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Unneeded cost of voter photo ID amendment

October 29, 2012
Fairmont Sentinel

To the Editor:

None of us want to spend money that we don't have to, yet that is what will happen if the Voter ID amendment passes. Legislators have said that free ID's will be made available. Free from the government means we the tax payers are paying for them. There are an estimated 218,000 Minnesota citizens eligible to vote that do not have a photo ID. Even if the cost for an ID was as low as $10, that would equate to over $2 million.

According to the legislation, voters without valid photo ID's will cast "provisional ballots." MN has never had the need for provisional ballots. The cost for this would fall to local governments (more of our tax money). Hennepin County estimated $44,625 for startup and $142,623 for administration. Blue Earth County Board opposes the amendment since it would cost them $300,000.

There will be cost to us as individuals. A copy of your birth certificate will cost $26 in Martin County. That is if you were born here. Additional costs for validating the request and mailing would be incurred if you have to obtain a copy from another state or country. In New York the cost is $37. In cases of name changes, you may also have to supply a copy of your marriage certificate or divorce decree.

Registering voters are signing an affidavit which requires citizenship, drivers' license, Social Security number or a MN-issued ID card. Local legislators have said that 260 felons voted in the last election. They were caught and the reason is that we have several safeguards in place. Each voter registration is cross-checked against several data bases; the Dept. of Corrections, the court system, the Dept. of Vehicle Service, the U.S. Postal Service Natl., change of address data, and the Mn Dept. of Health & Social Security (births & deaths). Further, a non-forwardable postcard is sent to the registrant at the address for verification. Questionable registrations are sent to county attorneys for further investigation and prosecution if necessary.

Another scare tactic is that busloads of devious out-of-town folks may pull up to the polls and one person vouches for them. The law requires that anyone vouching for another on election day must provide their personal information and sign a legal oath/document. The penalty for falsely vouching for a voter is a year in jail and fines of $1,000+. I would not risk the cost, imprisonment and criminal record to falsely elect a politician.

Voter Photo ID's can only prevent voter impersonation. There are no cases of voter impersonation on the record in MN elections. The Voter Photo ID will not fix any existing real life problem, but will create some.

I think this quote from Jim Mork says it well, "To me it isn't about honest elections. All our incumbents were honestly elected. But if those that are pushing for Voter Photo ID believe that they weren't honest, they ought to give up their offices if they really think there is something crooked in our elections. If they don't give up their office, then they are acknowledging that the election was fair and honest."

Please vote NO on the Amendment #2: Photo Identification Required for Voting this Nov. 6th.

Char Kahler




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