Archived Story

Voter ID Amendment a question of fraud, access

Published 11:39am Friday, November 2, 2012

Minnesotans are being asked to use their vote to determine how they will vote in the future.

The voter ID amendment, coming up on the Nov. 6 ballot, has the state of Minnesota divided. The proposed amendment pushes for stricter requirement of showing a government-issued photo ID. Some say that would limit access to voting and have high costs.

For many, it comes down to voter fraud. Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen says voting yes is a given.

“Voter ID issues have tainted elections,” said Ingebrigtsen. “A local business owner phrased it well — I have to show ID to sell scrap metal or cash a check, why wouldn’t I have to show ID to vote?”

Charles Mills, a former GOP deputy chair from Austin, MN, said 200 felons have been convicted of voter fraud since the 2008 Presidential election.

Of the 22,000 or so same-day voter registrations at the 2008 election, Mills said, more than 6,400 voter verification cards were returned because the address was unknown. These sites ended up being parks, freeways, vacant lots and fast food restaurants, he said. Additionally, about 2 million registered voters in the nation are actually dead, and others fall under names like “Osama BinLaden” and “Mickey Mouse.”

“We need ID for pretty much everywhere you go in our society,” said Rep. Bud Nornes. “President Obama had to provide photo ID when he voted in Chicago.”

Nornes points out just a small amount of voter fraud could swing an election.

“An election in St. Cloud two years ago was won by ten votes,” said Nornes. “The Franken race was very close. It is possible voter fraud could swing a race under our current system.”

But the chairman of the Democratic Farmer Labor party chair for Otter Tail County, Michael Windley, disagrees, saying there are checks and balances already in place to minimize voter fraud.

“My concern is that the details are not fully worked out or the costs,” said Windley. “The amendment would put many legal voters at a disadvantage.”

Windley sites absentee voters casting their ballots from abroad, bedridden seniors, college students who are moving around a lot and Minnesotans serving abroad in the military as specific groups that would be affected. Eligible voters who don’t have the right form of “valid government-issued” photo identification might have to drive as far as 80 miles to obtain it — a daunting task for a senior citizen who doesn’t drive and who lives in a nursing home on a fixed income.

While military ID would be acceptable under the new system, the ID would need to be verified.

“How would you, in Bagdad, go out and find a notary public?” Said MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. “How much would that cost?”

Windley also adds, “You would have to convince me there is voter fraud.”

Joan Growe, Minnesota Secretary of State from 1975 to 1999, is fed up with false allegations regarding election fraud. In Growe’s opinion, having voters present photo identification will not itself prevent ex-felons or other illegal voters from registering to vote and then casting ballots.

“As someone who spent decades in charge of Minnesota’s election system, I know that we must ensure that only legal votes are counted,” Growe said. “But effectively disqualifying legal voters would be even more damaging to the integrity of our election.”

Governor Mark Dayton advocates sending the issue back to the Legislature for further work. In an opinion piece published in the MN Star Tribune, Dayton said:

“Suppose I had gone to the Minnesota Legislature last year and said, ‘I have a complicated new program that could massively disrupt voting procedures throughout our entire state. I haven’t yet figured out the details, and I have no idea of what it will cost. Maybe $100 million, or so. I have no evidence that it’s needed, but I know it is. Just trust me and approve it.”

The cost of enforcing the voter ID amendment would depend on specifics that would not be determined until after it passes.

“You have a wide range of estimates,” said Secretary of State Ritchie. Proponents of the amendment estimate the new system could cost $40 million to introduce, while opponents, academic institutions and associations of counties, cities and townships place the figure closer to $60 million, he said.

More specific estimates have been done by most local officials, including in Otter Tail County. According to the Windley, implementation costs are estimated at $2,000 for a town of 500, plus two additional precinct staff would be needed. This does not include the cost of new electronic voting machines which could cost $56,800 for the cheaper model or $140,900 for the more expensive model — which could mean anywhere from about $4.60 to $8.80 per local voter.

Windley adds that there is a personal cost for anyone that would need to obtain a state issued photo ID. Identification card fees are $17.25 for people under 65, $11 for those 65 and over, plus a $12.75 replacement fee if your card is ever lost or stolen. Cards must be renewed every four years at the same rate.

Mail-in ballots used by many small towns would be subject to the same identity checks, meaning residents living in areas without polling places would need to travel to the county auditor’s office to ensure their vote was counted. More than 500 townships use all mail-in voting, Ritchie said.

Rep. Tony Cornish said many of these issues have already been worked out.

“If the elderly don’t have a photo ID, the amendment provides for free state ID cards,” said Cornish. “If they have trouble finding their birth certificate, the state already has a waiver process. If they vote by mail or absentee, they’ll be able to use the last four digits of their Social Security number.”

The amendment could cause some delays in voting results, Windley said. If a voter moves and doesn’t have photo ID finalized, his or her vote could be held as provisional. This could cause delays in determining the winner of a close election.

“We’re looking at a minimum of a 10-day delay to find out what the results are while they process the provisional votes,” Windley said.

While other states have already adopted voter ID restrictions, they include automatic and universal exemptions for many types of voters. While these were brought up in the Legislature, they were all rejected.

For Ingbretson, the amendment would benefit the state by strengthening its voting system.

“If we want democracy to prevail we have to have legitimate elections,” he said.

  • P. Carlson

    Same day registration needs to be banned. It is very clearly a way to have voter fraud on a mega percentage. When more than 6,400 out of 22,000 same day registrations were fraudulent, (29 % ) it is a huge problem. 200 felons have been convicted since 2008 for voting illegally.
    Nationally over 2 million voters fraudulently voted after they died! And anyone dares say this is not a problem?
    How many nursing homes are 80 miles from a drivers license station? Nursing homes shuttle patients to clinics and outings, why not to get a new photo ID when needed? They need the ID for social security anyway. If they are living in a nursing home, that is their residence not a home they lived in before moving to the nursing home.

  • Richard Olson

    No matter how much education some people seem to have available, there are always 10% who never get the message. They are content to get their facts from rumor and idiots masquerading as republicans trying to impose their version of American freedom and liberty by denying some people their right to vote.

    Here is a fact no republican can deny……..No republican, no where, has ever found one fraudulent vote in an election where the republican candidate won the election. The only time they find fraud is when the republican loses. Now even the stupidest Neanderthal navigating between two ditches should be able to see through that ploy.

    The republican restrictors point to six phony votes and propose spending millions and millions to fix it. While the same people are perfectly contents to see the Ohio Secretary of State reject 33,000 absentee ballot requests because of a “computer error”. He just happened to notice the error a few days before the election when the people requesting said ballots won’t be around to vote in person. But hey, they are just trying to protect the “integrity of the ballot”. Sure they are! Freedom loving? Liberty loving? My aching butt.

    • camobabe

      Curly, of course no Republican ever found a fraudulent vote in a race won by a Republican. That is sort of reverse cause and effect. It just means the Dems didn’t come up with enough phony votes, or the margin of victory was so many votes that a recount would be a waste of time.
      Why would anyone complain when the outcome was favorable?
      But, results like Al Franken and Marx Dayton illustrate the vulnerability of our elections to fraud.

      Rule of thumb: If a Dem calls for recount, it means he already has enough phony votes stashed in closets and car trunks to change the results in a close election.

      And, you cannot truthfully deny that there have been several hundred arrests for voter fraud in 2010 alone, with more than 200 convictions and many pled down to lesser charges, and many more cases still awaiting trial.

      But, I have no doubt that you will try, anyway.

      You only have three days to get out your Groucho Marx mustache and glasses disguise for the voting circuit. See you on “candid camera”?

    • P. Carlson

      Richard, I have no idea which party the 200 convicted felons voted for nor do I know how the 6,400 votes were cast by people giving [honey addresses. I also do not know for whom the over 2 million dead people nationally voted. You have stated that none were republican. This may or may not be true, we can not know. I personally feel that even one illegal vote is one too many no matter who they want to support. Why do you ASSUME I am a republican just because I believe in honesty and detest false representation? I learned values at a very early age in Sunday School, and that is not political.

      • Walt Henry

        Pam, 200 convicted felons voting will not be corrected by photo ID. Those records are in a different government office, unless, of course, you wish to increase the size of government, but remember that takes money. 6,400 incorrect addresses–surely you’ve heard of Google Maps, I can see my hot tub from space–seems to me to be a lot cheaper just to check to see if the addresses are legal at the polls with a little google map search, which I can do from my cell phone. And as for the thousands of dead people listed on the voting roles–having the names on the roles is not the same thing as those people voting–check what the State of Florida found after their relentless search of data bases. Was it worth the cost? Facts matter, use them to create your opinions. This little piece of history–the party of Abe Lincoln (GOP) was so against the thought a some sort of national ID card that until 1980 social security cards were not to be used as any form of ID–now it seems to want to know everyone’s business and where they can be found. (This is a reference to the GOP ad running in Ohio suggesting blacks should vote for Republicans because they are the party of Lincoln. hahahahaha)

      • Richard Olson

        Pam, the problem with your comment is that it is not true. The figures you cited are not accurate figures, they come from partisan republican groups hoping to prove their fraudulent vote numbers theory.

        Those same republican groups when brought before legal hearings could not prove any of their numbers. Even republican Secretary of States who claimed they knew of fraudulent votes could not back up any of their claims. The true number in Minnesota is either 6 or 8.

        Do your research, don’t blindly accept figures from groups who have a stake in denying others their vote.

        • camobabe

          Curly, in this instance you are clearly the deceiver. Those numbers of cases resolved with convictions and phony addresses are all matters of public records. Ask any honest law enforcement officer, such as some who have written to this and other news outlets with those figures, and they will affirm those statistics. You cannot find a law enforcement officer who will stand alongside your misstatements of fact.

          • Richard Olson

            Camillabill, I don’t have to find a “law enforcement officer” in this matter because cops have nothing to do with voter fraud which is controlled by the individual Secretary of States. Time after time when proof of your claims are demanded in legitimate legal settings, your side can not ever come up with the proof.

            Just because your chubby former cop and a few tea baggers meeting in your garage or bar, pumping each other with conspiracy stories and rumors does make your fiction anymore plausible.

            The people of Minnesota, at least those with the ability to reason, have seen though this current John Birch Society scam and it will go down in flames. Just like that lying crackpot you clowns are running for president.

            You guys are really something…..if it’s not talking snakes, it’s magic underwear. What’s next Big Bird stole your lunch money?

  • camobabe

    Curly, why would we waste our time in races we win to look for fraudulent votes? You guys already give us too many suspicious outcomes and we aren’t bothering to question sanguine outcomes.

    But, you cannot TRUTHFULLY deny that there were several hundred people charged with election fraud in 2010 alone.
    And , so far, more than 200 cases with guilty verdicts, amny pled down to lesser offenses, and many more cases still pending. But, I have no doubt that you will deny it anyway.

    Only three days for you to get out your Groucho Marx mustache and glasses disguise to drive the precinct tour bus for the Chicago multiple voters. See you on “candid camera”?

  • Walt Henry

    I did not realize, until this morning, Kittson County in Northwestern Minnesota votes with mail-in ballots for which verification via photo ID is not possible. Before we take away the right of those people to vote or make someone pay $730,000 to open in person places, shouldn’t we talk about this?

    • Swede

      Larry, that would mean these voters are registered, because they are not trying to register at the polling place. No ID needed, genius.

      • Richard Olson

        Think about what you just wrote and how it applies to the voter ID amendment in Minnesota, Genius.
        If you still don’t get it I’ll come back later and explain it to you. Genius. Or let Larry have the joy and privilege. It is just amazing, the stuff that comes out of the mouths of some people.

      • Walt Henry

        Thanks Mike, you’ve proven how misunderstood this amendment is. I will use your comment in my attempts to convince others to vote against its passage. The photo ID is meant to link a BALLOT with a specific person–it is NOT about registering. I repeat, you will be required to show ID to vote and that is impossible with a mailed in ballot. (BTW–Mary Kiffmeyer, one of the GOP sponsers of the bill says these people would not have to show photo ID. Some would some wouldn’t, who decides who can vote without photo ID?) Mike–LEARN!!! Read with an open mind and LEARN!!!! It will take your fear of living away.

        • Richard Olson

          Exactly, one would have thought that a republican election judge from Elbow Lake would have known that.

        • Swede

          Wrong again, Larry.

          (c) All voters, including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.

          That means provide ID when registering.

          The democrat party propaganda machine is getting desperate.

          • Richard Olson

            That doesn’t mean any such thing, learn to read. How in the world can you be an election judge when you can’t read a simple sentence in English.

          • Walt Henry

            Mike, see if you can find the video from tpt’s almanac program for this past Friday. I’ll let the two Republicans (one for and one against ) correct your misinformation. Also surprised some would not need photo I’d at all, just a password. BTW if my dead great grandfather was still registered without having to show photo id to get a ballot I could vote his vote as well as my own according to your understand ing of the amendment. Wrong!!!

          • Swede

            Minnesota Statute
            Subdivision 1.Commissioner of health; reports of deceased residents.

            Pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, Public Law 107-252, the commissioner of health shall report monthly by electronic means to the secretary of state the name, address, date of birth, and county of residence of each individual 18 years of age or older who has died while maintaining residence in Minnesota since the last previous report. The secretary of state shall determine if any of the persons listed in the report are registered to vote and shall prepare a list of those registrants for each county auditor. Within 60 days after receiving the list from the secretary of state, the county auditor shall change the status of those registrants to “deceased” in the statewide voter registration system.

            I guess if SOS Ritchie does not do his job, Larry could vote as many times as he would like.

  • Richard Olson

    From coast to coast in the United States at this very moment, citizens who no doubt consider themselves to be good Americans are engaged in attempts to limit, discourage and stop other Americans from voting.

    The republican secretary’s of State in Ohio, Florida and Colorado are restricting voting hours in violation of court orders. Forcing people to stand in long voting lines (8 hours in Ohio) until they must leave to go to work, pick up their children or go to a doctor appointment. Or wait so long that they can’t stand any longer, and then leave.

    In Ohio voters are forced to fill out additional complicated forms regarding their form of identification. If they make “any” mistake, typographical error, spelling error or punctuation error their ballot is tossed with no chance to make corrections.

    These same Secretary’s of State are the same people who will be in charge of any recounts in their states.

    These dirty practices, illegal acts, are the only way republicans can win. Restricting the vote is not about honest elections, it is about allowing fewer people to vote so republicans can win. Don’t take my word for it, take the words of the republicans themselves.

    Go to You-Tube and type in “Paul Weyrich- I don’t want everybody to vote” or another you-tube video by
    Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turazi “Turzai: Voter ID will allow Romney to win Pa.”

    No republican has disavowed these tactics and statements. These people are engaged in un-American activities. These are the tactics one expects from the old Soviet Union or Communist China.
    Have you ever heard any local conservatives disavow these un-American activities? Of course not, they expect to benefit from them. All the while crying crocodile tears on these pages about Obama’s Socialism.

  • Bizworldusa

    I did not realize, Kittson County in Northwestern Minnesota votes with mail-in ballots for which verification via photo ID is not possible…….


  • Walt Henry

    This from a survey of 33 Republican politicians and activists published 11/5/12–”The Republicans were confident they would get a victory with the so-called Voter I.D. amendment, which would force residents in Minnesota to show photo identification at the polls in future elections. In comments, they said Voter I.D. could pass by a “wide margin.” (Yes, Kiffmeyer the Republican and former Sec. of State and former Sen. Koch of the taxpayer funded liaison were part of the panel)

    Look closely Mike, “show photo identification at the polls.”
    It’s ok to be wrong, just don’t keep repeating your error over and over again.

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  • Richard Olson

    Well finally, It’s nice to see Camillabill admit that this entire voter fraud scam is nothing more than a republican swindle to gain office by cheating and denying others the right to vote.

    Case Closed!

    • Richard Olson

      John McCain’s former campaign manager just admitted the voter fraud thing was/is made up stuff by his republican party.

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