Mayors Rybak, Coleman blast Photo ID as needless expense in tight times

MinnPost photo by James Nord
“We are really struggling in our communities to find the resources that we need. So instead of adding to the support for the cities, this is detracting from it,” said Mayor Chris Coleman of Saint Paul

The DFL mayors of Minnesota’s two largest cities blasted the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment Monday, calling it an unnecessary unfunded mandate for cash-strapped municipalities.

In a time of shrinking local government aid and rising property taxes to fund city services, tight local resources could be better allocated elsewhere than an overhaul of Minnesota’s voting system, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said at a news conference.

Ramsey County officials estimated the proposed amendment will cost St. Paul taxpayers nearly $900,000 over two years, while Minneapolis officials could only speculate it would be “extremely expensive” to implement the new voting systems.

“We are really struggling in our communities to find the resources that we need. So instead of adding to the support for the cities, this is detracting from it,” Coleman said.

“I could take that million dollars and add police officers. I can take that million dollars and add reading programs for our kids after school. I can take that million dollars and do a whole lot of things that I can attach a specific problem to. Voter fraud is not one of them.”

Coleman and Rybak also criticized the Republican-backed amendment as a political tactic to disenfranchise communities that traditionally vote for the DFL. They said that the type of voter fraud that Photo ID seeks to combat is nonexistent in Minnesota.

“The proposition that Minnesota leads the country in voter fraud is laughable,” Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky said or recent arguments favoring the amendment. “If anything, we lead the country in successful prosecutions.”

Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky speaking at the news conference.
MinnPost photo by James Nord
Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky speaking at the news conference.

They also said the amendment’s title and explanations from Republicans don’t adequately address the true costs and hassle associated with the amendment.

“This is about a myriad of deep, confusing questions that will not be answered by the time that somebody is expected to vote on Election Day.”

The state Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on litigation that could result in the entire language of the constitutional amendment appearing on the ballot, which could raise printing costs.

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Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/20/2012 - 01:54 pm.

    If I was a politician

    who obviously benefited from thousands of votes cast by illegals, I think I would keep a lower profile and not reminded people how they got into office.

    • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 08/20/2012 - 05:29 pm.

      Dennis, where’s your proof?

      Usual right wing stuff. If they lose, the other side must have cheated.

      • Submitted by sue terry on 08/21/2012 - 02:41 am.

        but you liberals are so honest and tolerant right?

        I used to be liberal and then I grew up. Now I am a woman and I see the hypocrisy. probably spelled that wrong but you should get my point.

      • Submitted by John Schmitz on 08/23/2012 - 02:59 pm.

        It is extremely difficult, if not impossible to prove voter fraud with anything less than a confession or someone openly selling their vote. If the time, effort, and a lot of money actually went into checking each and every single voter to make sure there are no duplicates, illegals, or unallowed votes cast I believe it would show two things. Voter fraud as high as 10% of the votes cast and about 95% of those votes being cast for democrats.

  2. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 08/20/2012 - 05:58 pm.

    “Thousands of votes cast by illegals”?

    Got any proof for that statement? What is the name of the person who told you that “thousands of illegal immigrants” voted? Is that person an election official or someone else who would have reason to know? Did that person turn in any of the alleged “illegal voters”? What are the names of some of these illegal immigrants who supposedly voted? Where did they vote? If you know about these illegal immigrants, why didn’t you call La Migra on them?

  3. Submitted by Robert Williams on 08/20/2012 - 10:35 pm.

    Yeah, right…

    Maybe these two “sanctuary cities” “mayors” should just be thankful that there are enough fools living in Minnesota to put them in office…

  4. Submitted by Janet Berry on 08/20/2012 - 11:05 pm.

    It is time

    Thank goodness our mayors finally spoke up against this ridiculous waste of time and money. Voter fraud is not a major issue in MN, and I for one am tired of the hypocrisy in this and the equally ridiculous marriage amendment. Start spending taxpayers’ money on something that will make a difference.

    • Submitted by sue terry on 08/21/2012 - 02:49 am.

      what will make a difference

      Janet Berry
      what would you rather have taxpayer money spent on? What will make a difference on what and to whom? Why is honesty not a value to anyone anymore? I know people vote fraudulently….so having to show an ID like I have to at the grocery store, gas station, liquor store or to buy pretty much anything with a cash card will make it tough for who exactly to vote? And why will this cost the state money? And if it stops one person on an expired visa from another country who is here illegally to not be able to vote ILLEGALLY I am all for it. I would rather pay for this than pay for schools when I don’t have any kids …..

      • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 08/23/2012 - 01:42 pm.

        The question is not what to spend on but…

        What to cut. Do you cut rec center hours, library hours, street maintenance, etc?

  5. Submitted by sue terry on 08/21/2012 - 02:37 am.

    Voter ID

    first I don’t see how this is going to cost the state so much money.
    and second I know of one person in the 2008 election who was here on an expired visa from germany who voted in the election.

    I believe that is voter fraud, so don’t tell me it does not happen and btw he voted democrat

  6. Submitted by Geoff Thomas on 08/21/2012 - 12:39 pm.

    Voter ID

    The cost would be reflected in election judge training, new infrastructure to scan the IDs- to prevent fake driving licenses etc as well as potential provisional ballot costs. The range is somewhere in the $25M range.A drop in the ocean to the state budget, but somewhat worrying with a potential billion dollar deficit looming where we are going to need all the dollars we have to prevent further erosion to the vital programs in the health care and education world.

    Also not everyone does have an ID. People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable in this aspect as they often do not have a driving license as they cannot drive. Throw in the unfortunate link between poverty and disability, the background costs of materials need to secure an ID, as well as transportation to the county seat to obtain it, and the threat of further disenfranchisement is high.

    As a sidebar someone’s expired visas are pretty much irrelevant in terms of voting- being a ‘legal’ green card or visa holder does not give the right to vote, that is just open to all US citizens. This would be verified on registration by driving license or SSN number.

  7. Submitted by John Schmitz on 08/23/2012 - 02:46 pm.

    Voter Fraud

    After witnessing ~136 cases of voter fraud in the Governor election, I have no doubt it is rampent in Minnesota. Allowing people to register at the polls or haveing their identity vouched for by another individual makes it extremely easy. What I witnessed was approximately 12 people who were openly talking about the next precinct they were going to go vote in and who was vouching for everyone. They actually asked me if I wanted to join them. I told them what they were doing was illegal, they all said it doesn’t matter, no one will ever prosecute them. I tried reporting this to the polling authorites and they told me they cannot do anything without an admission by those individuals to the police. I bet you can guess who they all voted for.

  8. Submitted by Nicholas Amb on 08/23/2012 - 09:14 pm.

    Rural Voting

    Has anyone considered the 535 or so rural precincts who vote by mail? What are those people supposed to do, drive 35 plus miles to the county courthouse to vote? Or do we expect the townships with 60 people to buy tens of thousands of dollars worth of automark equipment and vote counters and hire three judges to check ID’s for the 24 people who come to vote?

    This amendment infuriates me. It is a thinly veiled attempt to voter suppression. It is not good for senior citizens, students, people who move frequently, and most of all rural Minnesotans. I was glad to see the mayors standing up and speaking out.

    • Submitted by John Schmitz on 08/24/2012 - 02:54 pm.

      Having to drive 35 miles to vote is not much of an infringement, considering I had to wait in line for an hour to vote. I would of wrather drove 35 miles to a place where there was no line. And likely no people casting votes illegally for Dayton right in from of my face.

  9. Submitted by Nicholas Amb on 08/25/2012 - 10:20 pm.

    Costs and access

    First of all, it may not be a big deal to you. For a farm couple in their 80s, it might be a very big deal.

    Rural Minnesota can be very sparsely populated. Many of these precincts do not have automark equipment or ADA accessible voting places.

    I think this is another wedge issue to divide people and give them another conservative “cause.”

    It’s also odd that one side thinks that it has such a lock on “being right” that if they lose, it must be because the other side cheated…

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