The former Minnesota Secretary of State and the former First District Congressman got respect but little agreement from the crowd at Rochester's Public Library, Post Bulletin political reporter Heather Carlson writes in Sparks fly during voter ID forum. And then there was former governor Arne Carlson's used car salesman analogy:
"You are being asked to go to the car lot and buy a car, and when you inquire as to how it works, 'Trust me it works.' How 'bout the mileage? 'Trust me, it's great.' How 'bout the price? 'Trust me, after you buy it I'll send you the bill,'" Carlson said.
Bluestem believes that Carlson is being generous. After reading a great deal about the amendment, we believe we're being asked to trade in a car that runs well and cheaply, is paid off but still under warranty, for another expensive but unnamed vehicle. "Trust us," the Kiffmeyers of the world are telling us.
And the crowd wasn't with the voter suppression advocates:
It became clear early in the forum that the majority of the audience opposed the amendment. Rochester resident Jackie Johnson asked how lawmakers would make sure minorities and the poor would be able to get IDs. Kiffmeyer said the amendment does require that the government provide free identification and that it is a disadvantage for these individuals not to have an ID, and the amendment will help them get one.
But Johnson remained unconvinced. In an interview after the forum, she said she grew up in Mississippi and believes the amendment is politically motivated.
"It is still hard for minorities and poor whites to get birth certificates, so how are they going to get a state-issued photo ID? It is really voter suppression," she said.
Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede joined Carlson in the Send It Back team. Carlson writes:
Another concern is the potential cost of the amendment. Brede said Olmsted County estimates it will cost an additional $200,000 to implement the election changes if the amendment passes. Brede called the amendment "half-baked" and "a problem looking for a solution," and said the unanswered questions need to be addressed before this moves ahead.
"They should send it back, do their work, and get it straight before it comes to the public," he said.
Check out the article in the PB and scroll through remarkable series of photos.
Photo: Mary Kiffmeyer took her War on Voters to Rochester and things didn't go so well.