GOP Voter ID Measure Passes First Capitol Hurdle

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A state House committee has given the first stamp of approval to a Republican proposal that would require all Minnesotans to present a photo ID in order to vote.

The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the measure on a 9-6 vote with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

Backers of the bill say requiring a picture ID would cut down on voter fraud and make the voting process more efficient. Critics say fraud is not a widespread problem in Minnesota elections and that the new requirement would be expensive and hard to administer.

“Those who steal don’t just stand there and say, ‘Hey! Here I am! I’m lying. This is not who I really am!’ You know the issue of the voter ID is to deter and to prove that,” said Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake.

WCCO’s Chad Hartman Interviews Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky Who Opposed Voter ID

The bill has a strong shot of getting through the Republican-controlled Legislature, but Gov. Mark Dayton says he believes it could create more problems than it solves. Dayton stopped short of a veto threat but says he’d prefer an independent commission study problems with election administration and suggest fixes.

The bill also eliminates Minnesota’s long-standing tradition of “vouching” for unregistered voters.

Supporters say it’s unworkable because it assumes everyone is honest.

“The danger of vouching is mainly that it is a faith-based system.  They just trust you at face value that you are being honest that day,” Kiffmeyer said.

Jackie Emmer, the wife of failed-governor candidate Tom Emmer, was at the hearing — an exclamation point to Republican claims of widespread election fraud.

But an animated DFL Secretary of State said fraud is almost non-existant in Minnesota, challenging critics to prove it.

“People say to me, ‘We have to have photo ID because no one trusts our elections system.  And I look around the room and I say, ’80 percent of you voted,'” Ritchie said.

In fact, Minnesota’s 80-percent voter turnout is No. 1 in the nation. No. 2 is Wisconsin.

Or, as the Secretary of State said, we can’t beat ’em in football, but we can beat them in voting.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • T

    I can’t believe there is opposition to this. If you are not responsible or mature enough to have a photo ID you should not be voting anyway.

    • JL

      Unless the state wants to pay for those who can’t afford an ID the US Supreme Court has already ruled in another case that this is considered a poll tax and therefore is unconstitutional. How much more you want to add to the state deficit?

      • Chuck

        You’re an idiot. I’m sure the state is more than willing to pay for an ID to help protect against fraud. If they can’t afford an ID anyway, they’re probably homeless. Heaven knows many on welfare can certainly afford to get their nails done somehow despite receiving welfare.

      • Fred

        this reply by JL is a lie. the USSC has not ruled in unconstitutional. many states require an ID to vote. it is only logical. a non-drivers license costs like $15 total for 4 years. Also, this MN bill says that MN would pay for those who could not afford.

    • Election Worker

      Are you serious?? The Republicans willing to RAISE taxes to pay for a voter ID system? Not in this budget cycle—or any other in our lifetimes.

      BTW, homeless ARE allowed to vote without a permanent address. It’s in the state code. Look it up.

  • Bill

    Funny how the democrats are alway dead against improving the integrity of the voting process. Can’t imagine why? Ha ha ha.

    • Ignorance must be bliss

      It is also funny how republicans say they want to stop spending money but only want to cut from the already poor and continue to spend. It also seems that they like to “bend” the rights that we have just like they are doing in AZ. I look forward to all the comments on how I am a tree hugger, left wing agenda pushing, Obama loving hippie since you cannot support with facts and just yell liberal when you do not agree with someone.

      • Jasmin

        It’s interesting how you clearly don’t have the facts on Republicans but you demand facts from them. At some point in life you need to stop being ignorant and relying on others for your well being. Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while but welfare tends to produce more welfare recipients every year. We need to stop this madness and demand accountability and the Republicans seem to be the ones doing this at this point in time but you obviously can’t accept that. You must want a free ride in life. That seems like the only logical reason you’d say that. What bending of rights are you referring to anyhow?

      • Ignorance must be bliss

        To call someone ignorant and then post something like that is just funny. Did you ever stop and think that maybe the reason for more and more people being on welfare is because we are in a decline in job growth and some people have been laid off for more than 2 years? Wait, I forgot you are in the area that thinks these people are lazy and just do not want to find a job. I would like to point out I do not get a free ride as I do work 2 jobs. I would also like to point out the bending of rights like in AZ where they want to make it so they can pull people over for no other reason than to ask for papers to make sure they are legal to be in the country. It sounds fine, but how would you like to be the person who gets pulled over almost every day for no reason. This would be discrimination and you are right, that is not bending the rights of people who are here legally. For someone who states I hide from facts, I see you did not have ANY yourself.

    • JL

      It’s unconstitutional unless the state pays for those who can’t afford it, US Supreme Court ruled on this years ago.

      • Fred

        this reply by JL is a total joke and not true. USSC has not ruled in unconstitutional. many states require an ID to vote. it is only logical. a non-drivers license costs like $15 total for 4 years. Also, this MN bill says that MN would pay for those who could not afford.

  • Lisa Gonyea

    Rather difficult to get an id when you are not a legal resident (not only of the country, but the state…remember the U of M fiasco)..or dead.

    • Brian

      Aww… If I could deliver sound bites, I’d send you a sad violin solo to accompany your whining.

      There is no hassle in getting a state ID. My fiance, my niece, nephew and a few friends do not drive, nor do they have a driver’s license. But… they all have state ID’s which they’ve never had a hassle receiving nor using!

      Why not just be honest. The DFL opposes this because it will cut into their shady voting tactics of using dead people, fictitious people, and double voting.

      This new system would be ultra efficient, cut down on human errors (especially in recounts), damn near eradicate fraud, and end up saving money each election cycle and in the long run.

      Time to step into the 21st century and respect the “one person, one vote” concept our republic is established upon.

      • Fred

        Exactly. DFL opposes it because the KNOW that faulty votes would not be allowed. 2 major elections have been won by these faulty voting tactics used by the DFL. “vouching” for strangers is the main fraud. voting even those not even citizens is the other. double voting is a third…etc, etc.

      • Joe

        I think the DFL is afraid that those that are without money to pay for people to get an ID won’t have a voice. That is what they are concerned about. If there is a provision to pay for a State ID then what’s the problem? Eliminating Voter Fraud is in the best interest for all parties. Remember Election 2000 for President was allegedly full of Fraud. Remember that was a Republican State with a brother of the then elected president and a Secretary State that was wanting to become Ambassador to Tahiti. Fraud is on both sides of the isle. It’s time we cut down the chances of fraud and if this is one way to lessen the chances than great, let’s do it. No, I’m not a Demorat or a Republicon.

      • Jason

        Very good points. I was thinking the same thing in reference to the cost a MN state id and to the cost of recounting. Also I thought it was state law to posess a MN state id at age 18???

  • stace

    Not everyone with the right to vote has a photo id. If you don’t drive, but want to vote you will need to go through the hastle of getting a state id. And if you don’t drive it will be a hassel.

    • TP

      The argument about the inconvenience it will create for people who don’t drive can be offset by the fact that these same inconvenienced people are the ones that the Democrats take pride in getting rides for them so they can vote. Also, getting the photo id is only a one-time process. I’m sure the Dems can find rides for these people to the local id office.

    • Sherrie

      Too bad. Life is full of hard stuff. It’s a lot of hassle to go to school and get all your paperwork together. You’d think that one would support going through a little trouble to prove they are a US citizen and vote for our next elected official. If it’s too much hassle to get an ID then maybe they shouldn’t be troubled with going through the process of voting. After all, it’s just too much work to get yourself out and vote at the local school anyhow.

  • Dan

    And I quote: “Critics say fraud is not a widespread problem in Minnesota elections and that the new requirement would be expensive and hard to administer” But it IS a problem nonetheless and since it’s supposedly hard and expensive, we shouldn’t do it??? HUH???

  • Steve

    Where are the jobs????Steve

  • Tom

    You promised us JOBS!!!!!

    • Dave

      So in your fantasy world it should have been instantaneous? I see Liberals who have not complained about the MILLIONS of jobs lost under Zero now complaining that in 30 days the jobs have not returned? And we have a Dem president and a Dem governor who will block realiistic GOP measure to create a climate where jobc can be created. Stop drinking the Kool Aid and open your mind.

  • soapboxgod

    So let me see if I get this straight…government bureaucrats concoct a plan to subsidize the transition to digital television vis a’ vis vouchers so people can flippin’ watch TV and yet apparently the idea of providing a subsidy for the sake of maintaining voter integrity just doesn’t enter the mental processes of these bureaucrats? Yeah that sounds about where we’re at.


  • Mark

    Stace, if someone can walk to the polls, they can walk to get their ID. If they take the bus to the polls, they can take the bus to get their ID. Same hassle for different reason.

  • David Schaal

    Issue: Voter Fraud
    Solution: require photo ID
    Issue: Charging for a Photo ID which is required to vote is a form of Poll Tax
    Solution: Give Photo ID’s to non-drivers who are eligible to vote.
    Issue: This would be expensive.
    Question: Does the amount of voter fraud we have justify the expense of creating photo ids for all voters?
    I think everyone should have a photo id, so I don’t see a problem.

    • Election Worker

      So the veterans (many of whom fought to protect your right to vote) who are now on the street with no permanent address can’t participate in the very process they risked their lives for?

      The level of voter fraud simply does not justify the expense and administrative overhead proposed by this bill.

      Tell me—how do you propose to handle absentee ballots?

      • M

        How is it handled now ?? Just let anyone walk in off the st. from anywhere to vote in any district? If you are in fact an election worker your comment proves there needs to be more control over elections and election workers.

      • Alan

        Exactly, M. We’ll see soon enough how much voter fraud there is after this has been put in place. It will be interesting to see how the election goes despite the Dems trying to block this measure. what a farce. Why wouldn’t they want to uphold a standard that requires to prove who they say they are? Clearly their scared of elections not going their way if they want to block this.

      • Tom

        Absentee ballots would be handled the same way. You show your ID to get the ballot at the courthouse, cast your vote and go on with the rest of your day. I do not see what the problem is with showing your ID. You have to do it to drive, drink, get travel documents, cash a check, etc. If you have the ID already there is zero hassle. If you need one, get one. If you can’t afford it the state furnishes it free of charge. The cost of furnishings photo IDs to those who can’t afford it has got to be a lot cheaper than doing a recount.
        And to those who claim voter fraud in the last two recounts, the light of day has yet to see any solid proof of fraud in the past two elections, in spite of all of the claims. If there is proof, show it. I doubt any significant fraud has taken place but I still do feel that showing proof of ID is a GREAT idea

  • Election Worker

    Let’s see… The very same legislature which wants to eliminate background checks/permits for purchasing a firearm nowwants to mandate an ID card while casting a ballot.

    Didn’t everyone already provide proof of residence via photo ID (or being vouched by someone with a valid photo ID) when they registered? All those who insist this will “help” with voting integrity have never worked an election when you are overwhelmed with voters in a hurry to vote and be on their way. Validating an ID for every individual who is already on the official precinct register will only serve to clog up the process, requiring MORE workers, equipment and tax dollars. What do you propose to do counterfit IDs?

    There is a reason why this bill is partisan—Republicans want to disenfranchise voters of lesser means. They’ve previously tried to do this with poll taxes and literacy tests—all of which were ruled Unconstitutional.

    • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

      @Election Worker none of your statements hold water

      • Election Worker

        Hey Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste—what are your qualifications for quoting Minnesota Election Law? Yes, you do have to establish proof of residency when registering. Look up MN 201.016.

        And I “seriously” doubt you’ve ever lifted a finger to help out anything concerning public service. All talk, but you can’t do the walk.

    • Brian

      Disenfranchise voters? You must live in an alternate universe.

      Look at all the questionable votes Franken had in 2008. Dayton had some questionable ones as well. We all know that fraudulent voting tactics were used by the DFL, and have been used largely by the Democrats across the country in national elections (remember ACORN’s problems?).

      This will decrease voter disenfranchisement! Can you think of a more disenfranchising event than to have your vote canceled out by a dead person, a fictitious person, or someone voting twice? That is the epitome of disenfranchisement!

      Besides, the people, if any, that this would most likely impact are poor people, namely poor minorities, and young adults. THOSE PEOPLE RARELY VOTE ANYWAY! So if there were an impact, which I do not even fathom that there will be, the impact is very minute.

      Also, this bill has money set aside to make sure anyone that may encounter a problem getting an ID, will be sure to get one. And if a person waits until the last possible second to solve their voting dilemma, then they only have themselves to blame, not a high-tech, efficient new system. It’s their own laziness and procrastination.

      • Election Worker

        Hey Brian, hate to break the news to you but EVERY challenge issued by the Coleman campaign alleging fraud was shot down UNANIMOUSLY by a bi-partisan canvassing board or judicial panel—including the State Supreme Court.

  • Mark

    Election Worker, for discussion sake, if there is “less crime, but still some crime” where someone lives, they should not be afforded police/fire/ambulance service because it simply doesn’t justify the cost to have “someone there, just in case”?

  • Country Bumkin

    Mark: It iss obvious to me that you live near a place where you think it will be easy to get a photo ID. How about those seniors who have let their drivers license go and don’t drive anymore and live in the country maybe 20 miles or more from the county seat? By the way, cutting local government aid to counties and cities is making it harder to get transportation in the country as well.

    • Brian

      If those seniors are going to have a hard time getting a state ID, don’t you think they will have an equally hard time finding a way to the voting station come election time to use that “hard to come by” state ID?

      And if they can find a way to go vote, then they can surely find a way to get a state ID.

  • Victim Du Jour

    Appointed Judges will dismiss the law anyway.

    They should have the law as a ballot measure and have it properly added to the State Constitution so Judges can’t dismiss an ID law.

  • Lisa Gonyea

    Election worker..I also am an election judge…and I don’t see the problem. Many of the poor voters smoke..and if I am correct the price of a pack of cigarettes is over 5 dollars…hopefullly they can see to spend 5 dollars or so for the privilege to vote..not a right, a privilege. I can be revoked.

  • Fanny Brice

    You can’t just stroll into a polling place and vote. You have to be in the correct precinct. Very unlikely someone will go to the trouble to make sure when they vote under their brother-in-law’s name, they’ll make sure to be in the correct place.

    • Joe

      Oh,and you have to give them your signature as well.

  • Ben

    So, If you’re all so sure that there is a fraud problem, then you shouldn’t worry about a waiting for a study that will back you up… except that it won’t. The Bush administration commisioned a 5 year study on voter fraud, and then buried the results because, as every study that has ever looked into this shows, there is absolutely no evidence of voter fraud of any appreciable level. Studies of voter id disenfranchisement show that it is very real. Nationwide, 11% of eligible voters don’t have photo IDs. That’s a lot of disefranchised poor people to fix an imaginary problem. Or a lot of money to make sure that everyone has IDs. Google “Bush voter fraud study” and “voter id studies” if you don’t believe me.

    • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste


      • Election Worker

        @Mark… what exactly is your idea of “truth”? What you hear on Fox News?

    • Martin M

      Yeah, poor people who receive a hefty amount in welfare and can still afford to spend money on cigarettes. If you’re poor and can’t afford how to take advantage of the taxpayers money yet, then maybe you don’t have enough intellectual ability to vote.

      • Election Worker

        Oh great… we’re back to demanding literacy tests.

  • ann

    so why does thsi site show black women when writing about the ID’s. Who the voter ID really hurts is the elderly. Great going GOP..

    • Donna

      I have been an election judge many times in Minnesota and I know how easy it is to vote twice there!! I live in Florida now and they require a photo ID here to vote. There’s no registering on the same day as an election either!!
      And as far as hurting older people?? They needed to prove their identity to receive Medicare and SS Benefits!!

  • ann

    GOP hates women and non-whites. Check out their bills they put forth

    • Victim Du Jour

      Voter ID laws have nothing to do with race at all.

      Nerdy white liberals like inciting civil unrest when people don’t vote for their way.

    • Frank

      Oh please, Ann. The Dems have you snowblowed, don’t they? They love that you buy into that rhetoric. That’s what they rely on, “non whites” and women that are angry and feel like they’ve been victimized by society. You’ve bought their ideas because you refuse to consider the fact that Republicans are much more than what you say they are; face it, you’re an angry woman who is unhappy with life and you want someone to blame.

  • Dave

    Election Worker:
    What the Legislature wants to eliminate is the State Permit to Purchase for handguns. Buyers still have to pass a Federal instant background check, so the state permit is redundant, and costly to police in time and money. Money which can be spent better elsewhere.
    Also, I grew up in a state (IN) where ID was required at the polls. It was never a problem there. We did not have cases of voter fraud, but back in the day people were basically more honest.

    • Election Worker

      I was born in Indiana. The Hoosier state ranked 47th out of 50 states for voter turnout in the 2002 election. So… you DO have a problem…

      Voter ID = disenfranchisement

      • Dave

        Oh, please. This is a specious argument aking to blaming pothole bumps for miscarriages. First you have to prove there is a link between your ’cause’ and your ‘effect’. This is a typical liberal tactic, to take two disconnected items and link them in such a way to come to a predetermined conclusion.

        All I see from your responses is a fear that voters will have to prove their ID to vote. Instead you would like to see the possibility of illegals voting.

      • Election Worker

        Ok Dave. How are you going to validate said “ID” at the precincts? Just glance at the tiny photo? I look at the employee ID badges at work all the time. Those who have been there awhile don’t come close to resembling their current appearance.

        Perhaps you want electronic verification—sort of like a point-of-sale system? Sure, lets just magically wire up thousands of precincts. I’m an IT guy and know how challenging that would be.

        Out of nearly 3.5 million votes cast in Minnesota in 2008, we can document perhaps 2 dozen valid instances of “fraud”. But hey, let’s spend another $120 million and get that number down to a single dozen.

        You will never eliminate 100% of the errors or fraud, no matter how much you spend. But, as we saw in Florida during the 2000 elections, it’s very easy to wipe out several tens of thousands of voters who just “might” not vote for your candidate.

  • chfnelson

    Ann, I see your comment as hateful. If the GOP hates women, why was Sarah on the ballot? How do you explain all the Black Republicans and women voted into office? Stop drinking the Kool Aid and open your mind.

  • Ben

    Oh, and by the way. The proposed bill, requiring photo ID for voting, would be the most restrictive ID bill in the country. Less than half of all states require some form of ID. Only 4 states currently require photo IDs, but all those allow voters without one to sign a sworn affidavit in order to cast a regular ballot. This new bill has no provision for that. Do we really want to be the guinea pigs to see exactly how much this sort of requirement depresses turnout. I think that everyone who is complaining about voter fraud, should do some research to see if there is really any evidence of this before so callously throwing up barriers that keep their fellow citizens from voting. Otherwise, can we please get back to dealing with REAL problems. Lord knows, there are enough of them.

    • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

      @Ben Once again you make these statements without even backing them up. Didn’t you work for ACORN? I thought so

    • Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste

      @Ben This is how your comments are being read, Blah Blah Blah I’m a liberal so I know nothing

  • Victim Du Jour

    Joshua Reed was arrested with over 300 bogus voter Registration cards in the trunk of his car at the Minneapolis/St Paul airport. Franken was able to use over 300 completely missing ballots for his vote totals in Election 2008.

    Joshua Reed is not the only former ACORN worker convicted of a felony for Voter Registration Fraud.

    A Voter ID law will make it harder to double count ballots.

    • Ben

      A Voter ID law would change neither of these issues. It only catches voter fraud by impersonation, which is already easy to determine after the fact, when either the real person shows up to vote, or the state updates the voter registration system, which happens routinely.

      Oh, and it was 133 missing ballots, and Coleman got to use them too. And the number of distributed ballots in Dinkytown matched the number of ballots the machine counted, and it included the 133 missing ones, so it was pretty obvious that they were missing, and not double counted. You don’t need a Voter ID law to check that.

    • Election Worker

      Victim Du Jour… and your accusation was sustained by which Supreme Court finding again? Oh. right… Coleman lost every challenge by a unanimous decision.

      • Victim Du Jour

        Only because the appointed Judges don’t know how to read, and makes up rules on their own like a dictatorship.

      • Election Worker

        Oh jeeze… More snippets of wisdom from the right wingnuts… MN Supreme Court Justices aren’t appointed.

        I’m pretty sure all of them know how to read.

  • Don

    Enough with with the voter fraud thing. There are a lot more pressing problems to be addressed, The budget, being the most important, next i would put Education, and 3rd Iwould be Transportation/Road Improvement. and then there several other areas that needs addressing. Voter Fraud should should be the least of them.,

    • Jack

      Yes, Don, but we’re talking about this article. If you want to address the other problems then go blog somewhere else. Why do you even bother? The fact is, the Democrats are clearly afraid that it will go against their favor to have accountability among the voters. Why else would they object to verifying someone’s ID? It’s just like the illegal immigrant situation. They dont’ want to lose support of the voters that are legal immigrants because their families that are illegal are here. They should have a state ID too to prove they are a US citizen. But the democrats don’t want that, there’s clearly an ulterior motive here.

      • Election Worker

        Hey Jack… How many “illegal immigrants” actually voted in our last election? A guess doesn’t count. And since when does a state ID “prove” US citizenship? I know of many foreign nationals who are legally issued MN drivers licenses.

        I doubt the true objective of this legislation is to prevent hordes of Canadians crossing our borders to vote in Minnesota elections.

      • Jack

        No, dumb dumb. Canadians aren’t the issue. The issue is having people who aren’t registered to vote (they would have to be a US citizen) verify that they indeed, may vote. No one knows how many illegal immigrants voted and that isn’t the issue. The issue is fraud. You obviously need it spelled out for you – the democrats rake in the minority vote which include hispanics, who have family that are not yet citizens of the US. Therefore they would prefer lawmakers that would be easy on their family being here illegally. That was the parallel I was attempting to create. It’s not about them driving, although it’s scary that some have drivers licenses and can’t read English well.

      • Election Worker

        This is absurd. So all that is required to “prove” US citizenship is a driver’s license? Then why aren’t the birther movement people demanding Obama simply show us his Illinois driver’s license to “prove” his citizenship?

        I could vote if I were in the military (I am a vet and former unit voting officer) and held a military ID and an out-of-state driver’s license Guess what???? You don’t even have to be a US citizen to serve in the military. Or hold a state driver license.

  • dphilips

    Voter ID cards will only pose a hardship for the elderly, the poor, and the handicapped, or in other words those who have the most difficult time obtaining them. These groups typically vote Democratic. The Republicans realize this,
    and fully know voter I.D. would give them an edge at the polls.
    Seems the Republicans are the ones complaining about less government, less
    spending. Do you know what implementing voter I.D. would cost?

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