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