On Nov. 6 voters will determine if election procedures will fundamentally change in Minnesota. By putting these changes in the Constitution, they will become almost permanent. Since the Constitution doesn’t change, the Founders were careful about what they included in it. We should do the same when amending it.
The question you will see on the ballot is “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, effective July 1, 2013?” If adopted, the language added to the Constitution will read “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 certified 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.” As you can see, the changes are quite complex.
I do not take the prospect of voter fraud lightly but in my 22 years as head election official in Isanti County I have not seen a single case of voter fraud in Isanti County. This has been in spite of extremely close review of our past two General Elections due to challenged races at the statewide level. I consider Minnesota’s election system as one of the best if not the best in our nation. I will always take great pride in having been a part of Minnesota elections during this time.
If adopted, the amendment would require a system of provisional voting. Changes would be made to election day registration and absentee voting. Vouching for residents in our nursing homes will almost certainly end. This is not written in support for or against the amendment, but I do ask voters to educate themselves about its impacts were it to pass. The added costs to elections cannot be pinpointed exactly but it is obvious that elections will be more complex. With the added complexity comes significantly higher cost, which more than likely will be borne by property taxes.
Isanti County Auditor-Treasurer