Esme’s Blog: Voter ID and MN’s Record Turnouts

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the Minnesota Senate approved a voter ID bill, critics expressed concerns about the unintended consequences.

What about minority voters, what about the elderly, what about students who have just moved to the state or from different cities to be near campuses? The consequence that could be the most striking is Minnesota’s record of leading the nation in voter turnout.

In 2008, Minnesota had the highest voter turnout in the nation with 77.8 percent of eligible voters casting ballots. An estimated 500,000 people registered that day. Presumably, many of those same day registrants had IDs that did not reflect their current addresses.

Under the voter ID bill that was passed by the Senate, those people without IDs could cast provisional ballots and then would have to make a second trip to election officials either that day or later to show the proper ID. The provisional ballot, at minimum, would add a layer of bureaucracy and would undoubtedly create delays in obtaining final vote results.

There are a number of steps that still have to take place for voter ID to become law. The Minnesota House and Senate must reconcile the differences in their bills. Once on the ballot, voters must approve the measure.

If this does in fact become state law, one consequence would almost certainly be fewer same day registrations. That in turn would have to affect Minnesota’s history of delivering record voter turnouts.

More from Esme Murphy
  • stubby

    You need an ID to open a bank account, buy beer, drive a car, etc., etc, etc. What law prevents minorities from gettin an ID? Why can’t the elderly get an ID? Prove who you and vote. If they can find their way to the voting booth, they can find their way to the court house to get a state ID. Esme, don’t your arms get tired from carrying the water for the liberal left?

    • KLS

      There is no voter fraud,as hard as they’ve tried theyncouldn’t find any, but that doesn’t stop the Rabid right republicans. I’ve voted without problems for 41 years and don’t intend showing an I.D.

      • Tommy Solo

        If this bill doesn’t become law than I don’t think anyone should should be required to show I.D. to buy firearms, cigarettes or alcohol either. Bringing in a current utility bill or having a total stranger vouch for ya should be enough…..I’m feeling disenfranchised!

        • Rocket Scientist

          Yea because those are rights and not privelages. Idiot

    • Ruth

      I agree with everything you say. There is no excuse for any LEGAL American citizen not to have photo I.D. of some sort.

      And, while we’re at it, ANYONE who receives state assistance should have photo ID to prove who they are.

      This prospective law doesn’t discriminate anyone LEGAL; only the liberals will use this as an excuse for the upcoming election.

      Our national elections should use just ONE type of ballot; all candidates should be listed alphabetically and in English only. Do away with the electoral college and all the waste of money for 4 years prior to an election. Four years of campaigning is 3 years and 9 months too long!

      • John O

        The bills call for GOVERNMENT-ISSUED ID, not just any photo ID. It also must have the current address.

      • rockfish

        Some older voters don’t have a birth certificate. there is no proof of any sort of coordinated or massie fraud. This is just party politics to make some people warm and fuzzy about something that is not a problem.

    • No sheep here

      I wonder why they don’t just call this “The Keith Ellison Show” instead of the news? News implies something you have never heard before and I think we all know where Ellison stands on every issue?
      Maybe if they got a better looking anchor they could get a variety of guests or even real news? Good thing there is cable so I can change the channel!!! Do it often as so many I know do.

      • richard

        To “no sheep” Why don’t you just watch faux news. They will tell you everything you want to hear. With respect to wcco and Esme. if you don’t want to hear both sides of an issue and You don’t want to be confused by facts….then don’t listen to wcco. Listen to limbaugh, hannity etc. and the other conservative demagogues who never engage in fairness, objectivity, cival, and intelligent discourse. I think you will be more confortable in that environment.

        • Brett

          Do you mean like ed shultz? Rarely has a bigger moron hit the airwaves.

        • No sheep here

          richard, I tried to watch MSNBC but I went blind from their ugly rhetoric and then I saw Sharpton inciting a race riot.
          I’m really aware of the facts thanks. MN has a mentally impaired Gov., and a has been comedian for a senator. Why would I just listen to them?

      • Jeff the ref

        Yee Haa. You are right on!

  • John O

    The only form of voter fraud that the photo ID would help prevent is voter impersonisation. There have been no cases of that in Minnesota — and that is an easy one to catch — if two people show up at the polls and claim to be, say, John O’Connor at 1234 Shady Lake Road, then it would be clear that somebody was lying. (When you show up, you declare your name and address and sign the book by your name and address. So if someone comes meandering in later claiming the same name and address, the poll worker can easily see that that person has already voted. So they would have an incidence of fraud — by one or the other of the two. But has that ever happened? No. Clearly the only purpose of this law is to disproportionately disenfranchise women, elderly, minorities, and other groups — all progressive – leaning on average.

    • O John

      People vote in multiple polling places all the time. 2 students decide they want to cast 4 ballots in an election. Each student has a different polling location. The accompany each other to each location, one vouches for the other as they live in that polling region. 4 votes are cast instead of two. This is an organized practice by student on most campuses in the US. Voter registration rolls are never compared to see if a new registrants appear/voted in another location. And before you say prove it…I say prove they don’t.

    • stubby

      Women aren’t allowed to get an ID? Minorities can’t get an ID? Other groups…what other groups….can’t get an ID? Why can’t these people get an ID? Geez John O, i must have missed the law that was passed to prevent these people from getting an ID. Wow, glad I got mine before I wasn’t allowed to get one.

      • Sam

        Stubby, have you ever been in a situation where you have no ID, little income, have to rely on someone else for transportation, and are struggling just to manage to get by each day?

        A state ID costs money. To you or me, it’s a handful of dollars. To someone else, it might be several meals. Nowhere in either the state or the federal constitution does it say that only those who can afford an ID, or who can find a way to get to the licensing center, deserve representation.

        • Brett

          Yeah, I see people like that in the casinos and bingo halls often…. OH WAIT, if you win more than $100, you MUST show an ID, at least in most bingo halls. So, you are telling me that no poor people gamble, right?

        • stubby

          I’m sure if what you say is true, I’m sure the state has a program to pay for an ID. The state is willing to pay for everything else.

        • No sheep here

          Photo ID is free already!!

          • John O

            It is not. And there are innumerable cases of people who don’t have birth certificates, e.g. blacks born in the South when hospitals refused to accept lack patients. And then there are married women whose names have changed from what’s on their birth certificate that don’t have the marriage records to prove it. Photo ID solves only the voter impersonation problem which is non-existent

            • No sheep here

              OK Mickey Mouse, no impersonation at all. Move into 2012. If a married woman has no record to prove it, I guess she won’t be able to prove she’s covered under her husband’s health insurance? Ah Obamycare! Gotta love it!!!

      • John O

        Its an extra obstacle meant to discourage people, mostly Democratic leaning constitutencies, from voting. A wage-earner having to take a half day off (and not getting paid) for example.

    • scott

      The last election there was 100 cases of voter fraud reported. The new law that the GOP is making would have stop none of them. This is just another drum beat the GOP is banging to get a their base believing they have been cheated and divide us even more. And the rest of us is still waiting on a jobs bill they promised. ALEC is written all of these ballot amendments.

      • scott

        Rep Mary Kiffmeyer just said on WCCO TV it would cost millions to implement the GOP’s ballot amendment. Millions for 100 cases of voter fraud in 2010. Waste of time and money.

  • O John

    The vote to require IDs is this November. It would be put into practice the following November (2013). That’s 20 months to get an ID…plenty of time.

    • We Do Not All Live the Good Life

      This demonstrates exactly how ignorant people are. Not everyone lives the good life – owns a home and car. People at the lowest end of the economy are renters and end up having to move more often – for a number of reasons – rent goes up and they need a cheaper place, they change jobs and the bus schedules don’t work – so they don’t have 20 months to get this ID. These people often hold multiple jobs to make ends meet. Juggling bus schedules to get to & from work and possibly dropping and picking up kids at daycare or school is not easy. So to make a side trip to a MN license center is not simple – it probably requires a transfer on the bus and possibly there’s not enough time between jobs to make this extra trip. Depending on the time of day this can take many hours since bus schedules don’t run very often at non-peak hours. You never know how long the lines are at the ID centers. It’s not a simple errand like it is for those with a car! Remember there’s no extra money to run around in taxis.

      • Greg

        If they have a job then they should have an ID

        • stubby

          If they have a job, they MUST have an ID.

      • Ryan R.

        Good God, you are so full of it. Show me ANYONE who cannot afford to get an ID. I will personally investigate their finances from top to bottom. If I find they really cannot afford one, I will pay for it. How do these “poor” people rent without an ID? It’s required by every landlord on earth. Show me these poor people… THEY DON’T EXIST.

      • Exp

        So how do these types of people buy alcohol? Or go to the doctor? They all need IDs for them these days? This seems like making up excuses for failing to get an ID.

        And if people want same day registration, I say bring your old state’s ID so they can verify who you are by picture and bring a current utility bill with your name and address on it. I’m assuming that you DO have enough money to actually have electricity in your home, right? Or your cell bill? Or one of the many credit card bills people are likely to have?

        Or if you’re an out of state student, bring your old state’s ID plus your current university student ID

        I lean left of middle and I still see no real problem with this. It sounds like people freaking out over things that really aren’t a difficult thing to do.

      • No sheep here

        You need an ID to rent!!!

        • Dan

          I would not rent to someone without doing a background check and that would require an ID. It is amazing how many citizens are against what honest citizens have to carry every day of their life for driving, shopping, etc.

    • Dog-gone

      If fraud is as easy as republican are claiming then it should be easy to cast more than enough votes to defeat this.

    • Bel Quinnell

      You cannot live without a ID. I am in my 70’s and I really think Keith Elllison is a big jerk. He claims this voter ID would be hard on the older people. That is a lot of bull. You cannot go anyplace without a ID. Banks ask for ID, Liquor stores ask for a ID, sometimes grocery store ask for a ID if you write a check. Anyone without a ID must be hiding from something and maybe they should not vote. And, O John, you are correct, if they don’t have a ID, they have months to get one.

  • JoEllen Lomen

    Why doesn’t the media speak to election judges from both sides. I have friends who have been judges for years and they have told me stories of people trying to get registered to vote on the day of election with no luck. Many have just moved into the area and do not have a new ID, their utility bills had only addresses and no names, and since they were so new, were not able to bring someone to vouch for them. Also getting an absentee ballot for a college student does not work all the time. We went through the proper channels during the correct time period and still did not receive the ballot. Many students from MN did not receive a ballot in 2008 at that college. Another thing that people forget is it costs to get an ID. Being a person of restricted income I know how paying money for an ID can be troublesome. It can come down to the ID or your family eating.

  • Jerry W

    Unintended results? You must be kidding!

  • Pete

    I was the voting officer aboard a deployed submarine and through the absentee ballot system provided a means for all crewmembers to register and vote absentee. If we can manage to vote from beneath the pond, the landlubbers that desire to vote in a certain precinct can also find a way. The only real issue is whether my shipmates votes were actually counted. That is another fraud issue that needs to be addressed.

    • Chris

      To Pete: I am an election judge. Tbose service people deployed can only vote for federal office. There is no absentee ballot for non-federal elections. And yes–we always counted the ballots.

    • Swamp Fox

      Thank you, Pete. Finally the real and weak issue of the MN electoral system finally ‘surfaced’. [pardon the pun] With things being they are with the state’s economy besides the raucous state Legislative politics we don’t need to create the illusion there is a problem with voter ID electoral fraud. The absentee ballot system and accountability issues addressed should be looked into. Every vote should count.

      The GOP, in this state, is avoiding dealing with more pressing problems like full employment, education financing, business growth, and infrastructure/public works issues to name some areas.

      A state constitutional amendment, in this case, for voter photo ID may be warranted but it is not the time for such. Since the voter ID legislation could have been passed, if it had bi-partisan supporters in the Legislature, the present amendment push is being used as political procrastinate weapon against the Governor, the MN electorate, and the truly disenfranchised Minnesotans. It doesn’t take a political science pundit to see that.

      The Legislature, as previously stated, has more other pressing matters to take care. If it doesn’t do its job, the Legislature should get an awakening in November’s election. Changes will be made by the ballot box.

      • Tom

        @ Swamp Fox

        The GOP has no answers that is why they keeping tacking issues that they believe are real problems that only exist in their bubble.

  • A Viking

    It is not that simple to get a picture ID from the State. I helped an elderly woman when needed by the bank to transfer an IRA left to her. We went to obtain one and were informed she needed two original forms of ID, but the only one she had was a birth certificate, never having had a driver’s license, and her “original” social security card had been lost years ago with the duplicate not being acceptable. Fortunately we found the “stub” from the original SS card and it did satisfy the state. Don’t recall the cost, but it was a real hassle! Many people would just give up rather than go through all this to vote.

    • Ryan R.

      I don’t believe your story. Unless you went to a nursing home and picked up a dementia patient and told her to vote for Democrats. Total B.S.

      • Old Nurse

        Perhaps it is because you have never helped anyone on your life. There is no context for you to understand. There was a time when many women did not drive. There was no need. Things like corner grocery stores, stay at home mom, neighborhood schools. But this is America, you are allowed to be ignorant, self centered buts (typo intentional)

  • Johnny Boy

    Why don,t people just do the right thing and get an ID? You live in this country, follow the rules!

  • Mike
    I don’t think this is the “evil right wing fox news”

    • Swamp Fox

      just read your listing. Are you insinuating this is happening in or relative to Minnesota? Think about it!

  • Tom

    A lot of people on this page live in the conservative bubble. This problem only exists in their bubble. Conservatives have not been begging for an ID since the past 2 elections. They were not begging for ID’s before this.

    They were not yelling when nutty T-Paw won his terms, they were not yelling when Coleman won his first time, they were not yelling when Arne Carlson won, they were not yelling when the GOP took control over the house and senate, they started yelling when Coleman lost, and when Emmer lost.

  • Bill

    I may have committed voter fraud by accident. My wife voted in the morning and signed by my name. When I voted after work I noticed it and signed on her line. The person at the table never even noticed. Thats how easy it is to sign in as someone else. A student ID is the first thing a new student gets. Old people actually have IDs and so do minorities.

    • John O

      Student IDs are not “government issued” IDs, and so are not acceptable. I wish you’d get yourself informed!

  • Swamp Fox

    Is voter photo ID that much of an issue when, as stated in another posting, there are more dire and pressing state problems than rabid political delaying tactics by the GOP. The Legislature needs to take a serious look at itself and the way they legislate. Is this the Legislature of the MN miracles, as reported in the past?

    Somewhere, sometime, and someone should take a good look at MN Legislative politics over the last decade or so. What have we truly accomplished in state government? Isn’t that more appropriate than debating voter photo IDs?

  • Harry M. Pratt

    Thank you for injecting some sanity into the stupidity of the Republican controlled legislature. I’ve thought for a long time that the Republicans have been following the blueprint of the Nazi party in Pre- WWII Germany. Their first priority was to alienate the population and turn it against itself; particulary in our time the poor and disabled. Once they gained control of the Reichstadt they began passing laws that best served their supporters. In our day a direct relation to the Nazi laws is voter ID. Let us never forget that the Nazis first required all citizens to carry ID papers with them at all times. How better to identify your opponent and weed them out. What other reason could the Republicans have to destroy the best voter system in our nation?We need an amendment to prevent less than ten people(highest number I’ve heard) from voting illegaly? What’ next on their agenda? They’ve already been going after women, gays non- christians and anyone not like them. I’m an Independent who tries hard to vote for the best possible candidate in elections. I’ve delighted to vote for Republicans like John Heinz and Jacob Javits in the past and even Arnie Carlson. Where are reasonable Republican one could call statesmen today? Not in Minnesota!

    • Swamp Fox

      Though Pratt’s Nazi analogies may sound a bit harsh to our 21st Century political correctness revisions, he does make a strong point. Just read your political history and authoritarian ideologies with a neutral viewpoint. The past historical realities may sound very harsh to us today but they had there start somewhere under many guises.

      We may not agree with Pratt’s remarks; but, he is trying to tell us what could be the extreme norms in the future. Pratt is giving us an analogy to think about.

    • frankie

      But you can not deny his point.

    • ch

      your logic missed the point…. and a chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Get some sleep and read the article.

      • comment


  • Bill

    Esme I
    If the voter turnout numbers go down when an ID is required will that be because only qualified voters are now allowed to vote?
    Look at the numbers. The 500,000 same day new voters number is way too big when we only have 5 million people in the whole state. Our population has only increased 7.8% in 10 years from 2000 to 2010. Minnesota voter turnout has always been 70 to 80+% since 1950 so the 500,000 increase was not a sudden 10% jump in voter turnout. Sure people move and students come into the state but our state population only increased 7.8% in ten years and voter turnout is always high so where did all these same day registrations come from?

  • ron

    Why are the demos protesting so loudly? Could it be all the illegals voting? or college kids voting numerous times??

  • angry Minnesotan

    The Democrats controlled this state for 32 years. When they were voted out they left us with $6.2 billion dollars in debt and a host of structural problem that are finally starting to be resolved. Bridges are no longer falling down and we have a surplus. If the DFL was not so busy buying union and Indian votes for the past 32 years they may have heard the cries of the public asking for more accountability at the polls. They also may have heard the people saying “we suport Gay people, but we do not want their rights to infringe upon the religious ceremony of marriage.” Both of those could have been easily addressed over the past 32 years in a way that would have left most people happy, but those issues were left unresolved until such time as people were fed up and kicked the Democrats to the curb. I predict the next constitutional ammendment will be capital punishment. 72% of the people favor it for first degree murder. The democrats can kill an innocent baby inside of a woman, but not a grown person that has choosen to take another life. I am sure I am up for slaughter by the liberal loving left, but face it, you ahve had it 100% your way for the past 32 years, it is time to balance the accounts a little.

    • Old Nurse

      What is it about conservatives who cannot remember Pawlety’s vetoing of a tax increase and not vetoing the budget. He thought he had the power to unalot. He did not.

    • Gordon

      Tell the same lie over and over again. That is the conservative blueprint.

  • Sam

    This is very simply a solution to a problem that does not exist. Voter impersonation simply does not happen. I definitely do not align myself as a democrat, but this bill is a complete waste of time.

    As a recent college graduate, I have moved around the metro area plenty in the last few years. Under this stupid bill, I would have to pay for a new ID every time I moved to a new apartment. Simply unnecessary, and a waste of money.

    C’mon people, stop fooling yourselves, this bill is clearly designed to disenfranchise large portions of typically democratic voters. It’s like when you’re a kid on the playground and you try to change the rules if you know you are going to lose otherwise.

    • Captain America

      What? Democrats aren’t allowed to get photo ID”s? As a minority, I don’t feel disenfranchised. I have a MN Stat DL with my correct address on it as I am a law abiding citizen. The only ones being disenfranchised here are those pushing voter fraud.

    • Lugnut

      Aren’t you supposed to get a new drivers license every time you move?

  • Dog-gone

    The only possible reason for voter ID is to send any drunks that show up at the poles back to Wisconsin were they came from.

  • angelcarver

    voter id’s are a good thing. everyone knows that voter fraud is happening among the liberals and all that. the liberals get free stuff and things and they get to vote many times for free………….it just aint right for the honest conservatives and all that stuff.

    • A Voter

      @ Angelcarver,
      Everyone knows? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?

  • angelcarver

    o.k. let me try this again. voter fraud is real. the liberals fear voter id’s….simple.
    it all comes down to receiving free stuff.

    • A Voter

      Apparently liberal are more conservative, than conservatives. They object to the huge waste of time and money being spent to fix something that isn’t broken.

  • angelcarver

    take the school district 750 for example, they asked/begged for more money and all that. they assumed they had enough fraudulent votes to get what they wanted and things…. and they didn’t get the votes and stuff. now they are forced to make honest cuts in their staff….all the while trying to get the honest id’d people to feel sorry for them…..way, way too funny and all that.

  • Jeff Kline

    It still is quite interesting to see folks still insisting there is a problem with requiring ID to vote. No one has yet to come forward with anything that makes any valid sense. Not even in this forum.

  • Tony Rozycki

    Voter ID won’t solve all our problems, but it doesn’t bother me either considering all the mobile foreign terrorists we have on the planet & how many illegal aliens there are in our country.

  • Welfare Mom

    This is unfair!

    Now, I’m going to have to get several photo IDs if I want to vote mulitple times for the Democrats who give me working people’s money.

    It’s a burden on me!

  • Matt

    We already know how close the elections can be with two recent elections right here. So even a dozen ballots is a big deal. We already know there are blatant attempts to illegally alter the outcome of elections with registering people to vote in manners clearly outside the law. Just because you don’t have thousands of them actually going through with it doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. That would be like saying there are thousands of child sex offenders attempting to lure children away from playgrounds, but we can’t do anything about it because we don’t know of any that successfully did it yet. And when we say we ought to do something to prevent one from happening when there is clearly risk, you say first we have to find the victims. That’s insane. You don’t need to have a victim to have a crime. People are convicted everyday of ATTEMPTING to commit a crime. There are thousands of attempts to fraudulently register voters every election, so clearly election fraud is present. We are obligated to demonstrate there are multiple forms of this fraud. We aren’t obligated to let this continue until we finally find the people who followed through with it. We are obligated to do what we can within reason to make certain those who CAN vote are allowed to vote, and to prevent illegal voting. There are clearly attempts to fraudulently vote, whether or not they succeed in following through with it. Oh, and by the way, you need an ID to get all the social services these poor populations utilize. Show me all the thousands of people who don’t have an ID. No one protests that you can’t get food stamps without an ID. Are we letting kids starve because their parent is required to get an ID to get food stamps?

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