Archived Story

City: Voter ID costly mandate

Published 10:59am Friday, March 23, 2012

Requiring photo ID at the polls is a hot button issue in Minnesota, with a proposed constitutional amendment making its way through the state Legislature. While its merits are under debate in greater-populated areas, some election officials in Otter Tail County say it might end up doing more to create costs than to reduce voter fraud locally.

Republicans have argued that the photo ID requirement would not disenfranchise voters because a provisional ballot will be made available for those who do not provide ID (providing free IDs to those with low incomes is also under discussion). However, that provisional ballot amounts to an unfunded mandate, according to Fergus Falls Election Administrator Lynne Olson.

“We would probably have to hire an additional two election judges (per ward) and have a separate ballot box,” she said. The eight new judges would be tasked with checking IDs, and the separate ballot boxes would store the provisional ballots.

“Who’s going to pick up the cost?” she asked. “It’s going to be back on the taxpayers.”

Those provisional ballots might also affect how long it takes before an election outcome is announced. If the amendment makes it to the state constitution, those who voted with provisional ballots would be allowed to present their IDs and allow their votes to be counted for several days after Election Day. If there are a lot of provisional ballots and not very many votes between two candidates (like in 2010, when Jay Cichosz beat Tim Rundquist by one vote in a Fergus Falls City Council election), the outcome likely wouldn’t be known until the provisional ballot period expires, possibly followed by a recount.

“It might be a month and a half before someone can be declared a winner in some cases,” Olson said.

Though he thought most of the extra costs would be borne by municipalities or voting precincts, Otter Tail County Auditor Wayne Stein said the county could also face additional cost burdens, including additional envelope orders for the provisional ballots and more staffing hours for provisional ballot vote counters.

“Assuming there are people who are voting using the provisional ballot … we are going to be handling things days after the election is over,” he said.

Depending on how readily available the government-issed IDs are, Olson is also worried about Fergus Falls’ elderly population, as well as the city’s college students, who are eligible to vote in Fergus Falls if they register here. Many people in both populations, particularly the elderly, do not have photo IDs. Olson singled out permanent residents of nursing homes as a prime example.

“Right now, they’re able to (vote) with one of the caregivers who is able to vouch for them,” she said.

Another concern, said Stein, is that the specifics of the plan cannot be known yet.

“They haven’t actually laid out a lot of the detail as to how it would be implemented if it actually would get passed,” he said.

If the amendment is approved, the 2013 Legislature will hash out enforcement and regulations. The IDs would then be required either after the 2013 legislative session or sometime in 2014 (if some local government advocates are able to get the start date pushed back).

Longtime Fergus Falls election judge Vic Petterson said a photo ID requirement wouldn’t affect his township’s elections much, except that one more election judge might need to be hired.

“I think that in this area, it’s fine for rural Minnesota the way it is,” he said.

Petterson said verifying someone’s identity is pretty simple under the current system.

“If somebody doesn’t know you and they come in and they’ve got a gas slip, or … if a neighbor can vouch for you, you’re pretty easily verified,” he said.

Stein and Olson agreed that voter fraud does not appear to be an issue in the area, although Stein acknowledged that there may be problems he doesn’t know about.

“I am not in the precincts all day long on Election Day, and there may be some things happening that I’m not aware of where (photo ID) would have been beneficial,” he said.

Both Stein and Petterson recognized that voter ID issue encompasses far more than Otter Tail County. Neither wanted to pass judgment on whether the measure would help the election process in other parts of the state.

“Maybe in the (Twin) Cities or the bigger towns, it’s different,” said Petterson. “I don’t know.”

  • Ginny Saul

    Costly???? Which is more important the financial cost or having a pure election. I want to know that we are not having the criminals vote like last election, any illegals voting, and people NOT getting multiple voting capabilities. Integrity of ALL elections is worth every dime. Does not seem many people care how much money we spend on so many things around town that the taxpayers get forced down our throats. Don’t give me the seniors might be left out with Voter ID, that is a bunch of hooey. Every person needs an ID to fly on a plane, get alcohol, get Social Security, heck get a library book so don’t start that Voter Id is bad, it is a great thing. People we need this to make sure the elections are integrity filled. Remember James O’Keefe did a video about how in MN no ID was needed and how many times people were willing to give him a ballot, he lives in New Jersey. Maybe we won’t get the likes of Franken and Klobuchar without criminals and illegals voting, not to mention how many dead people voted for Franken last election. Vote for Voter ID, worth every penny.

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  • concerned

    in theory voter ID doesn’t sound like much of an issue for me but,if Ginny Saul is for it then I have to be against it. there has to be some hyperbolic half baked scheme behind it and I don’t feel the rest of us should be forced to cover the costs of satisfying a small percentage of the population living in a paranoid dystopian dellusion.

  • BWD

    Like I always say, “Vote and Vote Often. The Elections never over until the Dead’s ballots have been counted too.”

  • P. Carlson

    Don Johnson, why does there always have to be a hyperbolic half baked schemer willing to argue against anything he knows nothing about just because Ginny Saul is in favor of it it just to prove idiocy reigns in the Democrat party? Frankin won by less votes than they later proved voted illegally for him. There was also at least one who voted in multiple towns and in 2 states.
    When we purchsed a house in Fergus Falls 7 years ago, we did as we have always done. We presented our photo ID’s to prove where we lived. A photo ID is required to collect social security, welfare, MNCare, banking, check cashing, and much more. Show me someone who does not have a photo ID and I will show you either an ilegal or a criminal. Oh, wait, being here illegally is a crime. Democrats are just against photo ID because they know it will end their practice of ballot stuffing. How many boxes of ballots stuffed in trunks to they have to uncover after elections before the honest majority of society says enough is enough?

  • Walt Henry

    Last night, on one of the “news” networks, Dick Morris was telling the audience he thinks it is likely control of the US Senate will change hands in November. (He was one of the pollsters for Bill Clinton.) He was making a very strong argument, picking 8 specific Senate races and using polling data to support his view. He might be right. But suppose I’m a listener and this is my primary source of news and information. Suppose I talk only to friends who I can trust, share my political views and they tell me “truths” I want to hear. Then comes Election Day and the Senate doesn’t change hands. What is the reason—it must be voter fraud. Without solid numbers of actual voter fraud I wonder if this “solution” doesn’t ignor the true the reason behind the conservative’s push to restrict peoples’ right to vote when the real problem is conservative ignorance.

  • camobabe

    Wrongo Larry, or Walt, or whatever name you are using today. Since you have already admitted to using two identities here, why should we not conclude that if photo ID is required, you will only be permitted to vote one time per election versus who knows how many times?

    It is not, as you assert, that conservatives are ignorant in this matter, it is that they have caught on to the socialist Democratic tricks of voting the names of people who have died since the last election, of going from precinct to precinct with phony identities, where a validly registered Democrat is waiting to “vouch” for knowing the serial voter, then exploiting same day registration procedures to vote as the second or fifth or tenth persona of the day and stuffing the boxes full of more votes for socialism. I would submit that if these procedures for photo ID had been in effect in previous years, Al Franken would be practicing his pornographic trade in Hustler and other radical venues rather than in the Senate, and spoiled brat Markie Dayton would not be our governor today.

    I will not accuse Lynne Olson or Wayne Stein of dishonest
    or biased views in this matter, but I believe that their opinions reflect lack of perspective regarding how seriously the voting process is manipulated for dishonest outcomes not only in other parts of this state, but here also.

    Our freedoms are protected by honest and protected voting processes, and we should not be quibbling about a few dollars to safegaurd the process. City, county, state government daily waste more money between sunrise and lunchtime than will be spent in a decade’s worth of enforcing voter ID.

  • Richard Olson

    It doesn’t take much imagination or perusal of the comments previous to mine to see through to the heart of this matter. The only time you will ever hear anything about “voter fraud” is when a Democrat wins the election. On those rare occasions when elections were spotlessly clean it has always resulted in a win for the conservative candidate.

    If this entire scheme were not a plot to deny voting right to minorities, senior citizens and students, the republicans would lead by example a demand that anyone voting in republican primaries produce a photo I.D. The fact that they do not is proof enough that they only wish to suppress the vote in general elections where those mentioned will be voting and generally not voting for the republican candidate.

    The Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union has an offer of a $1000.00 reward for anyone who can show a case (within the last 10 years) of voter fraud that the proffered voter ID bill would have prevented.
    What I find amazing is that Ginny Saul, Pam Carlson, David Adams, Camilla Ryan and other songbirds for the right have failed to come forward to claim their $1000.00 check. One must suppose there are each indecently wealthy or (as more than likely the case) just blowing that same old blowhard gasbag wind from the sewers of Faux News and the EIB network.

    By the way Ms. Saul a birth certificate and a social security number are what is required to apply for social security and flying on an airplane, the purchase of alcohol and getting a library card are privileges, VOTING IS A RIGHT.

    (in the unlikely event that I’m wrong about an ID requirement to gain social security, that would seem to undermine another conservative conspiracy…..that being all those dead, minorities and immigrants collecting social security…despite a photo I.D……game, set match.)

  • camobabe

    Well, Richardmunk, I see that you are still using avian avatars. You have morphed from a parrot sock puppet to a duck, but your tactics and socialist orientation remain unchanged, except for it being even more obnoxious in this incarnation.

    I read in the MSP (Red) Star/Tribune that more than 100 cases of voter fraud from the 2008-2010 elections have been adjudicated and the accused found guilty or pled guilty in Minnesota, and more than 80 other cases are winding through the court process still. I bet that none of the people who brought the cases to light have been rewarded by the AntiChristianLawyersUnion, regardless their bogus promise to do so.

    Laws for voter IDs have been passed in many states. In three states the laws were challenged as being unconstitutional (ACLU). The cases were consolidated to one appeal, before the U.S. Supreme Court, and guess what?
    US Supremes ruled voter ID constitutional. Also addressed your bogus claim that voting is a right by ruling that the right is granted to those who meet requirements of age,residence, mental stability. And added, that just as the right to bear arms, have a firearm, can be taken away for felony convictions, the right of voting is conditional on lawful character, and can be denied to felons and those who abuse the voting processes. That latter ruling has also been upheld in several constitutional cases, affirming the right of states and the US government to deny the vote to law breakers.

    As to the use of the dead to elect Democrats, it is still a commonplace tactic for Democrat campaign to visit cemeteries to take down the names of those who have died within the past year or so, as many county registrars are at least that far behind in removing the names from the rolls. It’s a commonly told joke that once a person is registered as a Democrat, he has eternal life as a voter.

  • camobabe

    By the way, Richardmunk, the GOP does require that in their elections, such as county, district, and state conventions, those who register at the conventions must show photo ID to be seated as delegates or alternates, or attend floor sessions and participate in debates, nominations, votes. They practice what they preach.

  • Richard Olson

    Perhaps I’ve been too rash in my denouncement of a voter I. D. card. Imagine the confusion if each state issues it own identity card. However, once that happens an opening will have been created to simplify and save money by everyone having a National Identity Card.

    Once everyone has his/her own photo identification card complete with micro chips and GPS chip it will eliminate the need for a drivers license, a social security card, a green card etc, etc.

    An individuals complete medical history as well as criminal history could be stored on the card and available for any police officer to demand just in case he suspects someone of violation of some or another law, rule or policy. Because of the GPS capabilities it would insure that no one votes more than once and at no more than one location as election officials could scan and mark the card on the very first vote.

    Further money savings could be advanced by tracking fat cat republicans when they travel to foreign banks to visit their money. (right down to the very street address of the bank in question) Since one’s financial records could also be kept on the National Identity Card, the need for an April 15th deadline for taxes could also be eliminated in as much as the government could simply deduct the taxes owed via remote GPS deduction from each and every paycheck.

    The only problem I see is that some sloppy individual will lose his or her card and require a costly replacement. That eventuality however could be overcome by the elimination of the National Identity Card altogether in favor of a micro chip injected under the skin of each and every red Blooded American citizen.

    Democrats could have their chip embedded in their left buttocks and republicans could have their chip embedded in their right buttocks (just to the right of their heart).

    • BWD

      “Democrats could have their chip embedded in their left buttocks and republicans could have their chip embedded in their right buttocks (just to the right of their heart).”

      Heck of an idea —but where does that leave the Independent Chip? :)

      • Richard Olson

        Where they have always been…in the middle.

      • concerned

        instead of id cards and/or rfid chips, why not just use modern qr bar code tattoos with ink that completes a circuit similar to the rfid tech but easier and cheaper to mark people with? we could call it “mark of the beast” or “Beastmark” or something along those lines to market it.

        • Richard Olson

          An excellent idea, I’m beginning to like these republican ideas more and more as 1984 approaches.

          • camobabe

            Now, “Richard”, how disingenuous of you to feign horror at the thought of a data-laden National ID Card, for all of your utopian Marxist/Socailist/Communist workers’ Paradises on Earth, such as Communist China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Nazi (National Socialists Party) Germany required their subjects to carry a National ID card.

            And, no doubt his excellent exaltedness Baracka Hussein bin Obama will institute such means if he is re-elected, so to better round up any dissenters and send them off to “re-education” gulags. Or eliminate them if they prove to be too set in their demands for freedom from the all powerful State. But, I suspect that the chip would be embedded and include a GPS like tracking device, to locate and pull in, round up all counter revolutionaries.

            Where will 0bama locate his Dzerzinski Square, the Soviet location of the KGB? Manhatten? Detroit? Ahhh… Chicago seems the most apt spot, the infrastructure is still in place from the National Community Organizer’s training grounds for national enslavement, prior to his excellency moving to the U.S. Senate, then the dictatorship of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.. The 0bama army is still waiting for the word to move.

            See, when you pose an absurd construct, others are happy to draw absurd conclusions to your 0bama’s sinister rule.

  • Richard Olson

    There is nothing absurd about taking a republican idea to it’s natural conclusion.

    • Walt Henry

      Horror of a national ID card was the fear of the Republican Party. That is why Social Security Cards issued before 1980 clearly state, right on the front, below the signature, This Card Is Not To Be Used For Identification Purposes. Oddly, it seems those who feared the government must no longer fear the government or their motive is to take away the voting rights of the poor, the elderly and the college students.

      “the city’s college students, who are eligible to vote in Fergus Falls if they register here. Many people in both populations, particularly the elderly, do not have photo IDs. Olson singled out permanent residents of nursing homes as a prime example.”

      And yet, there are those who believe elections are rigged. Facts, math and history will not change their views. One solution to increase their confidence is through photo ID another would be as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey did regarding the “take over of US courts by Sharia law”–have one of the leaders of the Republican’s show enough courage to call a goofy fear goofy and silence the critics. It would save us all a bunch of taxpayer money. Sadly, very few Republican leaders have courage.

      • camobabe

        Live with it. The photo ID voter law has now passed both the House and Senate in St. Paul, and the voters will get the chance to vote on it in November. latest polls from the Strib say about 78% of Minnesotans favor this as a means of keeping the voting process honest. No wonder you raddies are so afraid of it.

        • Richard Olson

          In as much as the health care reform act has passed both the United States House and the United States Senate, your advise would be the same…”Live with it”.

        • concerned

          and when they come to carve your barcode/mark into your flesh remember to just “live with it” ID cards can be falsified and altered, proprietary inks mixed with dna can be verified easily with current technologies, all it would require is a radio wave be bounced off the tattoo to complete the circuit and prove who you are. it will be cheaper and more reliable than issuing cards of questionable reliability and longevity

          • camobabe

            And what of those people whose religions teach them that a tattoo is a desecration, a defacing of the body given to them by their Creator? They are to be forced to have a tattoo against their conscience? Oh that’s right, THE ONE is now self authorized to issue fiats that require people of conscience to pay for abortions and abortion inducing drugs against their conscience or moral beliefs. So, the Tattoo Id would just be the next step in imposing the “Utopian” Marxist socialist dictatorship.

            Last I saw that people were tattooed for identity was in National Socialist (Nazi) Germany when Jews and other slaves were tattooed with serial numbers. Shades of Auschwitz and Buchenwald! You socialists haven’t evolved very far in your tactics since 1945, have you?

        • Walt Henry

          There was one and only one case of voter fraud ending in a conviction in Minnesota from the 2010 elecion the ID Amendment could have stopped, maybe. That was a case in a district of Republican majorities where a mother voted via absentee ballot in her daughter’s name and the daughter voted in Mankato. One case!!!! Yet the taxpayers of Minnesota will be footing the bill for photo ID’s for everyone who asks for one. Seems like the GOP is pushing wasteful government spending. I wonder if there will be a majority of voters supporting wasteful government spending once they do the cost-benefit anaylsis. We’ll see.

  • Richard Olson

    It is very interesting that the republican organization “Minnesota Majority” has a “Voter ID cartoon on it’s website (since removed) that depicted, among others, a Hispanic man in a mariachi costume and a black man in prison garb standing in line to vote.

    The original cartoon featured a dead body, a ghost, a superhero, a Hispanic man in mariachi costume, and an African-American in prison uniform standing in line to vote. The cartoon was in poor taste and had racist overtones. Over 25% of undocumented immigrants are not Hispanic, and 81% of U.S. Hispanics are either U.S. citizens or legal immigrants. 62% of U.S. Hispanics were born in the U.S. We’ve not seen a credible study that shows undocumented immigrants have been voting in U.S. elections.
    The same issue applies to showing an African-American man in prison garb. The vast majority of African-Americans have never been in prison, and surely more than a few take offense at this cartoon. (Bluestem Prairie)

    • holly

      It is interesting that you cry foul over “poor taste” and “racist overtones” when your blog at your old Tumblr site regularly set a new (low) standard for poor taste and bigotry.

      • Walt Henry

        Holly, the Minnesota Majority agreed with Mr. Olson and voluntarily took it down. Why would you not agree with them?

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