Voter ID Could End Up On 2012 Ballot

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota Republican leaders unveiled a new and controversial possibility for a constitutional amendment on Tuesday.

They want to require voters to show a photo ID when they cast a ballot.

The announcement came just one week after Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a voter ID bill, calling it too partisan. The amendment would go on the 2012 election ballot.

Public opinion surveys show up to 80 percent of Minnesotans support voter ID, an unusually high number in politics, and a powerful incentive for Republicans who have been trying to pass it for years.

“Elections and the right to vote is probably the most important right that we have,” said Republican Senator Scott Newman from Hutchinson, the chief Senate author of the bill. “We have to protect it.”

But Minnesota elections officials said there’s little evidence of voting irregularity.

In 2008 for example, Ramsey County had 278,000 voters. County officials said they later charged 61 felons for illegal voting, and 19 other for illegally registering to vote.

That’s a compliance rate of 99.97 percent.

“It strikes me that with a small problem you are attempting to deal with it with a very onerous and disproportionate solution,” said Joe Mansky, Ramsey County elections director.

Voter ID bills are advancing around the country. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker recently signed one into law.

The Badger State is one of 13 passing new voter restrictions in just the last two months.

And the chief sponsor of Minnesota’s bill, the former Secretary of State, calls it a ‘safeguard’ against what might happen here.

“How do i know if that’s a stranger, that they are who they say they are, and any proof of where they live?” asked Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake. “You don’t know. ”

Democrats said voter ID is part of a national Republican strategy to suppress turnout, when the focus should be Minnesota’s budget.

“Republicans are unable to enact a balanced budget into law,” said Rep. Ryan Winkler Golden Valley.  “Yet they are able to kowtow to the extreme base of their party.”

More from Pat Kessler
  • th

    The legislature should take care of the budget instead of coming up with other ways to try and sneak things by the Governor.

    • Joe Hanson

      The Legislature did take of the budget. They delivered a balanced budget to Governor Dayton who then vetoed all budget bills except for Agriculture.

      Governor Dayton and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” want a Government shutdown putting State employees on the unemployment line.

  • pat

    Putting issues before the voters is hardly sneaking things by the Governor. We have a problem with fixed elections in this state, thank you ACORN and to have legitamate voters casting their ballot shouldn’t be offensive to anyone. As far as the budget goes, I believe the legislature has many duties not just budgetary and as we have all seen, if they even try to slow spending, i.e. last time the budget was 30 Bill nowit is 34 Bill let alone reduce spending the Governor insists on veteoing the legislation.

    • Patrick PatPat Lilja

      The “problem” is that the GOP lost those elections. They’re all for democracy and choice until the people pick someone else.

      • TwoVoteChuck

        Remember when “Franken”stein had more votes in Hennepin county then registered voters??

        • Proud American

          Hard to believe a Democrat would cheat in an election…

          • Jim

            People who have proof that Democrats cheated in elections should bring it up with the proper authorities. It’s illegal to tamper with elections. Otherwise, it’s just the usual GOP whining. The party of “personal responsibility” does anything but take responsibility when they lose an election.

            Anyone who thinks that election fraud is limited to one party or the other is completely clueless, hopelessly partisan, or both.

            • TwoVoteChuck
              • Jim

                TwoVoteChuck, allow me to quote myself: “Anyone who thinks that election fraud is limited to one party or the other is completely clueless, hopelessly partisan, or both.”

            • Jake

              That’s interesting, Jim. Unfortunately, it isn’t just cheating that’s a problem: the appearance of cheating is damaging, too. We have repeatedly seen blocks of votes unaccounted for by any objective basis. Courts have not thrown the votes out because they can’t tell for whom the improper votes were cast and determined it is a greater vice to not count valid votes than it is to let in improper ones. When questionable votes exceed the margin of victory, the legitimacy of the election is fairly questioned.

              In MN, questionable votes/close results scenarios have appeared to inure to the benefit of the DFL in recent elections. Likewise, the refusal to accept absentee votes from soldiers has likely been to the benefit of DFL candidates. Cases of votes “found” outside of the normal process (think “car trunk” votes in Minneapolis) are more “proven” than any alleged barrier to voters from having to show an ID. Anyone who doesn’t see election integrity is enhanced by a fair, broad ID process is completely clueless, hopelessly partisan, or both.

              • Jim

                Jake, I support photo ID to vote. I’m surprised it hasn’t been a law for decades. I’m not sure how you read my post to suggest otherwise.

            • Slick Willie

              GOP Whining? Tell me about Al Gore… Please, entertain me… btw… did “Clinton” have anything to do with his loss?

              “Depends on what the definition of is is” – William Jefferson Clinton

              • Mr. Walleye

                “Have you seen my weiner?” – Mr. Weiner, Current Democratic House of Representatives.

  • Mr. Walleye

    America – Let the people decide, rathar than a one Governor!!

    • I second

      Right on!!

      About friggin time!

    • Amanda

      So I say… AMERICA don’t vote for president or governors no more… we can all decided about every single issue that affect our country… COME ONE, IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP TO REALITY… GOP NEEDS TO BE WORKING ON A BUDGET NOT MORE BALLOTS FOR 2012

  • Chuck

    Pat: Just where do you get the idea that we have any amount of voter fraud in this state? I believe the last two elections have shown that this is a fix looking for a problem. How about they do their job and get together and do a budget!

    • wow stupid

      Uh….. really?

    • Proud American

      See: Al Franken. Case closed.

      • Jim

        Case closed? I don’t get it. Franken was elected Senator. What proof do you have that his election was fraudulent?

        • NoProof?Really??
          • Here is one

            I love the example of Two Harbors… Ever hear that one Jim?

            hmmm… a little fishy don’t you think?

            200 extra ballots that were left in that leftists car all for Franken.

            • Jim

              It seems to me that if there was provable voter fraud that benefited the Democrats in the last Senate election, the Republicans would have done everything in their power and spent their last penny to show that proof to the public. Why did Norm Coleman eventually concede the election if there is so much evidence of fraud?

              As I posted earlier, I support photo ID to vote and do not consider myself a Dem or Rep. I get upset with both sides when they make excuses for lost elections. No one ever lost an election, it was always stolen.

              • Johnson

                Proof Really?
                Can’t make that a valid point when its published by the right wing group Minnesota Majority… Stop being such a idiot who bases their beliefs on skewed media!

                • FactsDon'tLie

                  Johnson, I bet your one that believe that we should raise taxes on the top 2% because Alliance for a Better Minnesota says so…. Did you even read the report from Minnesota Majority?

  • Jake

    I love the idea that the fraud has to be “widespread” before it is appropriate for the Governor to sign a bill passed by both chambers and supported by 80% of voters (by virtually every poll). I mean, murder isn’t exactly “widespread” is it? To think we’ve been wasting all these resources to address homicide.

    Dayton should have the huevos to simply say it: “Yes, there is a small incidence of fraud in our voting system (that mystically has no identity verification despite its ease), but my party is the overwhelming beneficiary of the fraud. I cry ‘Disenfrachisement!'”

    • James2

      Jake, Do you remember when Bush the 2nd was selected by, oops, I mean elected by the Supreme Court in 2000? And Florida voter fraud helpe who?

      • Jake

        James2: How could any of us forget the Florida fiasco? The problem with your argument is that the Florida matter was not related to voter fraud (despite your bizarre claim that it was), but rather to the capacity to figure out for whom who voters had actually voted on their ballots. If somebody in Florida was saying they should continue with a system of confusing ballots in Democratic-leaning districts, then the GOP would be doing the same thing as Dayton.

        To the contrary, I believe Republicans have universally been seeking to improve voting processes and voter legitimacy. There might be exceptions to that, but I am unaware of them.

  • awesome

    Oh lordy hallalujah! Thank God!

    I WANT to be asked for ID… especially if I am required to have a liscense to buy beer, or cigarettes, or drive, or use my credit card…..

  • mpls sux

    It helps to create a more clear, clean, HONEST solution, I am down for it.

  • Who are we?

    How corrupt have we become, that ANYONE would question this bill?

    • Les Johnson

      I think we should all have to show ID to vote. But, shouldn’t bills be brought to legislature in order to solve an actual problem? So if this becomes law, then what? What changes, and what is fixed? What massive voter fraud is this going to fix? And let’s be specific here. How many people are accused of voting twice, or not being a legal, registered voter that voted? What leak are we plugging up here exactly?

  • Why do we need our elected officials?

    Amazing. Our elected officials will have us voting on gay marriage, photo IDs to vote, and the Lord only knows what else. Pretty much everything that DOESN’T affect our taxes.

    But, can we vote on supporting a Vikings or other sports stadium? Of course not, that would make too much sense!

    They can’t balance the budget but they’re masters at not being able to accomplish anything productive.

    • stupid party politics

      If we eliminated the Democrat & Republican parties, things would probably be a lot easier. They are so busy p*ssy footing around issues, they are failing to do anything of any importance.

    • fishtowner

      I’ve thought the same thing a couple of times. If the legislature is going to pass everything on as a constitutional amendment, why don’t we just eliminate the legislature altogether! The various government agencies could submit their budgets directly to the people for a vote. Photo ID’s, who we choose to marry and some of the other efforts at social engineering this group is intent on instituting would be eliminated. A true government of the people.

  • Ali

    I don’t care if voter fraud isn’t a widespread problem, I have never understood why we don’t show an ID to vote. I have to prove who I am for just about everything else in this country, why shouldn’t we have to show proof of identity to vote. Seriously, why wait until there is a problem to take such an easy step.

  • movesalot

    This is awesome, more money for the state now since everytime someone moves (and wants to vote) they will need to update some kind of gov id. What a pain in the rear.

    • Bruce

      And the problem is? ?

      If you drive, when you move you must apply for a new DL stating your new address. I actually think it’s not a bad idea, but I have lost patience with the legislature which can’t take care of serious issues it was instituted to handle. Referenda for emotiional issues to add to the constitution is a sorry cop out. If gays join the the state church that the legilature will want to add have added to our constitution, will they be able to marry at that altar?

  • Jackal

    The vast majority of voters would have no problem showing an ID before voting. If that ID doesn’t have a current address, then there should be other ways of proving you are who you say you are — but there should be strict rules around it. If a few voters can’t vote because they have no proof of current residence, so be it.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that those who would have a problem with this are in fact illegal voters — whether that’s because they’re simply voting out of district or if they are a non-citizen and shouldn’t be voting at all. The first group there could be from either party trying to “fix” the election, the second group would be all Democrat voters — hence the Dayton objection.

  • Jackal

    RE: movesalot — you need to do that anyway, no? You have to have a state ID, and if you move you only have so long to get it updated. You can’t move and keep the same old driver’s license.

  • Fishtowner

    If I recall, correctly, actual voter fraud in the past couple of elections numbered in the hundreds at most. Ballots questioned because of improper signing etc were a much larger number but they were not fraudulent. When you stack even a 1000 cases of voter fraud (GOP’ers can commit voter fraud too so this would not just be ACORN DFL people as mentioned by another poster). against a voter turnout over a million the percentage is insignificant and hardly worth the money it would cost and the number of voters who could be disenfranchised. I feel this is a non-problem that doesn’t need a fix.

    • TwoVoteChuck

      FTA – “First and foremost, we discovered that the number of voters accounted for having cast a ballot in the secretary of state’s voter files did not match the number of ballots certified by the election canvassing board. There were approximately 40,000 more ballots counted than voter histories to account for them.”

      • fishtowner

        I’m not familiar with this information but I’ll look for my own edification. That being said does this mean there was 40,000 cases of voter fraud or 40,000 cases of improper data entry or data collection. This also does not mean that one party received all of the 40,000 votes that you mention. How does voter ID checking prevent data entry or data collection problems?

      • fishtowner

        Minnesota majority appears to be a partisan group supporting the GOP and its candidates. How about a non-partisan link that shows the same information.

        • LuckyChucky

          MN Majority does indeed support the GOP but thier report is not biased in my opinion. Their report is just showing the inconsistencies of MNs voting system.

  • Mary Suemnick

    And why is it that the party that likes to be known as not the “Democrat Party”, rather the, “Democratic Party”…..wants to deny the citizens of the state the right to VOTE!!?
    With close elections happening more and more, it makes perfect sense to make sure voting is honest and accurate.

    • Les Johnson

      Who would be denied the right to vote?

  • Swamp Rat

    Balance the budget and get the state solvent again before you start doing social issue legislation. You have spent more time on photo ID’s than the budget. Get to work or lose your job in your next election time!!!!!!!!!

    • me again

      Hey, this would create jobs. So shut up.

  • two cents


    This voter ID is a great thing… But remember, there is also other voting tactics to clean up. Like, same day registration, or absentee ballots without a PROPER cause.

    Ideally, it would be nice to have to swipe your license to track ON FILE, that YOU voted in the current election, and that you can’t be counted AGAIN for multiple ballots.

    • tom


  • Incredulous1

    A complete waste of time Repubs. Nothing like zeroing in on the non-issues. Come on – do something useful!

  • Ruth

    I’m all for showing photo ID to vote; however, does a photo ID prove that the voter is actually eligible to vote – a legal citizen for example? It seems to me anyone can sign my name and vote without any proof of who they actually are.There are countless things to correct in this state and country; let’s focus on the important things for now.

    • foster

      Has anyone who has commented ever actually cast an absentee ballot? Registered on electionday? Been an election judge?

      A solution in search of a problem – there is a company that sells the equipment required, I’d wager. I wonder if they are based in Minnesota, or plan to send the equipment in from soemwhere else?

      Election judges at my precinct recognize the neighbors, require a current utility bill with your name on it, or someone who is already registered in the precinct to vouch for a potential registrant on election day.
      To get an absentee ballot, I had to produce ID, and sign an afidavit. My name got checked off the precinct list – as in I had already voted and couldn’t show up in person to vote again.

      This exchange would be less offensive if the participants were knowledgable.

  • tom

    A state ID or a state DL should be required from all who vote as proof of residency, what that also means is ID’s will have to be up to date to vote in their district.

  • Jason


  • PJO

    I don’t understand why showing proper ID when voting is that big of a deal. I always bring proper ID to the polls. Showing proper ID at the polls makes it harder to commit voter fraud and keeps elections fair no matter what party/canidate you vote for. I think its just common sense too, whats wrong with proving who you are and where you live?

  • Incredulous1

    Hey. I’m really afraid my neighbor’s going to get an elephant any day now and that elephant’s going to tromp on my garden and ruin my way of life!

    I do believe that we need a constitutional amendment pronto to prevent this rampant liberal pet buildup ’cause the Gov’s not going to do anything about it.

  • Two Time Tea

    I 100% agree! You need an ID to vote…..I went to vote one year….and there was a check mark next to my name….and the nice old election official said “oh they must have marked the wrong person” and I voted anyway!

    Hmmm……..and we base our Government on this?

    Here is an idea on top of this….you can’t vote if you don’t have or QUALIFY for an ID….. In order to QUALIFY for an ID you must:

    #1- Pass a Drug test (proves you are of sound mind and body)
    #2- NOT be on any type of “public assistance” such as welfare or food stamps, or unemployment. (Why WOULD we allow you to vote when the Govt is paying your way! We think it’s bad when an elected public official is on the take…why would it be any different with the PUBLIC!)

    Heck..if we adopted #2…I would say we can SKIP #1!!!!!

    • Les Johnson

      “#1- Pass a Drug test (proves you are of sound mind and body)”

      What goes in my body is my business, and not yours.

      You want poor people to not be allowed to vote?

      You sir, are an idiot.

  • Vote, and Vote Often

    What a waste of the taxpayer’s money.

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