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Secretary of State Mark Ritchie offers Voter ID alternative: electronic poll books

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has proposed an alternative to the Voter ID plan now being considered by Republicans in the Legislature.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has proposed an alternative to the Voter ID plan now being considered by Republicans in the Legislature.

At a state Senate hearing Friday, he said electronic poll books can eliminate the potential voter fraud problems that supporters of Voter ID want to solve  by having voters show a government ID before being allowed to vote. Rather than the voters bringing in an ID, the poll workers would look at official photos already in the state system.

The electronic poll books would allow poll workers to verify voter identity by looking — on paper printouts or with an electronic device  — at driver’s license photos and photos taken during voter registration.

In the GOP’s proposed Voter ID system, the voters would be responsible for obtaining and displaying their own government ID, which could be forged.

Both DFL and Republican legislators have expressed interest in the electronic system.

Ritchie said the electronic poll book system would cost $10 million, compared with an estimated $40 million for the Voter ID system proposed by Republicans last year.

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