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Analysis: Voter ID bill would cost state many millions

Voter ID bills introduced early in the legislative session have languished for many reasons, but they might be mostly burdened by their potential costs.
We wrote about some feared costs before, particularly as they apply to proposed electronic poll

Voter ID bills introduced early in the legislative session have languished for many reasons, but they might be mostly burdened by their potential costs.

We wrote about some feared costs before, particularly as they apply to proposed electronic pollbooks.

Now, Minnesota Common Cause and Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota have compiled a detailed review (PDF) of the costs of House File 210 — which requires Voter ID and institutes the electronic voter check-in system statewide — and House File 89, which simply requires photo ID for voters.

Bottom line: $84 million over three years for H.F. 210, and $25 million for H.F. 89. Much of the analysis is based on real costs in other states that have instituted Voter ID. The two voter rights and election watchdog groups say the fiscal notes developed by legislative researchers underestimate the real potential costs. The voter groups also took county level costs into account.

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The costs, according to the Common Cause and CEIMN, include: voter education and outreach ($19 million); the subsidization of voters who don’t have official IDs and need them ($4 million); equipment in every precinct in the state for the electronic roster/pollbooks ($59 million).

“Both pieces of legislation would impose substantial costs on the state and local governments at a time when they can least afford it,” the Common Cause and CEIMN report concludes.

For now, no hearings are set on the bills in either the House or Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton has long been expected to veto any Voter ID bill if it were to pass the Legislature.