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Will GOP’s Voter ID plan delay election results for 10 days?

Senator Scott Newman speaks with Senator Claire Robling at the Voter ID hearing.

MinnPost photo by James Nord

Sen. Scott Newman speaks with Sen. Claire Robling at the Voter ID hearing.

Are Minnesotans willing to wait up to 10 days after the election to find out who won in races ranging from governor to local officials?

That prospect was raised at Wednesday’s Senate Local Government and Elections Committee meeting during discussion of the proposed Voter ID constitutional amendment.

 The measure passed 8 to 6 on a party-line vote after an hour and a half of discussion. That action drew a round of boos from the hearing room filled with protesters.

At the session, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office expressed concern that implementing provisional balloting could stretch the amount of time needed to count election results and that it could force earlier primary dates.

“Nobody’s going to know who won any of the elections until at least 10 days or more afterwards,” Secretary of State staff member Beth Fraser told the committee. “I know that people are on pins and needles on election night. That feeling is going to last for quite a while if we don’t know for more than 10 days who won anything in Minnesota from governor down to school board.”

Provisional ballots would allow Minnesotans who don’t have the proper ID at the polls to vote conditionally and then — up to 10 days later — show they’re eligible to vote under the proposed amendment’s standards.

Sen. Scott Newman, the chief Senate sponsor, said that using provisional balloting would preserve same-day voter registration and address concerns that opponents have raised about the risk Voter ID poses to certain groups of voters.

Sen. Warren Limmer, who introduced Voter ID legislation last session, said it’s a way to enfranchise more voters, such as newcomers to Minnesota who wouldn’t have a driver’s license. But others say that the current vouching system, which Newman said would be “moot” under his amendment, works well enough.

The addition of provisional voting is one of the changes recently made by Sen. Scott Newman, the bill’s chief Senate sponsor.

At Wednesday’s session, though, critics called for more public vetting of the recent changes.  Several of them add specifics to language about provisional and absentee balloting.

Newman said his changes attempted to answer questions that the public and lawmakers raised at an earlier meeting. He said, though, that most of the specifics of implementing   the amendment would have to be enacted by the next Legislature — a point of contention at the previous meeting.

“I am more than willing to continue talking and to try to improve the product,” Newman said. “We learn every day, and I honestly tried to learn from and listen to the testimony from the prior hearing and the senators who were asking questions, and that’s what produced today’s amendment.”

Opponents of the amendment say that requiring a photo ID would disenfranchise many at-risk voters, such as students, the disabled and the elderly. The Republican backers of the bill counter that they’re concerned with maintaining Minnesota’s election integrity.

“I am opposed to having a system where your vote is made and counted and you have no way of identifying whether the person who voted was eligible to vote,” Newman said.

Newman’s victory in committee was the first for the bill this year. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed Voter ID legislation last year, prompting the Republicans’ decision to bypass him by proposing a constitutional amendment.

The bill, which will likely change some more, moved on to the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.

If passed in November, the amendment would take effect in 2014 to allow local governments time to adapt to the changes, including the need for additional training, public education and election judges.

A room full of opponents appeared eager to testify, but committee Chairman Ray Vandeveer didn’t allow citizen speakers. He had to quiet the room after some applauded a DFL senator’s comments.

In recent weeks, there have been a number of protests and press conferences at the Capitol opposing the measure. But Republicans insist — and use poll numbers to back their claims — that the public supports Voter ID.

“I think you’d have to be living under a rock to think that the Minnesota people don’t want Voter ID,” GOP Sen. Warren Limmer said. “It’s probably the No. 1 issue that has been asked of me.”

Democrats are concerned the proposed amendment would cost taxpayers — and at-risk voters — a significant amount of money to create an ID system for a problem they say doesn’t exist. Newman said that because his proposal is a constitutional amendment, it doesn’t require a detailed cost estimate.

“Will it cost additional sums?” he asked. “Yeah, it might.”

During the session, DFL Sen. Mary Jo McGuire offered an amendment to the bill that would have repealed last session’s placement of the marriage constitutional amendment on the November ballot. That proposal, too, failed on an 8-6 party-line vote.

“I offered them the chance to see the error in their ways, to correct their mistake of putting it on the ballot,” McGuire said at a press conference after the meeting. “I mean, I think they might have regretted … this when they realized what they had actually done.”

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Comments (15)


I shall quote from a Grand Dame from the GOP itself : JUST SAY NO !!!


10 days? I'd call that a marked improvement over the 6 months it been taking lately.

I wonder if I'm the only one that sees the irony (some might say hypocrisy) of leftists screaming about "disenfranchising voters", while working like busy little bees to empty our ballots before they ever get into our hands.

Isn't that back-door disenfranchisement? Why yes, yes it is.


What the heck are you talking about?

Emptying the ballot

"DFL Sen. Mary Jo McGuire offered an amendment to the bill that would have repealed last session’s placement of the marriage constitutional amendment on the November ballot."

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout, Pat.

The amendment to the bill

The amendment to the bill wasn't to exclude any particular people from the processes of representative government, it was to vote to remove a constitutional amendment question. Franchise isn't the right to vote on every issue--that's called direct democracy. If that's what you're looking for, you should head down to Occupy Wall Street.

Recent Recount Good Example that Voter Fraud Non-Problem

I'm rather surprised that Mr. Swift would bring up the two recent recounts that delayed certification of elections. He is well aware that the reason for these delays was the action of the GOP in demanding unnecessary recounts. The irony is that not only did the GOP lose the Emmer recount but they also put themselves deep in the hole for the fiscal irresponsibility of this action.

And an amusing side benefit of the careful scrutiny of the ballots was that it demonstrated that the voter fraud issue is phony. There was virtually no change in the final results due to voter fraud.

Team Emmer, whose chief litigator was former Supreme Court Justice Magnuson, had to withdraw approximately 2,600 frivolous voter challenges.

There is also an opportunity for Mr. Swift to make some money:

"During a news conference today, ACLU Executive Director Chuck Samuelson offered to pay $1,000 to anyone who could show a recent case of voter impersonation that the ID requirement would have stopped."

Step up to the plate, Mr. Swift?


The democrats and their friends in the press are really getting desperate, which should be instructive to the rest of us.

It’s very, very odd for

It’s very, very odd for someone who professes to revere democracy as Mr. Swift does to seem so adamant about limiting who gets to take part in it, especially when there’s no evidence that significant “fraudulent voting” is actually happening in Minnesota elections.

My hunch – it’s only that, I’m not willing to spend my retirement trying to prove it – is that “the public” being portrayed by Senator Limmer as being so supportive of this amendment speaks in support – if, in fact, that’s truly “the public’s” attitude – largely out of ignorance, and an admittedly determined effort on the part of Republicans to portray a non-issue as something that threatens the very fiber of the republic. Republicans are very good at that sort of thing when it suits them, as they’ve demonstrated in other areas of public policy.

If “the public” was feeling as threatened as Senator Limmer would have us believe, there’d have been outrage over Governor Dayton’s veto last year. There was outrage, all right, but it came pretty much exclusively from Republicans in the legislature, who – this will come as a revelation to many of them – do not represent *all* the public.

We’ll be spending taxpayer dollars to delay election results, reduce the participation of qualified voters, and take one more step toward a “Big Brother” government, all in the name of “solving” a problem that doesn’t exist.

What is it with some politicians’ distrust of poor people?

Requiring voters to show a current photo ID in order to be able to exercise their right to vote? Drug testing any low-income person who needs government assistance? What is it with some politicians’ distrust of poor people?

Proponents of introducing more policing over low-income populations would like you to believe our election and welfare systems are fraught with abuse. But they are not. When asked to provide evidence that we need drug testing for welfare benefits or ID checking of voters, the proponents can only bring up anecdotes, isolated cases, and “what ifs?”

Is spending millions of dollars to police a population based on anecdotes, isolated cases, and “what ifs?” really worth that much?

Hmmm...$1000 challenge...

I hear crickets chirping...............

Typical Republicans

Typical Republicans proposing more expensive Big Government bureaucracy to limit our freedoms. Voter ID is just the latest example.

Then there's this..

The latest voter-fraud convictions in Troy, N.Y., must be very inconvenient to the public-affairs propagandists over at the DNC, LWVMN and the NAACP, as well as liberal media outlets like the New York Times and this publication, as it seems to ruin their constant refrain that there is no voter fraud in the United States.

There are, right now, two Troy, NY city officials, the city clerk and a councilman, along with two Democratic political operatives, who have pled guilty to forging absentee-ballot signatures and casting fraudulent ballots in the 2009 Working Families Party primary (the WFP is the political party associated with.... surprise, surprise.....ACORN).

As for the constant liberal claims that voter fraud does not occur, one of the Democratic operatives who pled guilty, Anthony DeFiglio, told New York State police investigators “that faking absentee ballots was a commonplace and accepted practice in political circles, all intended to swing an election.” And whose votes do they steal? DeFiglio was very plain about that: “The people who are targeted live in low-income housing, and there is a sense that they are a lot less likely to ask any questions.”

In the Troy case, the ease with which voter signatures were forged without detection shows that signature comparison by election officials does not work and poses no deterrent to this type of voter fraud.

Many current and former politicians have come forth in recent years decrying that the “most aggressive” voter suppression “is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in all area's of very poor black communities. Yet still, organizations like the NAACP and others do everything they can to oppose all reasonable measures to safeguard the voting process for its own constituents, even going to the extent of defending vote stealers in their own communities; even after they've been convicted of the crime they contend "doesn't exist."

The issue at hand here is about ensuring that American citizens can exercise the most fundamental civil right of being an American -- casting a vote with the assurance that it will count and not be canceled by an illegitimate vote. What part of this makes it difficult for you on the other side of the ideological fence to comprehend?

Thanks Mikhail

The issue of absentee voting is one that impacts directlly on Minnesota. The past decade has marked a concerted effort by Democratic party operatives to encourage liberal use (pardon the pun) of absentee ballots.

I'm sure that people will remember absentee ballots played a major role in the election of Al Franken.

In the legitimate election of Franken,

Mr. Swift. If you've got evidence to the contrary please provide it.

Otherwise, prepare for Senator Franken's re-election.

Will GOP’s Voter ID plan delay election results for 10 days?

A most excellent letter to the editor in the S&T today:
With this voter Id bill, are the Republicans really saying they were unfairly elected to the legislature and the Senate in the last election? i.e it was rife with fraud! Now, wouldn't any honest and law abiding senator or representative want to then step down full well knowing that they have been dis-honestly elected?

OK: Sen. Newman, talks cheap, lets see your actions speak as loud as your words! Step down,
or is your misplaced fascist idealism just for others?