Dayton, Ritchie Call for Photo ID Alternative

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Governor Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Thursday they have a better alternative to a voter ID amendment.

It’s called an electronic poll book.  Along with legislators from both parties on Thursday, they promoted a device they say is inexpensive and would cut down on voter fraud.

“Poll books is something that we want, it’s something we can use to bring our election system into the 21st century,” said Ritchie.

Instead of asking people to bring id’s to the polls, election officials would look up existing drivers’ license photos in the motor vehicles data base or they would take a new picture right on the spot. They said this would not disenfranchise the elderly or minorities.

“There’s 84,000 people in Minnesota who don’t carry a photo ID, don’t need it but their photo could be inside of the system,” said Ritchie. “This is also very inexpensive and the electronic poll books gives us some other options for reducing costs after the elections.”

He also said the electronic books would cost the state about $10 million, which is less than the $30 million that’s estimated for a voter photo identification system.

Not everyone is on board with this plan. State Representative Mary Kiffmeyer said the electronic poll book is not an acceptable substitute on her proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to bring photo IDs to the polls.

“Any technology that still allows vouching is not an acceptable substitute for photo ID’s for voters,” said Kiffmeyer.

Gov. Mark Dayton is optimistic that both Democrats and Republicans can come up with a solution.

“I’m hopeful they will be able to persuade their colleagues that this is a far better route to go,” Dayton said.

Last year, Dayton vetoed a bill that would require a photo ID for voting.

Sonya Goins, Producer
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