Press Release: Ramsey County Votes Yes for New Election Technology | Hart InterCivic

One of the largest voting jurisdictions in Minnesota is upgrading its election systems to the newest technology available. Ramsey County officials confirmed this week that Hart InterCivic’s new Verity® Voting system will replace their outdated voting software and hardware.
With nearly 300,000 voters during each election cycle, Ramsey County is the first Minnesota County to adopt the comprehensive Hart solution for managing the process of casting, counting, compiling and reporting votes in all state, federal and local elections. Home of the state capital, St. Paul, the County is a leader in the state’s election community and will be the nation’s largest user of Hart’s Verity system to date. “It’s nice to have a system that won’t soon be obsolete,” said Ramsey County Election Manager Joe Mansky.

Minnesota: Ranked-choice voting means lots of candidates but not lots of confusion | Pioneer Press

Tuesday’s polls in St. Paul and Minneapolis drew both fans and skeptics of ranked-choice voting — but relatively little confusion despite long candidate slates. The votes, though, did not produce clear winners Tuesday evening in the St. Paul Ward 1 city council race, the Minneapolis mayor race and in three of 13 city council wards in that city. Under the ranked-choice system, only candidates who garner more than 50 percent of first-choice votes emerge as clear-cut victors. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman handily won re-election. For both cities, it was the second go-around with the system, in which voters rank candidates rather than casting a ballot just for their top choices. St. Paul voters elected city council candidates with ranked ballots in 2011. Minneapolis used the system in the 2009 re-election of Mayor R.T. Rybak. At some polling sites, election officials said practice — along with typically light off-year election turnout — made for a smooth process. “We explain ranked choice to those that don’t get it,” said Julia New-Landrum, an election judge in St. Paul’s Ward 1. “Just about 90 percent of people know what it is.”

Minnesota: Supreme Court election ruling’s effect could be far-reaching | Star Tribune

While much of the attention last week was focused on U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage, election geeks in Minnesota were pondering the “other” bombshell dropped by the court. That case, Shelby County v. Holder, carries echoes of the civil rights movement, a time when advocates of “states’ rights” battled federal intervention. In a 5-4 ruling, the court’s conservative majority declared unconstitutional a pillar of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Then, as now, it was the South (Shelby County, Alabama) vs. the feds (U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.) But this time, it was the South’s success in attracting minority voters, and not old schemes for keeping black voters away, that carried the day. Minnesota and most northern and western states were not directly affected by the ruling, but the touchy issue of voting and civil rights strikes a chord everywhere.

Minnesota: Campaigns over voter ID amendment ramp up | Minnesota Public Radio News

Now that the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed constitutional amendment calling for voters to present ID at the polls on the November ballot, groups for and against it are ramping up their campaigns to win voters. Supporters of the proposed requirement point to public opinion surveys that have consistently shown it has strong support. Opponents are trying to convince voters it could disenfranchise some Minnesotans and that there is scant evidence of voter fraud. One visible reminder of the amendment battle already underway is a simple billboard along Interstate 94 near Albertville, Minn., with a stunning proclamation: Minnesota is “number one” for voter fraud. But that message is simply not true, said Joe Mansky, elections director for Ramsey County.

Minnesota: Fine print within photo ID proposal could loom large | Grand Forks Herald

The idea of a photo ID requirement for voters sounds simple and does well in polling, but the fine print of Minnesota’s proposed constitutional amendment suggests that the impact on the state’s election system could be complex and significant. Questions lurk behind the snappy title: What exactly is a “valid government-issued ID”? How will a new system of “provisional voting” work? What is the impact of “substantially equivalent identity and eligibility” standards on the state’s popular system of Election Day registration? None of the questions is unsolvable, and supporters say any changes will be for the good. But the complexity behind the “photo ID” catchphrase creates plenty of room to vigorously debate what the change will mean.

Minnesota: Ramsey County elections official estimates photo ID cost per biennium at $1.7 million | Minnesota Public Radio

Elections officials in Ramsey County may consider an innovative response to a photo identification requirement if voters amend the constitution to require it this fall. Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky said the requirement could make voting difficult for thousands each year of county residents who change their addresses. Mansky told the county board Tuesday that they might want to consider providing IDs to voters at the polling places.

Minnesota: Other states offer clues on how voter ID would work in Minnesota | MPRN

It’s nearly certain that Minnesotans will decide this November whether they want to change the state’s Constitution to require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The Legislature is nearing final approval of the proposed voter ID amendment, which would place the question on the November ballot. What’s less certain is how a voter ID law would play out in future elections in Minnesota. By design, the wording of the constitutional amendment is sparse on details; if approved by the voters, lawmakers wouldn’t lay out exactly how the new system would work until the 2013 legislative session. In the meantime, election officials, voters and advocates on both sides of the issue are scratching their heads over what the proposed voter ID requirement will mean for Minnesota’s future elections.

Minnesota: Ramsey County election official concerned about voter ID requirements | MPRN

Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky says local officials lack the resources to implement the proposed voter ID amendment. Mansky, who opposes the amendment, said it would complicate the process of counting ballots from voters who register at their polling place on Election Day. “Clearly, we do not currently have the ability to do the on-the-spot verification that … I think would be necessary given the language in this amendment,” Mansky told MPR’s Cathy Wurzer on Thursday. He also said the changes would be costly for local elections officials around the state.