to use his South Dakota ID in a Minnesota election?

      Disenfranchisement of legal voters has to be just as bad as fraudsters. Only difference is the fraudsters are a myth and the disenfranchisement is real.

      Voter suppression is not a solution to voter fraud.

    • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 05/02/2012 - 03:40 pm.

      Dennis, are you offering to pay for paperwork?

      Even with the free ID, it still cost Jay’s mother $31.00 to get the paperwork in order. That, my friend, is an unconstitutional poll tax.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 05/02/2012 - 04:32 pm.


      And if you’re homeless, Dennis? What then?

    • Submitted by James Kessler on 05/03/2012 - 09:08 am.

      A question for Mr. Tester

      Tell us, Mr. Tester, why we should have to bother with this nonsense at all when your side of the argument refuses and is completely unable to present any evidence that 1: Voter ID is necessary and that 2: Voter ID will stop what little voter fraud does exist.

      And then perhaps you can explain why the Republicans refuse to require a paper trail to go along with electronic voting machines?

  5. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 05/02/2012 - 09:49 am.

    Don’t worry the republicans will take care of you, and not in a good way. INEPT defines the republican party. Voter apathy of who they vote for is to blame for the political mess we find ourselves in. Actions have consequences. Right now voters are paying the consequences for not understanding who they vote for. You can’t just vote for a party you have to know who the party is putting out their and why. The current class of republicans are single purpose legislators. All they want to do is social engineering. Voters this November is when the republicans need to pay the consequences for their totally INEPT management of the state.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/02/2012 - 10:02 am.

    Of COURSE There’s a Need for Voter I.D. in Minnesota

    Based on two terms of Tim Pawlenty doing everything in his power to enrich the rich and punish the poor and middle class,…

    and the pathetic incompetence and ineptness of our current Republican-led (with ALEC holding the rings in their collective noses) legislature,…

    the “Republicans” have zero chance of winning the next several elections in any way OTHER than convincing the general public to go along with their attempt to perpetrate this massively destructive usurpation of the right of thousands of citizens of Minnesota to vote.

    The only FRAUD involved in the Voter I.D. situation is ALEC and the Republicans’ claim that voter I.D. is designed to do anything but disenfranchise significant numbers of DFL voters and, thereby, tip the balance in favor of Republicans in future elections.

    There is ZERO measurable voter fraud in Minnesota, therefore the push for voter I.D. is, itself nothing more nor less than FRAUD.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 05/02/2012 - 10:51 am.

    Dennis Testor….

    The final Question is Why?

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/02/2012 - 11:53 am.

      Because your one vote should count

      and shouldn’t be negated by one cast illegally.

      • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 05/02/2012 - 02:56 pm.

        But there is no evidence that has happened. On the other hand this amendment WILL result in eligible voters being denied their right.

        • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 05/02/2012 - 05:36 pm.

          It also won’t keep anyone from voting illegally

          It didn’t in Indiana.

          This is a ridiculous boondoggle that makes government less efficient, more expensive and less effective. Why should a registered voter be required to show an ID at the polls? They likely already showed one when they registered.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/02/2012 - 05:03 pm.

        What the GOP means by “your one vote should count” is that the votes from those that don’t GOP shouldn’t count. The “illegal vote” scam is a scam. If you believe it, you’re a sucker. If you don’t and you repeat it, you’re simply trying to create “terror as a means of coercion” (feel free to Google that phrase).

  8. Submitted by Sieglinde Gassman on 05/02/2012 - 11:06 am.

    Voter ID Farce

    As a long-time election judge and someone who as watched closely the recent re-counts, I can vouch that there is no evidence of voter fraud that will be corrected by requiring a photo ID card. At the same time, as an election judge, it is now we judges, if this amendment passes, who will have to decide if the not so accurate images on the ID cards match the live person signing in to vote.

    Or does just having a photo ID make a person eligible?

    I agree with one other commenter that this reminds me of loyalty oaths…

  9. Submitted by myles spicer on 05/02/2012 - 11:16 am.


    The voter ID is so transparent, it is barely worth commenting on — but it is worth noting that part of the rationale was the 2008 election. As I recall there were 117 “inelegible” voters — none with”fraud” but mostly felons who were not elegible. That out of about 2.5 million votes.

    • Submitted by James Kessler on 05/03/2012 - 09:11 am.

      George W Bush….

      Had the DOJ spend 5 years looking for evidence of voter fraud.

      In that time period they found about 300 cases. 90% of which was former felons voting when they shouldn’t have which wouldn’t be stopped by Voter ID.

      And yet here we are being subjected to this piece of right wing election all because they can’t stand losing elections and will do anything under the sun to make sure they win.

  10. Submitted by Nancy Beach on 05/02/2012 - 11:18 am.

    Speaking of requirements

    I wish there were some way to require everyone showing up at the polls in November to read this wonderful piece before they cast their vote. Thanks, Iris and Jay for spelling it out so plainly.

  11. Submitted by David Greene on 05/02/2012 - 11:29 am.

    No Need to Wonder Why

    There is no need to guess at the motivation behind this. It’s voter suppression, plain and simple. The only “legitimate” reason to support this is to make it harder for the elderly, people of color, the disabled, the homeless and college students to vote. And the only reason to want that is to hang on to white privilege just a little bit longer.

  12. Submitted by Karen Kaehler on 05/02/2012 - 01:27 pm.

    Photo ID is needed – just get one

    I note that a “bank matter” drove the writers to get mom to the Service Center, not the evil Voter ID contingent. Exactly. You need to have a photo ID. Just get one. When my mom quit driving, she exchanged her driver’s license for a state ID, which she ALWAYS carried until her death at 87.

    • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 05/02/2012 - 03:44 pm.

      It still costs money

      Even with the free ID; if an older person has no ID right now, and has to get the paperwork, it costs money for a copy of a birth certificate (if there is one), and a marriage license. Once you charge someone to be able to vote, it is a poll tax.

    • Submitted by James Kessler on 05/03/2012 - 09:12 am.

      To Karen

      You might want to bother to remember, Karen, that voting is a right. Using a bank is a privilige. The bank may put in whatever requirements they want that are legal.

      But you probably should be a lot more wary about messing with people’s ability to vote.

      Oh wait I forgot the GOP hates people voting..which is why the Michigan GOP, for example, has denied half of that state’s minorities the right to vote on local matters…

      And you don’t think that’s what’s going on here? Then you are only fooling yourself.

  13. Submitted by Brian Nelson on 05/02/2012 - 01:38 pm.

    As someone who pretends to support the constitution

    why is it, Dennis, that you support what is essentially a poll tax?

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/02/2012 - 03:04 pm.

      Because I want my vote to count

      I don’t want people who have no right to vote canceling out my vote. It’s really as simple as that.

      • Submitted by David Greene on 05/02/2012 - 04:37 pm.


        So you would knowingly disenfranchise thousands of people, canceling out their vote just so you can have some imaginary comfort that your vote now “counts” when it didn’t before, against all of the copious data showing that your vote has always been and will continue to be counted.

        That is a great summary of the moral decay of the Republican party and its me, me, me individual at all costs mentality.

      • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 05/02/2012 - 08:11 pm.

        Dennis, but you have to understand…

        your position goes against the 24th amendment. For months you have railed, albeit vaguely, against the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional policies, yet here you wish the state to deliberately flaunt that most sacred of documents.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/04/2012 - 08:46 am.

        Actually Dennis

        What you have to understand is that this amendment does nothing to protect your vote because it won’t prevent the fraud your worried about. It’s really THAT simple. In fact, this creates a whole new front end that will cancel out thousands of legitimate votes by dropping them into a provisional ballot limbo. Your far more likely to have your vote canceled out by the Government under this amendment than you ever were by an illegal vote.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/02/2012 - 01:41 pm.

    2 years and negated votes

    Actually the requirement would go into effect on or after June 30 of next year, and apply to the 2013 Minneapolis Elections.

    Voter ID would eliminate same day registration. In the 2010 election we had close 500,000 (almost 20% of the total) same day registration votes. If Voter ID had been in effect in 2010 most of those vote would have been pushed into provisional ballots that would not have been counted on election day. If and when such ballots would ever be counted is not clear, the amendment itself says nothing about this. Since 2008 there have 144 prosecutions for voting fraud in MN most of those were felons who’s votes would not have been prevented by voter ID because almost all of them had valid IDs.

    Now you can worry about what 60 or 70 felons are doing on election day if you want to, but if voter ID the most likely agent to negate your vote is going to be your own government. I’m worried about tens or even hundreds of thousand of people who’s vote will no longer be counted on election day.

  15. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 05/02/2012 - 03:22 pm.

    21st Century Poll Tax

    The Voter ID Amendment is a 21st Century Poll Tax on people who are not white, not middle-class, not between the ages of 30-70, not suburban, not employed and don’t buy lots of stuff at malls.

  16. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 05/02/2012 - 03:44 pm.

    voter ID

    I “vouch” for the vast majority of MN voters who consistently endorse reasonable efforts to guarantee the legitimacy of every vote.
    I fail to understand how the minimal requirements endorsed by the proposed amendment would hinder any voter.
    I would hope that further gains in technology in the future will continue to offer reasonable options for voter identification and legitimate voting. Maybe someday with new technologies we will be able to vote from home over the internet. Embracing the wonders of technology should be goal of every citizen.
    It seems that many in the “flat-earth, anti- technology, anti-voter ID crowd” are more zealous in protecting a political agenda than legitimate voting.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 05/02/2012 - 04:41 pm.


      Actually, Ron, amendments to the bill were proposed to use better technology than photo ID. Secretary Ritchie’s electronic poll books got support on both side of the aisle and struck me as a reasonable way to reassure people, though no reassurance is necessary since voter impersonation fraud doesn’t exist.

      In any case, efforts to modernize elections were defeated and the amendment explicitly says only a photo ID is valid for voting purposes. This amendment actually locks us into a voting system that is quickly becoming antiquated and irrelevant.

      If you’re for better voting methods, and I certainly am, you should be voting against this amendment simply because it precludes the kind of improvements you list.

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 05/03/2012 - 08:52 am.


        The current system of “vouching” and “utility bills” is not antiquated?

        Let me be one of the first to encourage you to enter the 21st Century.

        • Submitted by David Greene on 05/03/2012 - 11:28 am.

          Voting Systems

          How can vouching be antiquated? It’s an act, not a technology. Utility bills certainly are antiquated. I don’t even get paper bills anymore.

          My point, which you seem to willfully ignore or at least not respond to, is that the reforms you would like to see (internet voting, new technologies) will be _impossible_ if the amendment passes. The only way to be able to vote will be to show a photo ID to an election judge. Photo IDs are antiquated. Retinal scans or fingerprint readers would be better but my guess is that privacy advocates would have a problem with everyone’s retina or fingerprint being scanned at birth.

          Electronic poll books seems like a wonderful technology. The burden is on the state to produce the ID, not the voter. Same-day registration will remain intact (and we all agree that’s a good thing, right?). Vouching will still be possible and that is absolutely a good thing. Nobody risks going to jail by vouching for someone they don’t know or know is not allowed to vote in the precinct.

          So what exactly is wrong with electronic poll books over photo ID?

    • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 05/02/2012 - 08:15 pm.

      Ron, it doesn’t matter…

      what you think is OK is actually illegal. Since your party claims to be the party of innovation find a way to “legitimize” the vote without making people have to pay a fee to vote.

  17. Submitted by Molly Redmond on 05/02/2012 - 06:36 pm.

    Poll Tax Big Time

    My mother, mentally sharp, but frail and physically wheel-chair bound and living in a nursing home, would need to pay for the following, to get that ID: 1) She’d have to hire a van equipped with a wheel-chair lift, plus an attendant, to take her to get the photo ID. 2) I assume that she would, upon receiving the ID in the mail, then have to repeat the process to take that ID to the local polling place to register. I do not know if she would then have to 3) return to the polling place to either vote or request an absentee ballot. Still, she would need to pay for those first few round-trip van rides.

    How is this NOT a de facto poll tax?

    I am so, so sick of all the commenters in this and other forums who say–“It’s no problem for someone who really wants to have a photo ID to just go get it”. They are exemplifying thoughtlessness or–worse– delight– at what senior citizens will be forced to arrange and pay for.

  18. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 05/02/2012 - 08:06 pm.

    voter ID

    This information MUST get out. Minnesotans favor it, but they do not know the consequences and if it’s approved, it will be hell to reverse a Constitutional amendment. The whole thing stinks and people need to wake up to what is involved–and why.
    Get a bumper sticker, a yard sign, talk to your neighbors–do something.

  19. Submitted by Michelle Meyer on 05/02/2012 - 10:54 pm.

    Government issued ID anyone?

    How about just needing a government issued ID to vote/register….a library’s free and fairly easy to get. I was surprised when I first voted that I did not have to present an ID. I think I just had to sign and maybe take a utility bill with my name on it. I am for presenting some kind of ID that at one point in time made me link my name to a photo.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/03/2012 - 08:54 am.

      Your name to a photo

      Just any photo? Have you looked at the quality of a vast number of photo IDs? They’re junk. Would you recognize me from my driver’s license. Maybe. Even if the photos were of any quality, by the time 4 years has passed (the amount of time a MN driver’s license is valid), people may look very different. I do.

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/03/2012 - 10:09 am.

      that was ID

      Utility bills with your name and address are ID. In Virginia’s new voter ID law, they accept utility bills, and didn’t impose this photo ID requirement.

  20. Submitted by Dan Gerber on 05/02/2012 - 11:51 pm.

    Proof of I.D.

    My own experience applies to proving who you are, but not for voting. A number of years ago
    when I was on the MinnesotaCare medical insurance plan and had to provide proof of citizen-
    ship to renew my coverage. I was born in what was the Belgian Congo, and would have had
    to applied for a birth certificate through the State Department or other federal department. A
    passport would be acceptable, but I didn’t have one in possession since my college days. For-
    tunately, my parents were able to find one in their things from my high school years when we
    were in now D.R. Congo. They also found my Belgian Congo birth certificate, but I doubt
    that would get me very far applying for any sort of I.D.

  21. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/03/2012 - 08:38 am.

    This is not simply adding an ID to the existing system

    “I fail to understand how the minimal requirements endorsed by the proposed amendment would hinder any voter.”

    Let me explain. This proposal doesn’t simply add an ID requirement to the existing system, and it is not a “minimal” requirement, it is an additional burden on the Voter.

    The ID requirement eliminates our current system of same day registration, and creates an entirely new front end to our electoral system that will prevent tens of thousand, or maybe even hundred of thousands of votes from being counted on election day. Even if you show up on election day with a valid ID, if your not already registered, your vote will not be counted on election day, you be given a “provisional” ballot that will be set aside. No one can even say at this point when these ballots will be counted. In the 2010 election we 500,000 same registration day votes, almost 20% of the vote total.

    As for new technology, a constitutional amendment actually causes more problems that solves. If you want to deploy new technology in the future the last thing you want is to write a contemporary practice in stone, which is what an amendment does. Several proposals to deploy new technology have been made. A plan to link the registered felon database to the voter registration database was passed and then vetoed by Pawlenty. Mark Ritchie introduced a plan to create an electronic registration system and add photos to it, but that plan got nowhere. We’re not looking at constitutional amendment because liberal luddites refuse to come into the 21 century. We’re looking at this amendment because it has one quality that no other proposal has: it disenfranchises voters and keeps ten of thousands of votes from being counted on election day, if ever.

  22. Submitted by Jamie Delton on 05/03/2012 - 10:02 am.

    Voter ID

    What is being said about voter ID here is not true.
    Kiedrowski is jumping to conclusions based on an exceptional elderly person, who probably has not yet taken advantage of Medicare or other federal and state programs, and what SOS policy changes will occur if any.
    Get the testimony for starters.
    Search on “voter” in both 2011 and 2012 here:

    Jamie Delton

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/03/2012 - 02:30 pm.

      I’ve read this

      I’ve read through all the iterations of the proposed amendment. I don’t see where the cost of getting a photo ID would be zero. As I asked before, is the state of Minnesota going to pay for birth certificate and marriage license copies? Will it force other states to provide them for free??

      The woman in the story is not exceptional. She is an example of the approximately 25% of people over 65 that will need to get a photo ID in order to vote. Likely more than half are women who would need both documents to get an ID. And then there are those that don’t have access at all to those documents.

      Even as a young woman whose last name is no longer her birth name, I have to pay for an extra document every time I have to do something official.

      It’s not free and it’s not fast.

      What I can’t figure out is whether really don’t get it or if they’re intentionally being obtuse.

  23. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/03/2012 - 10:11 am.

    Electronic poll books

    If Republicans had just agreed to electronic poll books, they could have had photos of each voter, photographic proof if someone tried to commit fraud, the support of the secretary of state, and the governor would have signed off. They wouldn’t even consider it. Clearly this is about taking away the right to vote.

  24. Submitted by Jamie Delton on 05/03/2012 - 11:26 am.

    Electronic Poll books

    Eric, nothing is preventing or will prevent Ritchie from implementing electronic poll books. At least one Republican said it is a good idea.

  25. Submitted by Jamie Delton on 05/03/2012 - 11:36 am.

    begging for leadership direction

    Voter ID is necessary in part because of poll judges like this one who ought to know better given the training they receive and knowledge of the statutory obligations involved.

  26. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/03/2012 - 03:08 pm.

    Exceptional seniors?

    Yeah Eric, you can always pile a new system on tom of the new system. Haven’t you heard of a little thing called “fiscal responsibility”?

    We’re not talking “exceptional” seniors without IDs, or at least if we are, there are around 200,000 exceptional seniors currently in MN.

    And even if were talking about some kind exceptional senior, why should any senior who’s been voting for 60+ years suddenly have jump through additional hoops? By the way, amendments were offered to exempt seniors from the ID requirement and they were voted down on strict party lines.

    And when it comes to these “free” IDs Republicans are promising, remember, the actual definitions of who will qualify, what will be provided and by whom, not mention what the budget for all this will, has yet to be determined. Everyone who trusts the Republicans to set up an adequately financed and efficiently run government program raise your hand. These are the same people who want to means-test seniors and drug test food stamp applicants, what are the odds of them setting up a generous program for free government issued IDs? The proposals so require seniors to pay for the IDs and then apply for refund, can’t see anything going wrong with that plan.

  27. Submitted by C. Dorr on 05/03/2012 - 09:24 pm.

    Photo ID – a wolf in sheep’s clothing

    Photo ID really is a complete overhaul of our current election system. It is an unfunded mandate designed to institute many new ways we will do our elections – specifically the Provisional Ballots. This & other drastic, unneeded & dumb changes in our election procedures are NOT evident in the title of the bill nor in the langage that may appear on the ballot next November. It’s a ruse designed to decieve the uninformed voter that a Photo ID is an “improvement” over our current excellent system.
    The changes required by Photo ID put a heavier work burden on elections staff & election judges. But no $$$. Paid for by you the taxpayer in your property tax bill at the County/City level. It’s NOT “free” by any means !
    Most people do not realize that up to 1/3 of all ELIGIBLE Minnesota voters may not be allowed to vote or not have their vote counted. This is because of Provisional Ballots & the requirement for supporting documents (and costs & effort borne by the individual to get them). These are an impediment to casting a ballot or having your vote count. In Minnesota during a major election year when about 3 million votes are counted, that would be perhaps 1 million votes. (research & data from the MN Secty of State office).
    So beware the “bite” of the Photo ID wolf – a ‘bite” out of your wallet, a “bite” out of our high voter turnout record, and a “bite” out of democracy when eligible voters can’t vote.
    No Vote = No Justice
    Catherine Dorr, Mpls Election Judge, member CEIMN & League of Women Voters,

  28. Submitted by Jamie Delton on 05/04/2012 - 12:54 am.

    Voter ID; I’ve Read this; Exceptional Seniors

    Hi Rachel & Paul,

    It has to be free or it may be challenged in court by Democrats or a national group like the League of Woman Voters. However the entire document gathering process is not a basis for any challenge.
    “Justice John Paul Stevens, in the leading opinion, stated that the burdens placed on voters are limited to a small percentage of the population, and were offset by the state’s interest in reducing fraud. Stevens wrote in the majority:
    “The relevant burdens here are those imposed on eligible voters who lack photo identification cards that comply with SEA 483.[2] Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons—e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate—is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk’s office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek.”

    The 200,000 figure is an estimate probably mostly based on the number of non-citizens (voting is a right! – oh wait, forgot about people with certain immigration statuses) who are ineligible to vote. A more accurate one is 40,000, or about 00.8% (4 fifths of 1 percent) of the total MN population.

    I disagree with you Rachel in that it is exceptional for any citizen, including a senior, to not have had any “bank matter”, government requirement, travel plan, gun purchase, or any of dozens of other transactions requiring a photo ID until late into their life. And it is never too late to get a photo ID!

    On Paul’s second point: at one time the cost a Minnesota ID was estimated at $6.
    Democrat Mark Ritchie and his team of county election and legal professionals are capable of complying with the 2012 Voter ID Amendment even though he provides little leadership and is slow to help my county to follow up on felons, invalid addresses, voucher validation, deceased voters, immigration status, fraud and possible duplicate votes, while prosecutors in some counties surpass democrat-party Ramsey county’s efforts.
    Ritchie holds office until 2014.

    “NON-CITIZEN VOTERS: Prior to the 2008 election, state Representative Laura Brod discovered that several non-citizens had become registered to vote. The non-citizens were identified by Department of Public Safety “Status Check” data. “Status Check” is an indicator in drivers license records attached to visitors in the United States on a visa. It is designed to alert law enforcement to check the individual’s visa expiration date. Only a non-citizen would have the “Status Check” indicator in their drivers license record. Rep. Brod brought a list of voters who had DPS records flagged “Status Check” to the secretary of state before the 2008 election. Secretary Ritchie indicated that he wasn’t aware that he could check for that, despite the fact that his office had been receiving weekly updates from DPS for nearly two years. Ritchie gave his assurances that the non-citizens would be cleaned from the voter rolls and checks would be made regularly going forward. A check of SVRS voter histories after the election showed that not only were some of the same non-citizens still registered, some had cast ballots.”

    Your questions are disgusting. We are talking about Minnesota’s most important civic responsibility and all you can think of to ask is how can we get it free. How about asking how we can preserve integrity in a complex mangement system for the majority of Minnesota citizens?
    Is that not more important than retrying a 2008 Supreme court case?
    The Indiana democrats failed partly because what they did in finding fault in good faith efforts to preserve dmocracy and elections is just not right and not decent. It was overtly partisan and transparently self-interested. From their behavior Democrats must believe a party advantage is enjoyed in having no enforcement of voter authentication. Republicans, independents, and some democrats feel a photo ID requirement is needed to simply preserve the integrity of the process, regardless of politics.

  29. Submitted by rolf westgard on 05/04/2012 - 03:46 am.

    Why all this GOP hypocrisy?

    Forget the nonsense about voter fraud, preserving integrity, etc Republicans. You have come up with a clever and legal way to suppress DFL votes. Just take pride in it. The DFL is just not smart enough to match it.

  30. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/04/2012 - 09:38 am.

    Exceptional seniors and what’s been read….

    Hello Jamie,

    You wrote a long comment but unfortunately it’s pretty much devoid of content. The issue isn’t how much the actual IDs cost, the issue is the requirement that they be obtained in order to cast a vote that will counted on election day. If you take the time to read this article, you will see that it’s not the cost of actual ID, but the cost of supporting documents and time and travel that are an issue. The amendment merely states that the ID itself can be free to some people under certain circumstances,yet to be determined. The amendment says nothing about additional costs associated with obtaining the ID. In testimony, the backers of photo ID like Kiffmeyer have stated that those additional costs would NOT be covered, only the ID itself. And yeah, it’s going to end up court… THAT’S reason number 102 why this is a bad idea. Unlike ordinary legislation a constitutional amendment cannot be “tweaked” by legislation, it has to go to court, and can only be modified by another constitutional amendment. A lot of people seem to very confused about this, they don’t seem to realize that constitutional amendments are NOT simply legislation by other means.

    Mark Ritchie has never claimed that the state cannot implement an ID. The question is whether or not a Republican legislature that can’t even manage it’s own per diem budget can be trusted to set up a multi-million dollar free ID system. It’s funny how all these “small” government Republicans suddenly have so much blind faith that the government can be trusted with tens of thousands of uncounted votes, and with setting up a system that basically grants rather than recognizes the right to vote. Suddenly this government that can’t be trusted to anything can be trusted to make sure that everyone gets their free ID so they can have their vote counted on election day. And if Mark Ritchie is such scoundrel, why do want drop this voter ID plan in his lap? You do realize that his office will be responsible for implementing this don’t you?

    How does a system that sets aside tens of thousand of uncounted votes on election day “enhance” our election integrity? How does a system that makes thousand of voters jump through new unnecessary government created procedures enhance integrity? How does a system that fails to stop fraud enhance integrity? Voter ID does nothing to enhance the integrity of the system, it simply decreases the number of the votes cast and counted on election day.

    If you want to actually enhance the systems integrity, the single greatest thing we could do is give the Secretary of States office the ability to access and cross check voter rolls with current felon rolls. This would eliminate 90% of the fraudulent votes cast on election day. Guess what? When the legislators passed exactly such a law, Pawlenty vetoed it. Did you ever ask Pawlenty why he wasn’t concerned about our systems integrity? Another thing we could do is create an electronic voter registration system that could add, but not require photos of voters. This would actually be far more effective than photo ID because it would associate photos with real voters in real time using a variety of verification methods on election day. Both of these policies could be implemented thought normal legislation that could be tweaked and improved as necessary by future lawmakers.

  31. Submitted by Jamie Delton on 05/04/2012 - 11:12 pm.


    Wow I cite the SCOTUS line that makes your case against Voter ID dismissable and you continue to argue.
    We need constitutional guidance on this issue unfortunately, even though statutes clearly support ID requirement and it’s obvious to 70-90% of Minnesotans a high standard of ID requirement is appropriate for elections.

  32. Submitted by Tom Ehlinger on 05/05/2012 - 09:08 am.

    The Basic Difference Here

    I’ve read all the posts here and distilling the arguments to their essence there are two basic arguments:

    “I don’t want my vote negated.” vs “I don’t want someone else’s vote negated.”

    There you have the essential cultural conflict that it tearing at this country’s soul.

  33. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/06/2012 - 04:47 pm.


    Yes, Jamie, the argument continues. SCOTUS has not heard a case regarding the MN ID amendment much less rendered a ruling on it. You don’t seem to realize that he argument here is that amendment violates the SCOTUS ruling you keep referencing.

    Tom, I think you miss the mark just a little. Those who oppose this amendment aren’t worried about having votes negated, they want everyone’s vote to count, and they don’t want artificial procedures put in place to prevent legal voting. I don’t want my vote or anyone elses to be negated. This amendment creates an entirely new front end to our election system that will negate far more than 144 votes, and that could be mine, yours, or anyone’s.

Leave a Reply