MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The office responsible for administering elections in Minneapolis released a report Wednesday saying that the proposed voter ID constitutional amendment could cost, if passed, an estimated $50 million in startup costs.
The report, which was released by the City Clerk’s office, examines the wording of the amendment and how similar laws have impacted other states.
Web Extra: Read The 18-Page Report
If the amendment is voted into law, it would make Minnesota the first state to mandate that voters provide a government-issued I.D. to prove identity and verify the voter’s home address, the city said.
“The Minnesota amendment would require identification that included a photo to help prove identity; however, it goes one step further by requiring the government-issued form of identification to also verify a voter’s address in order to confirm the correct voting precinct,” reads the report. “No other state laws currently mandate both a photo and home address to prove identity. Based on these criteria, if approved, the amendment would appear to make Minnesota the most restrictive state in the nation in terms of mandated, government-issued photo identification requirements, establishing a new benchmark against which voter ID laws could be evaluated in the future.”
The Minnesota Management and Budget Department estimated that startup costs for state and local governments would be about $50 million, the city said. Moreover, the ongoing operational costs are an estimated $10 million.
The city said much of the costs would come from the implementation of provisional balloting, which currently does not exist in the state.
Provisional ballots would be provided to those who cannot provide sufficient identification at the polls. Provisional ballots would not be counted on election day and would only be counted after the voter provided the required identification. The extra staffing and voter education, among other things, would contribute to the estimated costs, the city said.
The report also concluded that the timeline is “unworkable,” the city said. The report said state officials could have “five months to as little as four weeks” to complete the switch to the new voting system in time for next year’s November elections. The August 2013 primaries could also potentially complicated the reform.
The city claimed in a press release that the report “does not evaluate the merits of the proposition.” It seeks to offer only analysis and information on the changes the state’s voting system may undergo if the amendment is passed.