Most of the argument about whether Minnesota should require separate photo ID cards for people to vote has focused on how much voter fraud occurs in the state. Supporters of voter ID cards say the cards will stop widespread fraud. Opponents say the evidence that shows fraud is almost nonexistent and that the card requirement might keep some people from voting. But Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a DFLer, and some county auditors say there are several other problems with the amendment that most people have never heard of — most notably the cost to taxpayers. Ritchie said the state is in for some major election headaches trying to account for absentee, overseas military and even rural voters who now vote by mail. And he said it virtually will eliminate same-day registration, which has been credited with pushing Minnesota voter participation to among the highest in the nation.
“It’s not like a law passed by the Legislature, where we can go back and fix or tweak the next year,” Ritchie said in a recent interview with the News Tribune. “This will be forever. This will be in the constitution, and it’s full of really serious problems.” The amendment was placed on the November ballot by the Republican-controlled Legislature, with the question off-limits for DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to veto.
Ritchie, who is in charge of overseeing that state elections run well, is encouraging all Minnesotans to find and read the full wording of the amendment because, by order of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the actual wording of the constitutional amendment isn’t on the ballot.