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Posts Tagged ‘Voter ID’

PPP: Minnesota Voter Suppression And Marriage Suppression Amendments Look Doomed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 5, 2012

Here is very good news from Public Policy Polling. In addition to reporting that Obama leads Romney comfortably in the state, 53% to 45%, there is also good news on the two crummy amendments the state GOP wanted to shove down our throats:

The more interesting findings on our final Minnesota poll deal with the state’s high profile amendments to ban gay marriage and require voter identification. We find both narrowly trailing. 45% of voters say they’ll vote for the gay marriage ban, compared to 52% who are opposed to it. And 46% say they’ll support the voter ID amendment to 51% who are opposed.

Not only is the “Voter ID” voter suppression amendment losing (46% to 51%), so is the marriage suppression amendment, 45% to 52%. Since amendments to the state constitution need not just a plurality, but a majority of the votes cast, this bodes well for Tuesday.

Now, the marriage amendment never got much more than 50%, and it’s been below 50% for some time now, so it’s not surprising to see that it’s now in the mid-40s. What surprises the local punditti is that the voter suppression amendment is also losing — it had started out with between 70% and 80% support, so much support that various big local Democratic-affiliated groups didn’t want to waste time and money fighting it. But Sally Jo Sorensen, the best blogger in the State of Minnesota and one of its top five journalists, period, noticed that a lot of county governments were expressing to their local papers their absolute horror at the damage this massive unfunded mandate would do to their already-stressed budgets. We are literally talking about counties having to forego fixing roads or hiring cops because of this amendment.

Over the months, as winter turned to spring and spring to summer, more of these county governments started speaking out about this — and more to the point, they started to compare notes, aided in large part by Sally Jo’s publicizing of the issue (a publicizing I did my small bit to aid), even as both the StarTribune (the Minneapolis paper of record) and the Pioneer Press (the Saint Paul paper of record) largely ignored this. Soon, a critical mass of note-comparing turned into the production of a few studies, studies that confirmed the counties’ worst fears as to the costs and complexities that would be forced upon them by this amendment.

This hit home with the vote suppressors. Even as the Republicans laughed off efforts to condemn the voter suppression amendment as racist — the racist intent would appeal to a lot of Minnesota voters, so the GOP was quite happy to see Democrats talk it up — they didn’t laugh off efforts to enumerate the cost to rural counties. They sent out the attack bozoes at the Center of the American Experiment to create some numbers purporting to show that the amendment wouldn’t cost as much as feared, but Sally Jo’s good friend, Gustavus Adolphus professor and elections expert Max Hailperin, shot down their numbers right quick. Finally, the voter suppressors turned to running TV ads — but by that time the various movers and shakers in Minnesota’s Democratic establishment and allied groups had started running TV ads of their own, ads featuring guys like former Republican governor Arne Carlson and current Democratic governor Mark Dayton.

Again, keep your fingers crossed. And I’m knocking on wood with one hand while I type this with the other. But if what I think will happen does happen, a good chunk of the credit for doing the early, unglamourous spadework will go to my friend Sally Jo Sorensen, who in a just world would be entrusted with the editorship of a big daily paper or the media operations of AFSCME or SEIU or the DFL.

Posted in 2012, Minnesota, voting rights | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Goodhue And Hubbard Join List Of Minnesota Counties Worried About Cost, Effects Of Photo ID Amendment

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 17, 2012

Add Goodhue and Hubbard Counties to the list of Minnesota counties whose elections officials are worried sick about the cost and the effects of the Photo ID amendment the state GOP shoved onto the November ballot.

From Goodhue County, via the Red Wing Republican Eagle — and emphases are mine:
Read the rest of this entry »

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MN GOP’s Photo ID Amendment Hits Minnesota Counties with Huge Costs Even As GOP Legislature Slashes Local Government Aid

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 3, 2012

First it was Rice County. Then it was Kittson County. Now, as BSP’s Sally Jo Sorensen notes, yet more parts of greater Minnesota are noticing the huge holes that the state Republicans’ “Photo ID” vote-restriction amendment would blow into their budgets –budgets that the Republicans controlling the state legislature are already hurting by slashing Local Government Aid:

In his September 1 editor’s column, Local silence on amendment issues troubling, St. Cloud Times editor Randy Krebs asks:

Speaking of laws, everyone knows that if the Voter ID amendment passes it is going to require more tax dollars as well as more local resources to conduct elections. Do local elected officials honestly think their state-level peers will pay those bills? Have they not watched how state aid to cities, higher education and other areas has dried up in recent sessions? Amid that trend, it’s obvious local jurisdictions have a huge interest in the outcome. So again, as leaders of the community, at least go public with a position.

Silence isn’t leadership, at least not in this election.

It’s a good point: the Republican caucuses now controlling the Minnesota legislature have been aggressive in cutting Local Government Aid for greater Minnesota.

Over in the northwestern Minnesota city of Detroit Lakes, Nathan Bowe, writing for DLOnline, the online arm of the local daily paper, lists all the hassles and headaches — including provisional balloting and the long lines and bogged-down vote counts that entails — and finishes up by describing the financial burden to the state’s taxpayers:

If the Voter ID amendment passes, Minnesota can expect to spend millions of dollars providing free identification cards to thousands of residents and educating residents on the state’s new voting requirements, according to Association of Minnesota Counties President Randy Maluchnik.

The provisional balloting requirements alone will cost Ramsey County an estimated $150,000 every two years, said Maluchnik, who is also a Carver County commissioner.

“Minnesota’s townships expect to spend upwards of $3 million statewide to implement provisional voting during their March elections,” he wrote. Local property tax payers will foot the bill if the state makes it an unfunded mandate.

The provisional balloting process will “require local governments to print special ballots, purchase new equipment, hire and train additional election judges, provide special business hours to allow provisional voters to prove their identity, and pay for storage and security of provisional ballots,” Maluchnik said.

Turns out there’s a lot more to the Voter ID amendment than just showing your driver’s license at the polling place.

Looks like the journalists of greater Minnesota are on the case. Now, what about the vaunted Twin Cities media? Hey, StarTribune and Pioneer Press — you gonna keep eating greater Minnesota’s journalistic dust on this issue?

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

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MN Voter ID: Costs Million$, Keeps 1000s Of Legal Voters From Voting, Useless As Anti-Felon Tool

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 26, 2012

Sally Jo Sorensen passes along the following:

Faribault Daily News staff reporter Joseph Lindberg reports in Pricetag for voter ID in Rice County could surpass $120,000:

If Minnesota voters this November approve a
constitutional amendment requiring a valid photo ID to cast a ballot,
the equipment election officials would use to verify voter data could
cost more than $120,000 in Rice County alone.

Electronic “pollbooks,” a term
that generally refers to hardware and software used to process voter
information, would likely be used at the county’s 31 voting precincts at
an estimated cost of $4,000 each, according to Fran Windschitl, Rice
County auditor/treasurer. . . . .

The county’s cost hinges on how much time the amendment, if passed,
would give counties to process provisional ballots cast by those who
don’t bring ID to the polling place but cast a vote and verify their
personal data later.

Even if a longer time period is approved — other
states range from three to 14 days — and pollbooks aren’t needed, the
staff time to process ballots would be considerable, Windschitl said.

Sorensen goes on to note that back in 2009, when Democrats proposed sensible election reform legislation that, unlike the ALEC-sponsored voter ID amendment, have actually worked to keep felons from illegally voting, and done so far more cheaply and with far less bureaucratic hassle, the Republican then-governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed it.

Now, Rice County isn’t the smallest of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties, but it’s also not the biggest. Extrapolate Rice County’s experience to the rest of the state, and it’s obvious that we’d be looking at a minimum of $10 million being spent to enforce a law that has as its main effect keeping tens of thousands of legal voters from being able to vote and which would do nothing to stop felons from illegally voting.

Minnesotans shouldn’t be too surprised by this. As we’ve seen from the glacial and sometimes questionable response of the Republican Party of Minnesota to requests for payment by the various counties whose staffs the RPM forced to work overtime on a recount that wound up confirming Mark Dayton’s win, Minnesota Republicans have no problems with sticking the counties of Greater Minnesota with the bills for GOP-caused voting expenditures.

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Pennsylvania’s Vote Chaos Shows Minnesota’s Future If Voter ID Amendment Passes

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2012

Anyone wonder what would happen to voting in the State of Minnesota should the ALEC-and-Kiffmeyer-inspired voter suppression (aka “voter ID”) amendment is passed? Here’s a taste, courtesy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

This summer, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recruited volunteers to visit PennDOT offices across the Commonwealth and tell us about their experiences trying to obtain free photo ID under the new law. The results of that survey are in our new report, Pennsylvania’s Identity Crisis: Rushed Implementation of Voter ID Law Puts Voting Rights at Risk.

Volunteers visited 43 PennDOT centers in 27 counties across the commonwealth, representing three-quarters of the state’s population. They completed a survey that looked at very simple things: whether there was signage, if forms were available, if there was information that the IDs could be available for free, if volunteers got accurate information. We were surprised just how difficult it was for our volunteers to get the right information and the right forms — and they knew exactly what to ask for.

The report finds that voters are likely to be frustrated in their attempts to secure a free ID from PennDOT. Some volunteers found the offices weren’t open the first time they visited and they had to return another time. There was no signage and limited information in half the sites, and the forms needed to secure a free ID were not available most of the time. In almost half the cases, voters received information that proved to be incomplete or inaccurate from staff at the centers. Problems were as likely to occur in Franklin and Luzerne counties as in Philadelphia or Allegheny County.

Even worse, the Pennsylvania Department of State is rolling out a new form of ID this coming week, and the timing could not have been worse — unless, of course, suppressing voters and turnout is the goal.

We can avoid this hellish mess simply by voting “no” on the voter ID amendment.

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Alabama’s HB 56 Follies: US Citizen Falsely Told She Wasn’t

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 14, 2012

One can’t help but wonder if incidents like this one are an intended result of the new anti-voter and anti-brown-person laws coming out of ALEC’s legislative shop and passed on to Republican state legislatures for minor edits and rubberstamping:

When Carmen Vélez tried to renew her car tag in Athens, Ala., she was told she needed to show her birth certificate.

She had not brought it because she didn’t think it was necessary. She returned later with two copies—and older copy and a newer one. The attendant refused to accept them, saying she need a U.S. birth certificate.

Carmen was at a loss. She was born in Puerto Rico, which is, of course, an unincorporated territory of the United States. Its residents have been U.S. citizens for nearly a century.

This is beyond obscene. And yes, it’s another ALEC production.

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Remember When Republicans Called Government ID Cards “The Mark Of The Beast”?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2012

State Opposition to Real ID, as of 2009 (from CNET)

I sure do — and it wasn’t all that long ago, either – witness this World Net Daily piece from 2006:

“There is a prophecy in the Bible that foretells a time when every person will be required to have a mark or a number, without which he or she will not be able to participate in the economy,” states the Christian website NoNationalID.com. “The prophecy is 2,000 years old, but it has been impossible for it to come to pass until now. With the invention of the computer and the Internet, this prophecy of buying and selling, using a number, can now be implemented at any time. Has the time for the fulfillment of this prophecy arrived?”

The site asks visitors to sign an online petition vowing not to vote for any candidate who does not commit to repealing the Real ID Act.

Now, pay close attention to this part of the WND article:

U.S. governors also have come out against the law, saying it is a huge unfunded mandate imposed on the nation’s states.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is equally opposed to the Real ID Act, saying, “Federal legislators and rule makers are negating state driver’s license security efforts, imposing difficult-to-comply-with mandates and limiting their flexibility to address new concerns as they arise. In other words, decades of state experience is being substituted for a ‘command and control regime’ from a level of government that has no driver’s license regulatory experience.”

Um, what? The Federal Government most certainly does issue driver’s licenses, as any current or former member of the military could tell you. So that objection is arrant nonsense, like much else we see in the pages of World Nut Daily.

Funnily enough, while ALEC-inspired Voter ID advocate Mary Kiffmeyer is now all in favor of driver’s licenses as state if not national IDs, she did her best to keep Native Americans whose reservations are within the state of Minnesota from using their own reservation-issued driver’s licenses as identification for voting, even though these licenses, like the state drivers’ licenses, carry the issuee’s name, address, and photo — and as it turns out are, just like state driver’s licenses, perfectly acceptable forms of ID under the Real ID Act.

So what it’s beginning to sound like is that Republicans only object to government-issued IDs if they can use the objection to keep certain groups of people, particularly those noted for voting for Democrats, from voting at all.

Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans like Jim Sensenbrenner, Lamar Smith and Peter King are all in favor of that mark of the beast, the national ID, and tried last March to get it implemented:

If you’re a resident of one of at least 24 states including Arizona, Georgia, and Washington, your driver’s license may no longer be valid for boarding an airplane or entering federal buildings as of May 11, 2011.

That’s the deadline that senior House Republicans are calling on the Obama administration to impose, saying states must be required to comply with so-called Real ID rules creating a standardized digital identity card that critics have likened to a national ID.

And guess what? Minnesota’s one of the states that has passed a bill prohibiting the implementation of Real ID. (See also graphic above.)

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