By JESSICA LUTGENS
There are many reasons why there is a high opposition to the upcoming amendment to our state’s Constitution, which, if passed, will require all voters in the state of Minnesota to provide a government-issued photo identification when casting their ballots.
Senator Scott Newman, author of the proposed amendment, calls it an “additional measure of integrity,” and says it will “add photo identification to manage age, residency and citizenship voting requirements already in the state Constitution.”
Some supporters of the amendment argue it will help curtail voter fraud and restore confidence in the election system. And while that may be true, there are many more arguments outlining the negative effects of the bill and urging citizens to vote “no” when it appears on the November 6, 2012 ballot.
Some of those who oppose the amendment include: American Association of Retired Persons, League of Women Voters of Minnesota, Minnesota Common Cause, American Civil Liberties Union, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, former Vice President Walter Mondale, and former Governor Arne Carlson.
“New voter ID would disproportionately affect older voters because we know they’re less likely to have the required identification,” said Amy McDonough, spokesperson for the American Association of Retired Persons. Also, according to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, the amendment would “effectively end same-day registration and voting; because the amendment stipulates that identity and eligibility must be verified before a ballot can be cast, the ballots of voters who registered at the polling place would not be counted until some time after election day.”
There have been many issues regarding the amendment, but the one thing that will affect taxpayers most is the price tag that will come along with the bill if it is passed. Initially, the proposal projected a grand total of $32.9 million in state and local government first-year costs; factoring in additional costs, Common Cause Minnesota, a liberal watchdog group, estimates that the total is realistically around $68 million for the first year, and over time, $1.37 million per general election.
In more realistic terms, this would cost each county in Minnesota large sums, even rural counties. The total for Rice County, with around 65,000 residents, would be around $120,000; Kittson County, holding around 4,500 residents, would have to pay a total of around $730,000; $1.7 million for Ramsey County; Faribault, around $100,000; Le Sueur, about $230,000; Steele, $235,000; Freeborn, $210,000; and Waseca, $140,000.
Please note these are just estimates, but that doesn’t change the fact that it will be extremely costly for taxpayers.