Northfield News staff writer Kaitlyn Walsh reports in Northfield City Council opposes Voter ID amendment:
A resolution approved by the Northfield City Council on Tuesday night says the council opposes the proposed amendment on the 2012 ballot that would require Minnesotans to present a government-issued ID in order to vote.
Mayor Mary Rossing and Council Members Ivan Imm, Betsey Buckheit and Erica Zweifel voted in favor of the resolution. Council Member Rhonda Pownell abstained. Council Member Suzie Nakasian was absent.Buckheit prepared the resolution that says the council considers the amendment to be an unfunded mandate, which will have a disproportionate impact on its large college student and senior populations, and that the council opposes it.
“[The amendment would add] a lot of process that will cost a lot of money that can’t be changed and that will all trickle down to taxpayers,” Buckheit said. “[The resolution is] not to sway voters, but to provide information from the local government perspective.”
The resolution says the proposed amendment would be expensive to implement for both state and local governments, including the cost of educating staff and the public, as well as the cost of providing photo IDs at no cost to eligible voters and providing staff for a provisional ballot system. . . .
. . .In Buckheit’s prepared memo to the council, she cited information that said that in Northfield, about 22 percent of voters — 2,409 voters in 2008 — register on election day and that that number is closer to 40 percent in some precincts.
She said that there is a correlation of where those precincts are that could indicate a disproportionate effect on Northfield’s student population.
Over 100,000 students attend four-year colleges that offer dorms/residential options in Greater Minnesota. Just over 5100 of them attend Carleton and St. Olaf in Northfield.
Here are the enrollment numbers for Minnesota's four-year schools that are located outside of the metro area. Since it's generally agreed that student IDs from private colleges will not be accepted for purposes of voting, Bluestem has listed those schools first; over 21,000 students could feel the consequences of the constitutional change if the measure passes next month--although it's likely that some may have driver's licenses with local addresses on them.
Enrollment figures are from Fall 2012, unless marked with an asterick; the latter are no more than two years old; some are inexact figures taken from college websites.
Greater Minnesota Private Colleges
Bethany Lutheran College--Mankato 612
Carleton -- Northfield 2,000
Concordia -- Moorhead 2,746
Gustavus Adolphus College --St. Peter 2,471
Martin Luther College --New Ulm 700*
St. Ben's --St. Joseph 2,086
St. John's --Collegeville 1,890
St. Mary's--Winona 1,400
St. Olaf --Northfield 3,179
St. Scholastica --Duluth 4014 (includes grad students)
Northfield's City Council is justified in its concern about student voters in lovely Rice County town of "Cows, Colleges and Contentment." The Uptake reports in Voter ID Amendment Restricts Minnesota’s Student Vote:
Students and administrators at Macalester College, and other private schools in Minnesota, worry that the Voter Restriction Constitutional Amendment on this November’s ballot could deny students the right to vote with their Student ID cards since they aren’t officially issued by the state. Meanwhile, U-Cards from the University of Minnesota, which is a public university, could continue to be accepted at on-campus voting booths, thus creating an unequal system of voting rights among college students.
That would disenfranchise students at Macalester College and other private schools, and discourage students from out-of-state from voting in Minnesota elections, say Fabiola Gutierrez, a native of State College, Pennsylvania, and currently a junior at Macalester. “From what I hear it’s going to be harder for out-of-state college students to get to vote here in Minnesota,” says Gutierrez. “I’m generally against the entire bill because it would be a huge inconvenience for me.”
“What you’re doing is targeting students who don’t have state IDs but have a legitimate photo ID from a legitimate institution,” echoes Sam Humleker, who’s also a junior at Macalester. “I think the chance of (going to vote) with a forged state ID is a lot more likely than going in with a forged college ID.”
Ironically, the system by which Macalester College students show a government-issued Photo ID such as a driver’s license or a passport in order to acquire their Student ID cards is very similar to the process by which University of Minnesota students acquire their U-cards. In the above video, Macalester Card Services Manager Onenee Saloka shows exactly how Macalester College students receive their Student ID cards. . . .
Here's the video. While the students in it attend college in St. Paul, their concerns are shared by private college students across the state.
The private college students attending school in Greater Minnesota are about one-fifth of the non-metro college population. Students in Northfield, Collegeville and St. Joseph would have longer travel than those in other college towns since the Rice and Stearns County courthouses are not located in their communities.
Greater Minnesota State Universities (including UM campuses)
Bemidji State University 5,360
Minnesota State --Mankato 15,408
Minnesota State--Moorhead 8,889*
St. Cloud State --St. Cloud 17,231
Southwest Minnesota State--Marshall 6588*
University of Minnesota --Crookston 2,764
University of Minnesota --Duluth 11,491
University of Minnesota --Morris 1,896
University of Minnesota --Rochester 414
Winona State--Winona 8,900*
Many others also attend community and technical colleges, but their problems with ID are likely to be less complicated for most--though not all--students. Since two-year schools tend to draw from local communities, most of the students aren't faced with the decision of whether to vote in their hometowns or their college communities as it is now.
Photo: One target of Mary Kiffmeyer's War on Voters? Private college students. For more on Kiffmeyer's attacks on student voters, check out this item from 2006, when she was Secretary of State, Kiffmeyer is over the top:
11/7/06 – A Hennepin County District Court Judge ruled today that Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer was wrong in disenfranchising students at the University of Minnesota. The judge ruled that university students can use their university ID cards in conjunction with their bill for utilities provided by their landlords to register to vote.
"Once again, on the day of a major election, a district-court judge has been called in and forced Mary Kiffmeyer to stop disenfranchising voters and do her job," Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez said. “For eight years, we have seen a disturbing pattern of behavior from Kiffmeyer that shows she is not fit to serve as Secretary of State. Thankfully, we have an eminently qualified candidate in Mark Ritchie, who can step in and start running the office effectively, and within the law."