The DLOnline's editorial board writes in Voter ID a problem in rural areas:
Cheers to U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who is going to bat for rural residents in his sprawling district over the future of mail-in ballots.
Peterson and a host of Kittson and Marshall county officials gathered at the Hallock courthouse on Monday afternoon to express concerns over the future of mail-in balloting and the costs to rural counties if a constitutional amendment restricting voting passes this November.
Peterson said he’s worried about the costs and consequences to eligible voters if the so-called Voter ID act passes — especially for seniors who may not have access to a birth certificate to secure a photo ID.
“Over 90 percent of eligible voters in Kittson and Marshall counties rely on mail-in balloting every election cycle,” Peterson said. “These are Minnesotans who depend on being able to return their ballots through the mail — a system that has worked effectively for years. People ought to know the costs and consequences this amendment would pose to northwestern Minnesota before they vote. It’s a lot more complicated than people realize.”
It’s a big deal in Kittson County, where County Commissioner Joe Bouvette said mail-in balloting that over 90 percent of county voters rely on could not be easily or affordably replaced. . . .
Read the entire editorial at the DLOnline. Readers may remember that Bluestem looked at the potential costs of the voter restriction amendment for Kittson County in Voter restriction amendment would cost Kittson County $730,000.
It's not just small towns and rural townships that will suffer from unfunded mandates created by the amendment's wording. Over in Fargo, Forum staff writer Dave Olson writes in Voter ID equipment could cost Moorhead $65K:
A Moorhead City Council member and a Clay County commissioner raised concerns Tuesday about the potential consequences of a proposed amendment to Minnesota’s constitution that would require a government-issued photo ID for voting.
“Voter ID seems to be an answer that’s looking for a problem,” said Clay County Commissioner Jon Evert, who joined Councilman Mark Altenburg to warn that the requirement could cause substantial costs to local governments.
Altenburg said many potential impacts of the proposal up for a statewide vote Nov. 6 remain unknown, but he said the city estimates that buying the required equipment alone could cost city taxpayers $65,000.
“This is going to directly impact property taxes next year. We can’t count on the state (for funds),” he said.
Altenburg and state Sen. Keith Langseth, D-Glyndon, voiced concerns that the amendment would make it difficult for some groups to cast ballots during elections, including college students, soldiers serving overseas and seniors. . . .
Moorhead is home to a MNSCU college campus, so student voters aren't an astract issue. In another Greater Minnesota college town, St. Cloud Timesstaff writer Mark Sommerhauser reports in Commissioner: Voter ID would harm; Kevin Lindsey urged students to vote against proposed amendment:
A proposed constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification could disenfranchise a broad swath of Minnesota’s electorate, including military members and rural voters, the state Human Rights commissioner said Tuesday.
Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, the top human-rights official in Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, spoke to St. Cloud State University students at a forum sponsored by a host of university groups.
Like Dayton, an outspoken foe of the voter ID amendment, Lindsey urged students to oppose the measure, which would join the state Constitution if endorsed by voters on Nov. 6. In addition to requiring voters to show photo IDs, the amendment would trigger other changes to voting laws such as the elimination of vouching, in which a voter can sign an oath to vouch for another’s residency.
Lindsey told students the amendment is part of a national push to enact new voting requirements that’s “eerily reminiscent” of past efforts to suppress female and nonwhite voters. . . .
Check out the rest at the Times. The Austn Daily Herald picks up on another potential consequence of photo id laws in the Associated Press article, New ID laws could delay outcome of close election:
. . . New voting laws are likely to increase the number of people who have to cast provisional ballots in key states.
Tight races for Congress, governor and local offices also could be stuck in limbo while election officials scrutinize ballots, a scenario that would surely attract legions of campaign lawyers from both parties.
“It’s a possibility of a complete meltdown for the election,” said Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida.
Voters cast provisional ballots for a variety of reasons: They don’t bring proper ID to the polls; they fail to update their voter registration after moving; they try to vote at the wrong precinct; or their right to vote is challenged by someone.
These voters may have their votes counted, but only if election officials can verify that they were eligible to vote, a process that can take days or weeks. Adding to the potential for chaos: Many states won’t even know how many provisional ballots have been cast until sometime after Election Day.
Voters cast nearly 2.1 million provisional ballots in the 2008 presidential election. About 69 percent were eventually counted, according to election results compiled by The Associated Press.
Remember Minnesota's close elections and recounts? Now add that wrinkle. One person who doesn't seem to welcome the discussion is the guy who wrote the bill to put the question on the ballot.
In a letter to the Hutchinson Leader, a reader takes the senate author of the amendment to task in Sen. Newman — prior censorship?
It's not pretty, but it's worth the read.
However Senator Newman might not want the discussion, it's coming on. Minnesota Public Radio's Catharine Richert reports in Voter ID, marriage amendment opponents outraising supporters:
Yet Our Vote Our Future, the group working against the amendment, has outraised its primary opponent, ProtectMyVote.com.
Since July, Our Vote Our Future has brought in an additional $400,000. That brings the group's total to nearly $600,000 since the start of its campaign, with a little less than half of it coming from in-kind contributions, such as staff time, from groups that support the cause.
Eric Fought, spokesman for Our Vote Our Future, said the group has started fundraising in earnest in recent weeks, which may account for a $75,000 contribution from well-known liberal donor Alida Messinger.
He also said that the group's message is starting to resonate with voters that may not have been paying as much attention previously.
"As we're talking to voters throughout the state, they are beginning to realize that this not a matter of simply presenting a photo ID at the ballot box," Fought said. "This is a complete overhaul of the election system." . . .
To learn about opportunities talk to your neighbors and friends about the why they should vote no on voter restriction, visit Our Vote, Our Future. To learn more about the consequences of the amendment for Greater Minnesota, check out Greater MN Counts.
Photo: Senator Newman isn't happy when Minnesotans talk about the consequences and wants you to shut up about it.