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Could Photo ID be scuttled even if Minnesota voters approve constitutional amendment?

The Voter ID amendment championed by Sen. Scott Newman and Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer relies on enabling laws to be passed by a future Legislature.

The fate of Minnesota’s Voter ID constitutional amendment hinges on the November elections in more ways than one — and it could be procedurally defeated even if approved at the polls, according to some experts.

Democrats may get a final chance to soften the blow they say the measure would cause voters if it truly became part of the Minnesota Constitution.

Republicans will have to watch the gamble they took in deciding to bypass the governor and to leave the specifics of a Photo ID system to the next Legislature.

The amendment, which polls show highly favored by the public, would require voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Despite highly publicized campaigns against Voter ID, many opponents seem resigned to the likelihood that it will pass.

But even if it does, it would be up to the next Legislature to fill in the statutory blanks of how the system would work, since the wording of the bite-size amendment speaks only in generalities.

That means a Democratic return to majority status in both the House and Senate in November — which some see as a possibility — could throw a wrench in the Republican works.

It’s unlikely that if they regained control, DFL legislators would pass anything like the bill Voter ID advocates are imagining.

MinnPost talked to a number of DFLers and Republicans active on the Voter ID issue to see how they think things will shake out.

DFLers demur on plans to weaken measure

The Democrats were understandably reluctant to talk specifics, and many insisted that they wouldn’t try to “weaken” the language if the amendment passes but, rather, would work to ensure that eligible voters have every opportunity to cast a ballot.

“If we are returned to the majority and this amendment passes, I think that you will see a legislative effort to enable the law that makes sure that everybody who is a legal voter has the right to vote,” House Assistant Minority Leader Erin Murphy said. “I think that will be a high priority for us.”

But the Republicans thought ahead.

Sen. Warren Limmer, who sponsored the Voter ID legislation that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed in 2010, said Republican lawmakers had discussions this session about how to bind the next Legislature to their vision.

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, the amendment’s chief House author, said the measure is “written well” to avoid much leeway moving forward.

“We tried to be as careful as we could in giving direction to the future Legislature, provided that it may not be us Republicans in the majority,” Limmer said.

Election expert Schultz sees ways to block law

David Schultzhamline.eduDavid Schultz

In a politically cynical world, though, it’s clear that Democrats would have the opportunity to block the Voter ID amendment from ever being enacted as long as they control one branch of government, according to elections expert and Hamline University law professor David Schultz.

And Dayton, of course, could veto any legislation passed no matter who controls the Legislature.

“In general, the Democrats potentially could just do nothing,” Schultz said. “Dayton himself, even if the Democrats don’t take back the Legislature, could just veto any enabling legislation, and it may turn out that that constitutional amendment is effectively dead.”

Schultz, an occasional MinnPost contributing writer, predicted that the Democrats would take back the Minnesota House because of redistricting shifts and the small number of votes that allowed narrow 2010 Republican wins that gave them control.

With a one-chamber majority, he said, the Democrats could theoretically block the enabling legislation from making it through the legislative process.

Because the amendment is not “self-executing,” it would essentially be on hold as long as that legislation hung in limbo, he said.

But Kiffmeyer and some Democrats, though, disagree with Schultz’s assessment and offer their own explanations of what they think could happen.

Rep. Ryan WinklerMinnPost photo by James NordDFL State Representative Ryan Winkler says that the will of the voters must be respected.

DFL Rep. Ryan Winkler, an attorney, said if lawmakers didn’t pass enabling legislation, legal challenges would force the courts to start weighing in to do the Legislature’s work.

“It’s kind of true in sort of a cute way [about stalling the legislation], but it’s not practically true,” he said.

Kiffmeyer argues law is ‘self-executing’

Kiffmeyer, a former secretary of state, called the amendment “very self-executing,” meaning that much of it would operate even without enacting language. So voters would still be required to present “valid government-issued photographic identification” at the polls.

But there’s no clarity on how that system would work or what the future holds.

Regardless, DFLers said they’d respect the voters’ mandate if the amendment passes.

“You cannot have the voters go to the polls and approve something at the ballot and then ignore it. That is not acceptable,” Winkler said.

“The question is: How can you best interpret the language of the constitutional amendment so that you can enact legislation that preserves the public’s intent while at the same time making sure that people are not denied access to the ballot?”

What could final Photo ID look like?

Back to the original premise: If Democrats control the Legislature — and we take them at their word that they won’t hold Voter ID prisoner — what would it look like?

First, Schultz said, they can negotiate tough to “really take the teeth out of Photo ID.”

Murphy, who is helping with House candidate selection, stayed on message while discussing the possibility of a DFL takeover. She refused to say Democrats would “weaken” the language and said they would act only to ensure that “unintended consequences,” such as voter disenfranchisement, wouldn’t occur.

A frequent fear among Democrats and the Dayton administration is that Voter ID will disenfranchise such at-risk voters as students, the elderly, the disabled and the poor.

There are also concerns that the amendment could end Election Day registration and create a financial barrier for lower-income voters to get the proper documentation to apply for a free ID card.

“I would think that my colleagues and I will be interested in providing as much leeway as possible for being able to use various forms of identification,” said DFL Sen. Katie Sieben, who was a vocal opponent of the amendment on the Senate floor.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult to come up with some sort of legislation that doesn’t disenfranchise eligible voters,” she added.

Winkler offered a specific legal procedure that he thought Democrats could use to provide that leeway: signing an affidavit, instead of providing an ID during provisional balloting.

If the Voter ID requirement passes, federal law requires that Minnesota implement a provisional system that gives voters the chance to cast a ballot but requires them to come back later with the proper identification. In some states, voters can certify a provisional ballot with a signature, and Winkler said in his interpretation, the amendment would allow for something similar.

Kiffmeyer disagrees, stressing that the amendment’s strict language protects her legislative intent.

 Legal challenges likely even before vote

That disagreement is apparent in the legal challenges that are popping up.

Minnesota Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union said in April that they’d be filing a lawsuit to take the question off the ballot. Winkler said there also would likely be lawsuits from both sides clarifying the amendment’s language.

“I don’t see any way to avoid that,” he said. “That’s one of the problems with this amendment — that it just opens up a can of worms by putting these vague words in the constitution about an election system when there are two sides locked and loaded and ready to fire at anything that looks like it would violate the constitutional language.”

Comments (39)

  1. Submitted by Lauren Maker on 05/22/2012 - 10:08 am.

    Intent is to disenfranchise voters

    Rep. Murphy needs to take a deep breath–because voter disenfranchisement is exactly the intent of this proposed constitutional amendment. And no one should pretend otherwise.

    NO ONE is talking about what this does to absentee balloting–how are you going to show your valid id when you are voting absentee by mail, as many overseas military members are doing?
    Or seniors who are nursing home residents and are homebound?

    NO ONE is talking about the fact that military ids will not be accepted as valid ids for voting.

    NO ONE is talking about the extra cost to local communities to enact the provisional voting measures that are part of this.

    And NO ONE is talking about the cost of these supposedly FREE ids–what happens if the Legislature fails to allocate the funds to pay for these free ids? Do people just not get to vote?

    “You cannot have the voters go to the polls and approve something at the ballot and then ignore it. That is not acceptable,” Winkler said. You’re right Rep. Winkler–that’s the point of those of us in Minneapolis who voted overwhelmingly to require a referendum on spending more than $10 million of tax money on any stadium project. Too bad you and the governor and the other yes votes ignored us with your stadium vote. Now we won’t get a vote, and Minneapolis didn’t have a seat at the table when the final deal was cut. Some partnership. Seems to me if you can circumvent the voters for the Vikings you could do it for the right to vote, which many of us think is more important.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/22/2012 - 01:27 pm.

      Rep. Winkler was AGAINST the voters before he was FOR them..

      ..and he’ll without a doubt flip-flop again, depending on what he thinks makes him look good at any one point in time. His statement quoted here is a big ole load of b*llsh*t which he doesn’t believe, even for one minute. Nor do I believe him for one minute. I would rather that a legislator like this just keep his mouth shut and pollute less.

      I used to support the DFL. No More !! This is a corrupt political party. That’s not to praise the Republicans.

      • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/22/2012 - 03:54 pm.

        What are you talking about?

        Winkler is just saying that if the amendment passes, the legislature can’t simply refuse to pass the necessary legislation. How is that a flip-flop? He’s stating the obvious. The DFL can pass something to minimize disenfranchisement, but they can’t pass nothing. Hopefully, they’ll pass something that leaves Republicans howling but obeys the amendment. Though the electronic poll books Mark Ritchie proposed got nowhere with the Republicans, they look like they might fulfill the amendment, though I expect Republicans would mount a court challenge.

        • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 05/22/2012 - 04:53 pm.

          to clarify

          He is saying that Winkler voted for the stadium and to override the referendum in Minneapolis thus going against the clear will of the citizens of Minneapolis and in a very real sense disenfranchising them and now he talks out the other side of his mouth when it comes to this amendment. Obvious.

          • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 05/22/2012 - 07:22 pm.

            will of the citizens

            Are you saying that Winkler contradicts himself by voting for the stadium and overriding the referendum, but is against “the clear will of the citizens” in this amendment? Only if you put the rights of every citizen to vote on the same level as a vote on the stadium. One is a civil right; the other is just an albatross around the taxpayers’ necks..

        • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/22/2012 - 05:09 pm.

          “How is that a flip-flop?” – you’ve gotta be kidding

          “You cannot have the voters go to the polls and approve something at the ballot and then ignore it. That is not acceptable,” Winkler said.

          This is EXACTLY what Winkler did when he voted for the stadium bill, which was designed to do what he specifically claims is “…not acceptable.”. (Bend over, Minneapolis voters – you and your silly charter are such a bother !!)

          Winkler’s high-minded pronouncements are written on toilet paper – USED toilet paper.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/22/2012 - 10:24 am.


    Mark Dayton wasn’t the governor in 2010.

  3. Submitted by Mark Ritchie on 05/22/2012 - 10:29 am.

    Only one major detail is unknown

    Only the length of time of the provisional voting period was left undefined – the rest is well-defined. And since it is a proposed Constitutional amendment it cannot be altered in any way by future legislators.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/22/2012 - 10:52 am.

    This just goes to show

    how desperately the democrats need those bogus votes to win. It was discovered recently in Florida that the names of over 53,000 dead people are still on the eligible voter rolls and presumably could have someone using their name to vote if they don’t have to prove who they are.

    They also found over 180,000 registered voters who aren’t citizens.

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/22/2012 - 03:58 pm.

      No, they didn’t

      From your link, “182,000 non-U.S. citizens may be registered to vote”. MAY. Every time Republicans don’t immediately understand how voter rolls work, they make these same claims, and they’re wrong every time. There are 182,000 names to investigate, and based on all these other breathtaking stories of enormous numbers of fraudulent registrations somewhere, I feel safe predicting they find maybe hundreds. Maybe.

  5. Submitted by Gail O'Hare on 05/22/2012 - 11:20 am.

    If we’re willing to send teams to every senior residence (not just nursing homes) to take a picture and register voters, then perhaps the question of shut-ins could be addressed. Of course, we would have to provide for disabled citizens, too, perhaps by sending a clear mailing that invites them to make an appointment to have a registrar come to their home. Then there could be instant picture-taking at the polls so everyone who showed up with what has been acceptable verification could get a new card and picture on the spot. As for militray around the globe, I guess the services already have photo ID and could verify in some fashion.

    Given instant digital photography, I think the kinks could be worked out. I’m not sure about students who move often (I moved every year throughout undergrad and grad school, sometimes more than once).

    But it could be done. The question is WHY??? and at what expense?

  6. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 05/22/2012 - 11:41 am.

    as I recall, Mr Tester….

    There was only one bogus vote discoverd in the last Minnesota election. The rest is all rumor and innuendo, specialties of the Republicans.

    And how many of those dead people voted in Florida? So I’m on the roles at my local voting place because I’ve lived in the same location for many years. Why would there be a problem with me voting without ID unless someone else tried to vote under my name, which is pretty hard for me to fathom happening. And if I move and vote somewhere else who is to know that my name should be removed?

    Seems like a more honest solution, one that isn’t just designed to eliminate votes by DFL-likely voters, would be to require ID when voting in a new district and then once you are on the roles you don’t have to show ID anymore. And ID could be anything like a rent stub to show you are paying rent somewhere or something else simple. I was born in Virginia over 60 years ago. I have no idea what hospital. If I didn’t have a driver’s license I don’t know how I could prove who I am without a major effort.

  7. Submitted by Steve Roth on 05/22/2012 - 12:41 pm.

    If it makes it harder to vote…

    …its un-American.

  8. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 05/22/2012 - 12:42 pm.

    Bogus votes

    Your stats are wrong. They are from a “purge list” , according to the Miami Herald, and are heavy with Hispanics, Democrats and independents, who will have to prove their citizenship fast since they have only 30 days to prove their citizenship or lose their vote. (Suspicious timing?)
    Those 180,000.come from an outdated state motorist database, and many could easily have been naturalized since then.
    Detzner, secy of state, is a republican appointed by governor rick scott. Already some of the 2,700 noncitizens on the purge list are proving to be citizens. The republican Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Harry Sawyer, a straight shooter on election matters, says some of the records Detzner is using are too old to be reliable.
    So what’s the purpose? The nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice found that other states doing the same thing had drawn indefensible conclusions about noncitizen voting and had refused to release evidence that backed up their claims. The allegations of voter fraud, the center suggests, were smoke and mirrors and couldn’t be trusted.
    And why would we take Florida as a role model? The 2000 election was decided by fewer than 527 votes and the supreme court’s decision that was so bad even the SC members disavowed it and said the reasoning should never be used again.
    Explain again how much voter fraud is found in MN. And why this cumbersome, expensive, and unnecessary system–that does not allow for overseas military votes, etc–is so important. ‘

    • Submitted by Steve Roth on 05/24/2012 - 02:54 pm.

      What’s happening in Florida…

      …I believe is called voter caging. Disgraceful. Any attempt that limits the number of people who can vote, makes it harder for people to vote is anti-American. This from the folks who love to readily wrap themselves with the flag. Disgraceful.

  9. Submitted by Brian Nelson on 05/22/2012 - 12:42 pm.

    Dennis, you have it wrong…

    I would like people to be able to vote without having to go through the expense of getting an ID to vote. Again, what you want is essentially a poll tax. So really, where does the desperation lie? But, ironically, you Dennis, a supposed conservative, a “defender” of the constitution, and you want to do is violate the constitution (see the 24th amendment). Based on your posts regarding women and voting, you are just not that serious about voting rights. This is simply a wedge issue, much like the marriage amendment.

    If there are people on the roster that should be eliminated then they should simply be eliminated. According to the article you cited no one is absolutely certain if even one of those 180,000 suposed illegals is in fact illegal.

  10. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 05/22/2012 - 12:43 pm.

    Let’s just face it.

    Anyone against verifying voters with a legitimate photo ID doesn’t want clean elections.


    • Submitted by David Greene on 05/22/2012 - 03:32 pm.


      Oh come on. Could you be any more ridiculous?

      Anyone in favor of this amendment clearly wants to prevent blacks and the elderly from voting.

      • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 05/22/2012 - 07:26 pm.

        eliminating voters

        Also the poor, Hispanics, independents, the military serving overseas as well as other overseas Americans, college students who don’t live at home, and other dangerous groups.

  11. Submitted by David Greene on 05/22/2012 - 12:45 pm.

    NOT Voter ID

    This is NOT a voter ID amendment. It’s a PHOTO ID amendment. We have been identifying voters for a long time via utility bills, vouching, etc. Opponents don’t have an issue with identifying voters. We have an issue with the increased burdens of identification being put on the voters that will lead to disenfranchisement. Secretary Ritchie’s electronic poll books would have been a good compromise. The increased burden would have been put on the state. But the Republican rejection of the idea betrays their true motives.

  12. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 05/22/2012 - 07:24 pm.

    emulating Florida?

    And why would one trust Florida’s voting system, after 2000? Al Gore won, and should have been the president if it had not been that the Supreme Court said the state (under governor jeb bush) could quit counting, although many votes were uncounted, resulting in the appointment of W. The vote count at the time gave 527 more votes to bush than to Gore. Even the SC warned that their reasoning in this case should not be used in other situations. At least one Justice was remorseful. Of course, there were those who were not.

  13. Submitted by r batnes on 05/22/2012 - 03:28 pm.

    Let’s just face it

    Anyone pushing this ridiculous photo ID requirement doesn’t want clean elections…they just want to stack the deck by ensuring a lower turnout which is in the republicans best interest.

    • Submitted by Joe Rico on 05/26/2012 - 07:44 am.

      As long as everyone is throwing in their random opinions…

      My mother in law has been an election judge up near Isanti for quite a few years. She has personally described to me several different instances of voter ID fraud. She said she had it reported to the county auditor and they have said that they do not have a process for pursuing charges against voter ID fraud.

  14. Submitted by Catherine Menick on 05/22/2012 - 05:57 pm.

    When is Fraud not Fraud?

    When it is unsubstantiated. Although this issue should really be nonpartisan, as it effects all citizens regardless of political affiliation, the legislation has come from the Republican party. Said party members in Minnesota have formed numerous groups and cited numerous “statistics” from “reputable” sources. But upon even the smallest amount of scrutiny, none of them hold up. The argument for voter photo ID, as it stands, is all empty rhetoric designed to play on the emotions of voters. Don’t allow yourself to be played anymore. You have the ability to think rationally, and together we have the ability to design a voter photo ID system that does not so blatantly choose its voters. While I do not see any sort of need in Minnesota to pass such a vaguely defined, poorly vetted amendment, I understand the general concerns for election integrity. This legislation is not about us vs. them, but it was designed to spark us vs. them dialogue. Don’t fall into this trap. I don’t want any of us to be herded into debate sides and trough-fed rhetoric. We may not agree completely, but before we amend the state’s highest code on a public policy campaign, think logically and by your own mental power. Think carefully about what is truly good for this state, and when is fraud substantiated. I think everyone will find they feel a little better about government once we take the reins back.

  15. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/22/2012 - 06:19 pm.

    It’s amusing and instructive

    that everyone assumes that those too stupid to find a way to get a photo ID sometime during the next two years is obviously a democrat.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/23/2012 - 08:06 am.

      This isn’t a one time thing

      You keep raising this “in the next two years” thing as if once this passes – IF it passes – that all the voters only have to worry about getting their ID for the next election after that and that’s the end of it.

      Well, that’s NOT the end of it. Guess what Dennis – there will be LOTS of elections after the one two years from now. And people will keep moving from place to place within the state or into the state – sometimes within weeks or even days of an election – and not always with a lot of advance notice that they’re about to find themselves living somewhere new (think abused spouse escaping from abuser as just one example of many). This new requirement will apply to ALL these elections, not just the one two years from now.

      And if your idea is to equate people who find themselves in difficult life circumstances with “stupidity” – well, that just tells me one more thing about your level of compassion. Not that I’m surprised.

  16. Submitted by James Murck on 05/23/2012 - 07:22 am.

    You are what you see…

    The reason Republicans see voter fraud as a problem to be delt with is because they have become virtual masters at it themselves over the years using every dirty trick in the book to prevent the poor and disenfranchised from voting as they don’t even think they should be able to vote or even exist for that matter. Never mind that their “policies” are swelling the ranks of the poor and disenfranchised exponentially. They would rather we have a corporate controlled fascist state where the economice elites run the show and everyone else is an obedient serf…

  17. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/23/2012 - 07:54 am.

    This isn’t about ID

    The ID itself is just part of the problem. The real issue the fact that this requirement eliminates same day registration and creates a whole new class of voter, the “provisional” voter. Anyone who does not have a valid, or who even HAS a valid ID but has not registered to vote at least 30 days prior to election day will be giver a provisional ballot that will NOT be counted on election day. When will it be counted? No one knows. How many ballots are we talking about? Well, 500,000 voters cast same day registration vote in the last election, almost 20%. You can worry about what 50-60 felons are doing on election day if you want, but I’m worried about the tens of thousand of uncounted provisional ballots that are going to be sitting around in county courthouses after the election. The government doesn’t have to count those ballots unless you force them to, and how you do that has not yet been determined. Furthermore, those ballots are no longer secret ballots, your name has to be on them so they find them and count them when you do figure out a make to make them count. Think about, tens of thousands of UNCOUNTED ballots sitting around in storage all over the state, THAT’S gonna increase our faith in the integrity of the election system? No, it will simply increase the lawsuits and delay election results.

    Furthermore, the ID requirement fundamentally changes relationship of the voter to the State by dramatically enlarging the governments role in the election process. Not only will the government be sitting on tens of thousands of uncounted ballots after an election, but you as voter will require the governments permission to vote. Right now you have a right to vote, the only requirement is that you are a citizen of voting age. The government cannot deny that right without probable cause, the burden is on the government to deny your rights. ID reverses that relationship by assuming you have no right to vote and placing the burden on the voter, now you have to prove you have a right to vote, and can only do so with one of two government issued ID. Basically you need the governments permission to vote, and that permission comes in the form of a required ID that the STATE Government will give you. Passports, military IDs, school IDs, none of these count, it will have to be a MN state ID. So much for “small” government.

    This has nothing to do with integrity, it’s about reducing the number votes cast on election day because the Republican think that will help them win elections. There’s nothing conservative about changing the constitution in order to rig elections.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/23/2012 - 08:12 am.

    Kiffmeyer is a nurse not a constitutional scholar.

    Actually part of the legal troubles the Republicans are going to have with this requirement are part of the issue they’ve been having with Ron Paul takeover. The fact is that Paulite’s have capitalized on the mediocre intellectual standards that have come to dominate the MNGOP, they’ve simply been outsmarted. This ID amendment is riddled with legal landmines and unintended consequences because Republicans simply don’t understand the nature of the ALEC legislation they’ve been promoting. They didn’t write it, and they don’t understand it themselves. I’ve seen Kiffmeyer simply shut down and not respond to questions about voter ID, and I think it’s because she simply doesn’t know the answers because it’s just not her field, and frankly, she gets in over her head very quickly. This seems to be a problem in general with Republican legislators given the nature of they’re “leadership” since they came into power.

    You see this intellectual comedy play out here in the comments with arguments about Winkler’s stadium vote. I think Winkler sold out, but so what? Winkler’s stadium vote doesn’t make voter ID a good idea. Nor does anything that’s happened in Florida. Nor do 144 voter fraud conviction out of 4 million votes cast. etc. etc.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/23/2012 - 08:50 am.

    This will end up being decided by the courts

    We’ll end up with tens of thousands of uncounted perfectly legitimate votes sitting around, that’s gonna go to court. If the Democrats end up with the Senate and House, and make funny with the requirements, the Republicans will take it to court. If the Republicans get what they want, someone else will take it to court. The court will rule and that will be that.

    This is the thing Republicans just don’t seem to get, amendments are not simply legislation by other means. You cannot modify an amendment with legislation, you can only modify an amendment with another amendment. This means your stuck with court rulings which interpret the amendment. They just don’t seem to get that. They passed this amendment and they seem to think they can define it later with legislation… our government just doesn’t work that way. The level of constitutional ignorance here is breathtaking.

  20. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/23/2012 - 01:49 pm.

    “You cannot modify an amendment with legislation”

    “They passed this amendment and they seem to think they can define it later with legislation… our government just doesn’t work that way.”

    Oh really? Show me in the state constitution where K-12 education, which is guaranteed by the state, means that it has to take place in brick and mortar classrooms conducted by unionized instructors. The basic right to a K-12 education is obviously delivered via reams of legislation.

  21. Submitted by Joel Jensen on 05/23/2012 - 04:19 pm.

    This the Nose of the Camel. Real ID Act of 2005 is the Camel.

    The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 (rules go into effect January 2013) will expand the number of people affected by this proposed amendment significantly (applies to all new and renewing applications) and will make the burden much heavier on those affected. Supporters relying on previous SCOTUS decisions upholding similar state laws should take note of how that might change the result of challenges to laws after Real ID goes into effect.

    Many States (including MN – and many MN Republicans who now support the Photo ID amendment) adopted various stances opposing that federal law and de-funding its state-level implementation. But now that the final federal rules are going into effect and both Republican and Democratic congress-critters seem to have no intention of stoping the rules/law from going into effect, the States will be forced to comply if they want their citizens to be able to do things like board airplanes or use federal offices.

    The cost to individuals (beyond the additional costs to States and local govts) is estimated by the Dept of Homeland Security to be almost $5.8 Billion dollars* in time and out-of-pocket expenditures. That amount does not include the normal license application fee. (So “free” is just another word for Lots and Lots to Lose.) But hey, shelling out more money for what many think is essentially ‘national security theatre’ is just what most families need right now, right?

    The documentation requirments are signifncantly more burdensome.

    The required verification of that documentation (with its originating source) by States, before a license can be issued, presumes a level of reliability and easy access to the authoritative databases that conflicts with reality and if possible at all will likely not be as speedy as we might like.

    From an NCSL Summary:

    At a minimum, a state shall require the presentation and verification of the following information:
    1.A photo identity document (except that a non-photo identity document is acceptable if it includes both the person’s full legal name and date of birth)
    2.Documentation showing the person’s date of birth
    3.Proof of the person’s social security account number (SSN) or verification that the person is not eligible for an SSN
    4.Documentation showing the person’s name and address of principal residence

    A state shall subject each DL/ID applicant to mandatory facial image capture

    A state shall refuse to issue a DL/ID to a person holding a DL/ID from another state without confirmation that the person is terminating or has terminated the other state’s DL/ID

    Verification of Documents
    Before issuing a DL/ID, the state shall verify, with the issuing agency, the issuance, validity and completeness of each document to be presented

    A state shall confirm with the Social Security Administration a SSN presented by a person using the full SSN; in the event a SSN already is registered to or associated with another person to which any state has issued a DL/ID, the state shall resolve the discrepancy and take appropriate action

    A state shall establish an effective procedure to confirm or verify a renewing applicant’s information …”

    From the final rule implementing Real ID (pg 5325):

    “Individuals will incur the largest share of the costs as shown in Figure ES–2. More than 58 percent of the costs (discounted or undiscounted) are associated with preparing applications, obtaining necessary documents, or visiting motor vehicle offices. …
    Moreover, the estimated opportunity costs to individuals have been reduced
    from $7.1 to $5.8 billion in undiscounted dollars primarily as a result of the changed assumption that only 75% of DL/ID holders will seek REAL IDs. …”

    Given the MN Const Amendment language concerning the application of the same standards to all voters and given our current budget constraints, will we really be providing dual-track process that seems to be assumed by the DHS for the 25% that do not seek REAL IDs? Or will that 25% just not be allowed to vote?

    While most folk for or against the “show your official papers to vote” amendment in Minnesota are fighting over the (admittedly large) Nose of this issue, the Camel (in the form of federal REAL ID) is getting ready to enter the tent and unless we plan to stay on the ground and out of federal offices, we are going to have to make room for that rough slouching beast in our discussions of this proposed amendment.

    National Conference of State Legislatures – Countdown to Real ID

    Final Rule Implementing REAL ID Act of 2005

  22. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/23/2012 - 10:10 pm.


    “Oh really? Show me in the state constitution where K-12 education, which is guaranteed by the state, means that it has to take place in brick and mortar classrooms …”

    Like I said, Breathtaking. Do I really have to explain the difference between enforcing the constitution and changing the constitution? And why do you people have so much trouble staying on topic. If you’re not off about other states and imaginary fraud, you’re going on about entirely different amendments.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/24/2012 - 08:16 am.

      It’s all about talking points

      “And why do you people have so much trouble staying on topic.”

      It’s a tactic. Keep moving on to the next talking point. Don’t ever let the discussion stay too long on one subject because then people might actually have the time to thoroughly examine and debunk the “logic” which is typically a mile wide and an inch deep. Keep moving from talking point to talking point, repeating them so often that their “truthiness” gets driven into the general consciousness and the next person never has to think but only has to recite the talking points that they’ve heard seemingly everywhere so they “must be true”.

      Rinse. Repeat.

      Mission (depressingly) accomplished.

  23. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/24/2012 - 09:27 am.

    Talking points

    Yeah. And the funny thing is these are supposed to be the “Constitution” people! They come across the phrase: “enabling legislation” and they don’t even bother to find out what it actually means, obviously it must mean they can write anything they want in an amendment and just change it later after it becomes part of the constitution. Why? Because we built public schools. Uh huh.

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