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Election official: Insufficient resources to implement Voter ID

Not to be unduly skeptical, but it does seem that Election Day disincentives are a part of of the basic idea. Madeleine Baran of MPR files a report off colleague Cathy Wurzer’s on-air conversation with Ramsey County's top election offiicial: “Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky says local officials lack the resources to implement the proposed voter ID amendment.  Mansky, who opposes the amendment, said it would complicate the process of counting ballots from voters who register at their polling place on Election Day. ‘Clearly, we do not currently have the ability to do the on-the-spot verification that ... I think would be necessary given the language in this amendment,’ Mansky told MPR's Cathy Wurzer on Thursday. He also said the changes would be costly for local elections officials around the state.
Wurzer: What could be done to make this transition easier if photo ID makes it into the Constitution?

Mansky: As I pointed out to the Senate a couple of weeks ago, I have no basic argument with the idea that we should verify the eligibility of people or the identity of people, however they want to put that. I think the methodology that they have chosen here will be archaic on the first day that it is implemented, should it get to that stage. The world is really moving away from photography, and I heard some misstatements of fact on the House floor the other day when they were debating this issue. One of the members said, for example, that you needed a picture ID, for example, to get materials out of the library or to open up a bank account. And of course, both of those are patently false. I will tell you one of the real frustrations that I've had with this whole process is that no one seems to want to talk about any of this. This whole matter seems to have been predetermined before the year began, and I think that's really unfortunate."

The GOP plan to phase out business property taxes — in the interests of boosting job creation, you understand — got a response from the Dayton administration. Tim Pugmire of MPR reports: “Gov. Mark Dayton sent two of his commissioners to a Minnesota Senate hearing Thursday to highlight his concerns about a Republican-backed tax bill. … Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter told the Senate Tax Committee that the bill would send state finances in the wrong direction. ‘We have gotten through a a significant recession. We have drawn down our reserves. We have had shifts. We have weakened the financial situation of this state markedly in recent years,’ Schowalter said. ‘The last two forecasts have been positive, and they've helped us restore some of our reserves, and this bill takes us going in the other way.’ Schowalter said more cuts would be hard to find. But Republican Sen. Julianne Ortman, the committee chair, told Schowalter to try harder. ‘I encourage you to go back to the table, roll up your sleeves, get out your pencils, you and the other commissioners and the other managers, there are many of them, and find some savings,’ Ortman said. ‘Because I think it's there. I think every Minnesotan knows it's there, and that we can do more to reduce the size of government to encourage the prosperity of individuals and businesses in the state of Minnesota.’ "

This kid will not take “no” for an answer. Bob Shaw of the PiPress reports: “If Mike Stone can't bring his porn-star dates to prom, then he has an idea — an alternative ‘porn prom.’ ‘It would be a big party, just down the street. If anyone wanted to come, they would be welcome,’ said Stone, 18, a student at Tartan High School in Oakdale whose search for a prom date has been an Internet sensation. Stone said Thursday ... that his fellow students were treating him like a hero. ‘They chanted my name in the hallway — 'Mike! Mike!' " he said. ‘They called me a legend. I have never been called that before’. Stone, a senior, has never been to a prom and saw the May 12 event as his last chance. … Stone began a fundraiser this week. He said Thursday that a travel agency had agreed to pay Piper's and Reyes' airfare. Overall, Stone said, about 40 people and businesses have contacted him, most to make contributions. He said he has heard from supporters in China, Japan and Brazil. Stone is still hoping to raise enough cash to take his dates to dinner, and possibly rent a limo.” I predict Mike will be having a one-on-one with the principal real soon.

Become a sustaining member today

Do those “Stand Your Ground’ laws cover tracking down the SOBs who pull this stuff? Mary Divine of the PiPress reports: “The caller had great news: A Bayport woman had just won $1.5 million. To claim the winnings, the woman — an 82-year-old Croixdale senior housing resident — had only to pay the taxes in advance, the caller said. By the time Bayport police heard about it, the woman had written more than $8,700 in checks to people in Ohio, California, Texas and Pennsylvania; had wired $1,350 to Jamaica; and had purchased more than $7,000 in Green Dot MoneyPak debit cards at Walmart. ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it is,’ said Bayport Police Chief Laura Eastman. The woman told police that a man who identified himself as ‘Michael Kevin Bills’ called her in November to tell her she had won $1.5 million. He then proceeded to call her daily, sometimes up to 45 times a day, according to police reports.”

Well, all I can say is “Good luck, sir." Mark Zdechlik at MPR writes: “Democratic small businessman Brian McGoldrick is entering the race for Congress in Minnesota's 6th District against Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann. McGoldrick has never run for office but he said he's worked a lot with government as the owner of numerous small businesses. McGoldrick lives northeast of Stillwater in May Township on the far southern border of the new 6th District. He owns a restaurant and marina in White Bear Lake called Admiral D's. … McGoldrick joins St. Cloud Democrat Anne Nolan in seeking the party endorsement to run against Bachmann. McGoldrick said he will abide by the endorsement process and drop out if someone else is endorsed. Nolan said she will also abide by the endorsement, but only if it takes place as scheduled on April 14.”

On that more modest uptick in hiring numbers ... Dee DePass of the Strib writes: “[T]he labor force participation rate fell slightly last month, as more baby boomers are retiring. Still, ‘The labor market recovery appears to be gaining steam, with three consecutive months of strong job growth,’ said Mark Phillips, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. ‘The state has now recovered 81,400 jobs since the recession.’ Education and health services led all job sectors for the month with 5,100 new jobs thanks to a bump in hiring at private colleges and universities  following the holiday break. In a positive sign, the normally weak government [sector] reported 2,500 job gains. The long-troubled construction sector gained 1,300 jobs during the month thanks in large part to the warm weather and continued demand for specialty trade workers in multi-residential housing projects.”

The incident involving Clark Griffith sounds sad as much anything else. Anthony Lonetree’s Strib story says: “Clark Griffith, a Minneapolis attorney whose father, Calvin, owned the Minnesota Twins until 1984, was charged in Ramsey County District Court on Wednesday with indecent exposure following an incident with a William Mitchell College of Law student in January. The charges say that Griffith, 70, then an adjunct professor at the college, exposed himself and told the 24-year-old female student to touch his penis as they stood on St. Paul's Victoria Street after a meeting at a restaurant. … His accuser, identified in the complaint by the initials M.D., told authorities that she had grown concerned about the relationship following comments Griffith had made, but she opted to ‘remain in contact with him for the clinic because she was not certain whether he was just being a 'nice older guy' or a 'creepy older guy,’ the charges say. When he texted to say he was ashamed and having a ‘hard time,’ she replied: ‘I understand you're having a hard time, but what about me? You made me touch you with your pants down while people were driving by and walking their dog behind the car!? How do I get over that?' "

Eric Roper of the Strib files a story on the lobbying squeeze on the Minneapolis City Council for pro-stadium votes. “There was stadium buzz at City Hall Thursday as council members signed on to a letter affirming support for Mayor R.T. Rybak's Vikings stadium plans. Rybak's spokesman, John Stiles, said ‘maybe’ when asked if a majority of the council would sign on by the end of the day. But one council member considered critical to building a majority, Kevin Reich, said he will ‘absolutely not’ sign the letter today. He said he sent a different letter to the governor reiterating his concerns with the plan. … The letter, obtained by the Star Tribune, says ‘as Minneapolis elected leaders who represent a majority of the City Council, we stand ready to be the local partner for a stadium solution. We will not take a vote on a Vikings stadium that violates the City's charter.’ Two council members, John Quincy and Don Samuels, said they have already signed. The letter obtained by the Star Tribune is on the letterhead of Council Member Diane Hofstede. Hofstede could not be immediately reached for comment.” That business about “violating” the charter will of course be open to significant re-interpretation.

At Field of Schemes, Neil deMause is following the action. He writes today, “Let's recap quickly all the roadblocks in the way of the Vikings getting their $600 million or so in public boodle:

  • The Minneapolis city council won't okay the plan without a referendum, which would almost certainly be defeated.
  • Charitable gambling operators are afraid (reasonably so) that legalizing electronic pulltabs to fund a stadium would cut into their revenues. The bill is currently being rewritten to try to assuage their fears, but no word on how that will work, or where additional revenue would come from if needed.
  • The speaker of the state house would have to grant special dispensation for the bill to move ahead at this late date, and he's made no commitment to do so.
  • Did I mention that the legislative session ends on April 30?

Given all the reasons to think that the Vikings plan is a horrible, horrible deal for Minnesotans, all of this is pretty reasonable, actually — it's no crisis when elected officials refuse to push for legislation that is hated by pretty much all their constituents except the ones that own sports franchises. Not a crisis, that is, unless you're a newspaper editorial writer.”

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Comments (20)

library card

I had to show my drivers license to get a library card at our city library a couple of years ago when I wanted to check out a children's book. My original library card had expired, and the library had put in a new system since then. Maybe that's not the case at every library, but it was here.
Also, my prediction is there will be a lot fewer same-day voter registrations after the law is changed because the cheaters will know they will be expected to show photo ID. (Especially if they planned to use names from cemeteries or made-up names.)

The difference

These examples of instances in which a drivers license is necessary are getting tiresome. Driving, buying beer, and going to the library are not rights. Voting is.

Voting is reserved for citizens

How are we to know whether the voter is a citizen without identification? The drivers license is insufficient for this purpose but is a compromise position. The real form of ID would be a Voter ID card that verified your citizenship.

Hypocritical much?

Doesn't this smack of the Dire Threat of a National ID Card the conservatives were braying about just a few years ago, when a uniform format for drivers licenses was proposed? Back then, it was nothing short of an assault on liberty. So everyone would have to have one of these, or their civil rights are threatened--and now that's a-okay?

I swear, if this were a DFL idea, the conservatives would shred the idea as government overreach.

They check citizenship

When you register they check that you are a citizen and inform you about your correct precinct. They don't need to check again when you cast a ballot because it is very unlikely your US citizen status changed from when you registered.

Rosalind, it sounds like the

Rosalind, it sounds like the Republican effort to suppress reading library books has begun, though it looks to be without its own Constitutional amendment. I'm glad to hear you were able to outwit them.

Sound prediction

I am sure the criminal conspirator masterminds who were risking felony charges under the existing system would never think to buy fake IDs. That would be a bridge too far for their elaborate, Oceans 11-style voting caper. After all, fake IDs are illegal!

Did you realize that according to Rep. Kiffmeyer, ANY state's ID would fulfill the ID requirement? Do you think the elderly volunteers who currently staff our polling places will be trained to recognize authentic IDs from all 50 states? Who is going to pay for the training? Do you think my grandmother is capable of truly discerning a real from a quality fake ID?

Or, possibly, are we just increasing the cost of our elections, and the delay at the polls, for no measureable benefit?

No one is risking incarceration for one lousy vote

People risk going to jail for lots of money, in fits of passionate rage, out of negligence. Who actually thinks someone is going to go to the trouble of looking up dead people, and then risking jail for one vote? do you really, and truly think that happens?

Library cards aren't photo ids

What Mr. Mansky was referring to was the library card itself, which is necessary to check out materials, and isn't a photo ID. If I check out materials from the library 1000 times over the next five years, I'll only need to show a photo ID once at most and most likely never. If I just want to read a book inside the library, I wouldn't even need to have a library card. Unlike the legislators supporting this waste of time and money, library staff actually want to encourage use of this civic resource rather than suppress its use.

I'd like to keep the people who believe in massive voter fraud conspiracies from voting too, but it is a democracy and we have to be tolerant of ignorance.

How many "cheaters" really do show up to vote?

Really, repeating the fact that fraudulent voting is a rare event is getting tiresome. When will that canard be retired? Voter fraud just isn't happening. The few cases of voter fraud that do show up are not cases that could be prevented by a photo ID (unless your driver's license shows that your are not under any disabilities from a felony conviction). And I know all about the "proof" that was presented to the ACLU, but you're going to have to explain how photo ID would have prevented that.

Incidentally, one study has shown that election day registration helps Republicans more than Democrats.

what changes will show

Ms. Kohl's prediction that there will be a lot fewer election-day registrants because the cheaters won't bother is off the mark in two regards -- but at the same time, telling about the kind of reasoning the proponents of this amendment are using.

First, keep in mind that a change can happen that is quite substantial and yet is statistically indistinguishable from all the variation that happens from election to election for other reasons. Comparing the most recent two presidential elections, 2004 and 2008, the numbers of voters were about 2.8 million and 2.9 million. The change of nearly 100,000 voters, or more than 3% of the total, clearly was not caused by either good or bad effects of this constitutional amendment, since the amendment hadn't yet been drafted, let alone put into effect. So, if the amendment passes, and in its wake we see some change of tens of thousands of voters, no one will know if that change is causally related to the amendment, or just a sign of waxing or waning political engagement, etc. Real changes, not just statistical mirages, are quite likely to occur, whether they be the changes she hopes for or the ones I fear. But almost surely, neither one of us will ever be able to know from the data that our hopes or fears were borne out.

Second, let's hypothetically suppose the data did show some indisputable change. Suppose 100,000 fewer election day registrants show up. Whose to say that these were 100,000 cheaters rather than 100,000 perfectly legitimate voters who were sufficiently discouraged by the new hassles that they didn't bother trying? We've heard the same conflicting arguments over other statistics too, like the number of voters who never show up to insist that their provisional ballots be counted (in states that use them). Does this mean those voters realized the game was up, that their illegitimacy would be discovered? Or does it just mean that they weren't willing to make an extra trip to the county courthouse.

The perniciousness of this is that the advocates of the amendment get to declare victory either way. If the change is statistically insignificant, they can say "see, we didn't disenfranchise anyone." But if there is a notable change, they can say "see, we prevented a lot of fraud.

Don't forget population increase

Excellent analysis of the possible changes due to a Voter ID law. Proponents can't show any fraud, can't prove that voters will or will not be disenfranchised and deny that suppression will occur. Opponents cannot prove quantifyably that their claims will be correct, especially since the proposed amendment hasn't been in effect. It is truly unknowable whether a reduced turnout would be from suppression or curtailing of illegal votes.

There isn't any allowance for population increase between '04 and '08, which could explain the additional 100,000 votes in 2008. Yet another factor when raw numbers of votes are counted. Yet another factor could be interest in the candidates.


So, "the methodology that they have chosen here will be archaic..."? You mean "archaic" as in how archaic it is to have to flash my license if I order up a cold beer at a local pub? Absurd.

Flashing an ID at a pub

So, will a U of M college student, who is constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote in his college town, be able to flash his North Dakota driver's license? He can use it in a Minneapolis Pub. He can use it to open a bank account in Minneapolis.

All those things you say you can do with an ID are great. If the voter ID law is that lenient then I am 100% for it. Thanks for dispelling my fear that this was just a way to stop young people from voting. I will go let the college students know they can use the same ID they use in a Pub.

Student flashing an ID at ballot box

I haven't had a chance to read the bill yet, but I watched several hours of Senate debate on TV on Monday. According to what I observed and what was discussed among Senate committee members and the bill author, the answer to your question appears to be yes, there is a provision for college students to allow the student to vote in his or her college town even though the ID indicates a home address of another state, that is if I interpreted their discussion correctly. If I am wrong, then what I think I heard instead is that there was at least general consensus among Senate committee members and the bill's author that an amendment around this would be appropriate.

Conspiracy Theorists Unite!

While the Republicans are in bed (literally) with the ALEC crowd of conspiracy theorists looking to find Socialist plots to undermine their dreams of winning all elections and dividing up the spoils they get from the Koch-masters, their own lack of critical thinking skills will be their downfall.

To borrow a phrase from the Rumsfeldian Dictionary of the Absurd, "There are unknown unknowns." Which means Republicans don't know what they don't know, and therefore have no capacity to know that they don't know it and therefore discover it. The perfect circle of illogic, courtesy of Republicans.

If they're so fixated on Photo ID, we know they'll never be satisfied with that, because the very documents you need to get a photo ID can all be easily forged—and they are, every day. This is the same reason why a national ID system will never work: because there's no way to guarantee that documents are not forged.

Of course, you know this means we can't be sure that any Republicans are who they say they are. We must question everything about them. Unless we can have absolute confirmation they are who they say, we must assume they are terrorists intent on destroying our democracy, and detain them indefinitely at Guantanamo, or ship them off to a foreign country for "enhanced interrogation".

Path of Least Resistance

Why on earth would I forge documents to get a photo ID when I can just get a fake ID?

If you think photo ID's prove anything, go to any college campus in this state and offer $100 for every fake ID. Just make sure you bring a boat load of cash.

Solution in search of a problem

We're beginning to repeat ourselves here, just as they are in the legislature. Voter ID is a multimillion-dollar boondoggle. It's meant to suppress voting which, as Jeff Klein pointed out, is a *right* and not a privilege. Equally important, no credible evidence has been presented – at least none of which I'm aware – that voter *fraud* is a significant issue in Minnesota elections. The votes cast that should not have been cast were by parolees who had not yet had their civil rights restored.

The figure I saw was from the last presidential election cycle, and that figure was that there were 113 'mistaken' votes in Minnesota in an election that saw 2.9 *million* votes cast. That's 0.0000389 percent. To be gentle, it's fiscally irresponsible for legislators, of whatever party, to push forward this amendment when there is, literally, no significant voter fraud in Minnesota. As Alec Timmerman suggests, people might be willing to risk jail time and a criminal record for some tangible gain, or in a fit of rage, but not to cast a lone fraudulent vote.

There's no evidence that voter fraud is an issue in Minnesota. None has been presented. This is ideology made tangible, and legislators who support this travesty should be ashamed of themselves.

Same day registration

I had to do a same day registration with someone vouching for me in 2010. I had just returned back to America after serving in the Peace Corps. I was living with family members but did not have my permanent address, so without a permanent address I could not renew my drivers license and change the address. Of course I did not have a utility bill either. (A provisional ballot -as proposed- only allows a few days to show proper ID) Once I did the same day registration and voted I promptly received a card showing that I was now registered and my old voting registration address was deleted. Within that first month back in America I rented an apartment, bought liquor, saw my doctor, got a library card, and did many things that others claim cannot be done without a drivers license or acceptable picture ID. Had this change already been the law, I would not have been able to vote. Many returning from the military will be caught in the same situation. There are many things I don't like about this Constitutional Amendment, I especially do not like that the details have not been worked out. The details could be worked out by legislators who have not even been is that same attitude that Sen Ortman used with Commissioner Schowalter.......'we do the partisan railroading, you clean up after us'

Rosalind, your library card

and a citizens constitutionally protected right to vote are not analogous, but it was almost as amusing as the conspiracy theory you shared with us a few weeks back that roving bands of college kids were going from precinct to precinct to vote as many time as possible.