Vote “No” on Voter ID

Proposed Constitutional Amendment on Elections

The proposed amendment will make changes in how we vote, who gets to vote, and in the cost of

elections. Here is the full text of the proposed amendment:

 

“All voters voting in person must present valid government‐issued photographic identification before

receiving a ballot. The state must issue photographic identification at no charge to an eligible voter who does

not have a form of identification meeting the requirements of this section. A voter unable to present

government‐issued photographic identification must be permitted to submit a provisional ballot. A

provisional ballot must only be counted if the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by

law. All voters, including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially equivalent identity and

eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.”1

 

To fully understand the impacts and the costs of the changes being proposed, it is useful to break the

proposed amendment into sections:

 

1. “All voters voting in person must present valid government‐issued photographic

identification before receiving a ballot.”

In all other states, photo ID legislation has included a wide variety of exemptions ranging

from military voters and people with religious objections to being photographed like the

Amish, to people with disabilities and nursing home residents. Since no exceptions are

included in this proposal, it will apply to “all voters”. Since this language would now be in

the Constitution, it could not be changed by any future legislature.2 The requirement that

the ID must be “government‐issued” instead of “government‐approved” means that certain

forms of ID which are now permitted would no longer be acceptable, including those IDs

issued to students from private colleges (Bethel, St. Olaf, etc.). There was a bi‐partisan

proposal to permit the future use of new technologies to identify voters, but it was rejected.

The result is that if the amendment is adopted Minnesota would not be authorized to use

more modern means of identification.

 

2. “The state must issue photographic identification at no charge to an eligible voter

who does not have a form of identification meeting the requirements of this section.”

There are two cost factors to all photo ID proposals – the bill paid by taxpayers and the

expenses paid by each individual who does not currently have a valid ID that would allow

them to vote. In Indiana, a state of similar size that recently adopted an ID law, it cost the

state $10 million in the first three years to provide IDs.3 The Minnesota Division of Vehicle

Services estimates that there are 144,000 voting age Minnesotans without IDs.4 A

comparison of databases showed that there are 215,000 current voters without Minnesotaissued

IDs or whose ID has the wrong address5—all of whom may quality for a free ID.

Beyond this on‐going cost to the government, all of these individuals without IDs will have

to pay the expenses to obtain the documents needed to get an ID ‐ including birth

certificates and marriage licenses for women who have changed their names. Some voters

born before birth certificates became commonly available may find this process expensive

or impossible.

____________________________

1 https://tinyurl.com/75ws6qm

2 https://www.ceimn.org/proposed‐amendment

3 https://tinyurl.com/75o5msr

4 https://tinyurl.com/7fsqxb7, pg. 16

5 https://tinyurl.com/7zhqldo

 

3. “A voter unable to present government‐issued photographic identification must be

permitted to submit a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot must only be counted if

the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by law.”

If you do not have an ID with you on Election Day, you could submit a provisional ballot,

which would be filled out but not counted on Election Day. You would need to go to the

local election’s office and show officials your ID within a few days so that your ballot could

be reviewed for possible inclusion, assuming you can find your ID or obtain a new one.

Nationwide 30% of provisional ballots are never counted.6 Since Minnesota does not

currently have provisional balloting, there would be startup costs to local and state

agencies of $50 million7 and additional on‐going costs for local governments of over $10

million that would need to be paid through local taxes. Adopting this new provisional

balloting system would trigger oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Help

America Vote Act. Election results would be delayed until the end of the provisional voting

period, or longer, if rejected voters appeal to the Supreme Court.8

 

4. “All voters, including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially

equivalent identity and eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.”

Under this provision, a Minnesota voter, voting absentee from another state or country

would have to have their identity verified in a way that is substantially equivalent to a

voter voting in person in the polling place who hands a photo ID to an election judge. It is

not clear how this is possible. No other state has asked military and civilian absentee voters

to meet these kinds of requirements. This “proof of identity” requirement will affect

250,000 military, overseas and domestic absentee and mail‐in Minnesota voters in

presidential elections. This section would also end same day voter registration as we know

it, which is used by over 500,000 voters in presidential elections. Before same day

registrant’s ballots could be counted, the information provided on their voter registration

forms would need to be verified for accuracy in the same way as those who submitted

registration forms before the election. This includes mailing each person a nonforwardable

postcard and with data‐matching with other government databases. Since

these processes cannot occur in the polling place, same day registrants would have to

submit provisional ballots, which would not be counted on Election Day, delaying election

results.

 

Following is the question proposed to be submitted to voters on the November

ballot. It is currently under review in the Minnesota Supreme Court.9

 

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo

identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters?

 

6 https://tinyurl.com/7abw9k5

7 https://tinyurl.com/7fsqxb7

8 https://tinyurl.com/d94gjm7

9 https://tinyurl.com/ct6wy9l

 

Prepared by the Office of the Secretary of State.

For further information, please contact secretary.state@state.mn.us

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