Minnesota: Ritchie proposes new election rules on ID, proof of address | Politics in Minnesota

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is proposing a number of rule changes to state elections law which he hopes to see implemented in time for the 2014 primary elections. The changes would give greater options for proof of identification and residency in Minnesota, and seem aimed at making it easier for transient citizens and college students to vote. Rather than push the measures as part of a legislative agenda, Ritchie is seeking to enact them as administrative changes. According to the press release, both of his predecessors in that office, Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake,and longtime DFL Secretary of State Joan Growe also invoked their power to change election rules. Under one proposed rule, voters would be allowed to register using a learner’s permit in place of a driver’s license, and could also present an identification card issued by any other state as a valid form of identification.

Minnesota: GOP dogs Secretary of State on online voter registration even though he’s a lame duck | MPRN

Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie won’t be seeking re-election next year, but that hasn’t slowed the Republican criticism that has dogged him through two terms. Republican lawmakers have been pounding Ritchie for developing an online voter registration system, without first obtaining legislative approval. Among them is state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, who is considering another run for the secretary of state job she once held. Kiffmeyer lost her bid for a third term as secretary of state to Ritchie in 2006. “Doing anything online has a risk with it, and especially something like this, and I just want to be sure,” Kiffmeyer said. “My concerns are it hasn’t gone through the legislative process. It has not been vetted by our state IT department, nor the expertise that we have. It’s been done on a unilateral basis.” She and other Republicans want the Senate Subcommittee on Elections to hold a hearing to address their concerns.

Minnesota: Mark Ritchie won’t seek re-election in 2014 | Pioneer Press

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election to a third term in 2014. “This is the right decision for me and my family right now,” said Ritchie, 61. “When I did the math, if I would be honored by being re-elected, I would be closer to 70 than 65” after completing another term. He hasn’t decided what he wants to do after leaving office. “My public service will take a different form. I don’t know what it will be, but it won’t be as Minnesota’s next secretary of state. That will be for a new generation of leadership.” Vacancies in state constitutional offices are rare, and the announcement by Ritchie, a Democrat, is likely to set off a stampede of ambitious candidates for his post.

Minnesota: How to Vote Down Voter ID | American Prospect

In late October, two weeks before the election, amid the glut of attack ads, a TV commercial appeared in Minnesota that grabbed everyone’s attention. It opens on former Governor Arne Carlson, a Republican, who is a familiar and beloved figure in the state, looking into the camera. “This voter-restriction amendment is way too costly,” he tells viewers. An image of $100 bills flashes to his right. Carlson’s jowls quiver as he solemnly shakes his head. An American flag hangs behind his shoulder. Fade and cut to Mark Dayton, the state’s current governor, a Democrat, on the right half of the screen. “And it would keep thousands of seniors from voting,” Dayton continues, his Minnesota accent especially thick. As he speaks, a black-and-white photo of a forlorn elderly woman appears. In a year when the two parties seemed to agree on little except their mutual distaste for each other, here was a split-screen commercial with a Democrat and a Republican, the only bipartisan TV spot Minnesotans would see. The two trade talking points, Carlson focusing on the financial burden, Dayton highlighting the various groups who would be disenfranchised, until the split screen vanishes, revealing the two governors side by side in front of a painting of the Minnesota Capitol. “If you’re a Democrat, Republican, or independent please vote no—this is not good for Minnesota,” Carlson closes.

National: Voter ID 2013 | The Thicket at State Legislatures

In Voter ID: Five Considerations – the lead story in the November / December issue of The Canvass – we predicted that interest in photo voter ID laws would remain high in 2013. This prediction has already been borne out. When we drafted the article, lawmakers in Arkansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin had revived discussion of their states’ photo ID proposals. Since then, a number of other states have jumped in the mix. Here’s a quick rundown of some recent developments on the photo ID front. We’ll be back shortly with the second half of the list. Republican Representative Bob Lynn’s photo ID proposal (HB 162) failed to make it to a vote in Alaska last session, when Democrats and Republicans split control of the Legislature. With Republicans holding their lead in the Alaska House and newly in charge of the state Senate, the proposal is sure to get another airing in 2013. Lynn told the Anchorage Daily News that photo ID will “be one of the first bills we hear.”

Minnesota: Even without photo ID, election system likely to see changes | Minnesota Public Radio News

The defeat of the voter ID constitutional amendment, along with the Legislature’s flip from Republican to Democratic control, is likely put that issue on indefinite hold. But it won’t end the debate over the need for some changes in state election law. DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and key lawmakers are already talking about ways to alter the voting system during the 2013 legislative session. The campaign against voter ID relied heavily on a compelling television ad that featured DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson.

National: Election administration issues on ballot in several states | electionline

This year, some ballots, like those in Florida, are so long and filled with candidates and issues that elections officials are encouraging voters to vote early to avoid possible lines on Election Day. The issues on the ballot range from gay marriage to gambling to ethics to tax levies. In several states however, the issues on the ballot are the elections themselves. In Minnesota voters will decide whether or not photo ID should be required to cast a ballot in future elections, in Arizona voters will decide whether or not to revamp the state’s entire primary system and in Illinois, residents in East Saint Louis will vote whether or not to eliminate city’s election board.

Editorials: On Minnesota voter ID amendment, ends do not justify means | The Forest Lake Times

This country is stronger when virtually every adult is empowered with their constitutional right to vote. Few restrictions should limit this right, and a change in those limits should only be made when it’s been demonstrated that the rights of the majority are in danger. There are two principles of a free election on which all should agree.  Those who either are not citizens or who have lost their right to vote should not be voting. Every citizen regardless of economic physical condition, politics, religious belief, race, gender or age must be given an opportunity to vote. On Nov. 6, Minnesotans will vote on a significant change in voting rights – a constitutional amendment that would require a valid voter identification with a photograph of the individual voting. If passed, the amendment also says the state must issue photographic identification at no charge.  A voter unable to provide a government-issued photograph identification would be permitted to cast a provisional ballot that can be counted only after lawful identification is provided.

Minnesota: Will the voting amendment dismantle Minnesota’s current election system? | MinnPost

Ever since the Legislature first began considering the proposed voting amendment early this year, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and his staff have used nearly every venue available to hammer away on one key point. The innocuous-sounding requirement that voters must show a photo ID at the polls, they say, is only a small part of far-reaching language that actually would end up dismantling or significantly altering absentee balloting and Minnesota’s popular Election Day registration system. Ritchie made that point again Thursday in a MinnPost Community Voices piece, urging every voter to “carefully study the language of the proposed amendment on elections …. You might be surprised.” But the big question: Is Ritchie right in his interpretation of what the proposed constitutional amendment would do? Many voting amendment opponents think so, including a coalition of groups and individuals that include former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Gov. Arne Carlson and several public officials. The group Our Vote Our Future is leading the anti-amendment campaign.

Minnesota: Top Minnesota court joins voter ID fray | TwinCities.com

The voter ID ballot question may be flawed, state Supreme Court justices told lawyers for both sides Tuesday, July 17, but they asked whether it is unconstitutionally misleading. And if so, what should they do about it? The justices peppered the lawyers with questions for an hour in a case that seeks to have the question thrown off the November ballot. They raised the possibility of amending the language or even using the entire proposed amendment as the question to voters rather than blocking it from appearing on the ballot. A decision is expected shortly. State elections officials have said they must know by Aug. 27 in order to have ballots prepared.

Minnesota: Opponents pummel Ritchie over amendment titles | Minnesota Public Radio

What’s in a name? Well, it may be the difference between winning and losing, according to supporters and opponents of two referenda heading for the ballot in November. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has now renamed both of them. First, he renamed the marriage amendment “Limiting The Status Of Marriage To Opposite Sex Couples.” It had been called “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman.” The most recent change came this afternoon, when Ritchie decided to rename the state’s proposed voter ID amendment, designated by its legislative sponsors “Photo Identification Required for Voting.” Ritchie decided to rename the amendment “Changes to In-Person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots.” Supporters quickly cried foul.

Minnesota: State Supreme Court weighs wording of Voter ID question | kare11.com

The Minnesota Supreme Court will decide next month whether or not the proposed voter photo ID constitutional amendment stays on the ballot. At issue is whether the question, as worded on the ballot, omits important information voters need to know before voting it up or down. That wording is simple enough, to wit: “Shall the constitution be amended to require all voters to present photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters?” Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, the former Secretary of State who was chief author of the voter ID amendment in the Minnesota House, defends the wording. “This really changes the system from an after-the-fact check-you-out, to a before-you-cast-your-ballot let’s verify,” Rep. Kiffmeyer said. “This is a very modest one section, and the core of the whole constitutional change is requiring photo ID.”

Minnesota: Voter ID battles often land in court | Politics in Minnesota

Even as Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature were advancing a voter ID constitutional amendment on to the November ballot last week, DFLers were predicting court challenges. In 2011 Republicans passed a statutory photo ID requirement in both chambers, but their bill was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. This year the GOP-controlled House and Senate regrouped to pass the measure as a ballot question shortly before the Easter/Passover recess. The constitutional route, if successful, carries the twin benefits of bypassing Dayton and codifying the policy in a way that’s very difficult to reverse. Legal challenges are nothing new in states that have advanced voter ID proposals. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a photo ID law in Indiana. In other states — most recently, Wisconsin and Missouri — voter ID has stumbled in the courts for different reasons.

Minnesota: Voter ID amendment is now up to voters | StarTribune.com

Minnesota’s historic battle over photo ID and the future of the state’s voting system moved from the Capitol to the voters themselves on Wednesday. The House and Senate, with Republicans supplying all the “yes” votes, gave final approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to show a photo ID, create a new system of “provisional” balloting and end election day “vouching” for voters without proof of residence. It passed the House on a 72-57 vote shortly after midnight and was approved by the Senate Wednesday afternoon on a 35-29 vote. The decision puts Minnesota squarely in the center of a national debate over election security vs. ballot access. Five states have strict photo ID requirements in law. Wisconsin and several other states are battling the issue in court or in their legislatures. Minnesota now joins Mississippi and Missouri as states that have sought to impose the changes via constitutional amendments. Minnesota’s amendment will likely face court challenges of its own before it goes to voters.

Minnesota: Photo ID battle turns into a war over the wording | StarTribune.com

Minnesota’s intense struggle over voting rights and election security is moving into close quarters. The battleground has shifted to the precise wording of a proposed photo ID constitutional amendment to be written by a legislative committee. The two sides read the same language in different ways but agree that the stakes are high for this final revision. What words are chosen, and how they are interpreted, could change the way Minnesotans vote. DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie reads the language and sees a bombshell for Minnesota’s elections — an end to the popular system of same-day registration and creation of a parallel bureaucracy of provisional ballots that could delay reporting of election results. Photo ID sponsor Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, sees the text of the Republican-backed bills as flexible enough to allow Minnesota’s current voting system to continue but with improved security.

Editorials: Minnesota’s War on Voting | The Nation

Last year, Republicans introduced legislation in thirty-four states to mandate government-issued photo IDs to cast a ballot. Nine GOP states have passed voter ID laws since the 2010 election, including Pennsylvania earlier last month. Minnesota, another important battleground state, could be next. Last year, Minnesota Democratic Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a bill from the GOP legislature that would have given the state the strictest voter ID law in the nation, prohibiting passports, military IDs and student IDs as valid documentation. Now the legislature is bypassing the governor by approving a constitutional amendment for voter ID that will go on the November ballot. The House and Senate have each passed their own versions of the legislation; once agreed upon, the measure will go on the 2012 ballot. If approved by voters, the 2013 legislature will implement the particulars of the law.

Minnesota: Court fight inevitable for Minnesota voter ID | StarTribune.com

Even if the Legislature approves the measure as a constitutional amendment, opponents vow to try and keep it off November ballot. The turmoil and contention surrounding voting rights and election integrity does not cease when a state adopts the type of photo ID requirement Minnesota is moving toward. It just moves into the courtrooms. Two Wisconsin district court judges blocked the state’s strict, new ID requirement this month, after just a single election. One judge said a government that limits the right to vote “imperils its legitimacy.” The state is appealing. In Texas and South Carolina, concerns dating back to the Civil Rights era have caused the federal government to block ID laws, fearing minority voters will be disenfranchised. Those states are appealing. Even Indiana and Georgia, two states with the longest history of using strict photo ID requirements, had to battle multiple legal challenges, culminating in a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the Indiana law as being in “the interest in deterring and detecting voter fraud.”

Minnesota: Court fight inevitable for Minnesota voter ID | StarTribune.com

Even if the Legislature approves the measure as a constitutional amendment, opponents vow to try and keep it off November ballot. The turmoil and contention surrounding voting rights and election integrity does not cease when a state adopts the type of photo ID requirement Minnesota is moving toward. It just moves into the courtrooms. Two Wisconsin district court judges blocked the state’s strict, new ID requirement this month, after just a single election. One judge said a government that limits the right to vote “imperils its legitimacy.” The state is appealing. In Texas and South Carolina, concerns dating back to the Civil Rights era have caused the federal government to block ID laws, fearing minority voters will be disenfranchised. Those states are appealing. Even Indiana and Georgia, two states with the longest history of using strict photo ID requirements, had to battle multiple legal challenges, culminating in a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the Indiana law as being in “the interest in deterring and detecting voter fraud.”

Minnesota: Voter ID constitutional amendment advancing | MinnPost

Voter ID proposals in the Minnesota House and Senate appear to be only one step away from reaching the floor in both chambers. With little discussion Tuesday evening, the House Ways and Means Committee passed Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer’s version on an 18-12 party-line vote. The former secretary of state was one author of last session’s Voter ID bill that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed. This year, she’s proposing a constitutional amendment, which would require voters to show a photo ID at the poll. The measure, which has been waylaid in Ways and Means since last year, breezed through its first committee hearing of this session last week.

Minnesota: Dayton, Ritchie offer ‘poll book’ as voter-ID alternative | TwinCities.com

As a bill asking Minnesotans to amend the state constitution so voters would be required to show a photo ID began its way through the House on Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie unveiled an alternative they say would be faster, cheaper and less likely to disenfranchise voters. With an electronic “poll book,” eligible voters who have lost an ID or no longer carry one could come to the polling place and have their electronic information pulled up from state records, Ritchie said. He said about 84,000 Minnesota voters don’t carry photo ID, but in many cases, they would have photos in the state drivers’ database. For those who don’t, another ID could be scanned in or a photo could be taken at the polling place. “We would not be disenfranchising anybody and we would not be breaking the bank,” Ritchie said.

Minnesota: Voter ID to deter fraud? Prove it, ACLU says | TwinCities.com

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota offered a $1,000 reward Monday to anyone who can prove a case in which someone in the state has been charged or convicted of impersonating a voter. State ACLU Executive Director Charles Samuelson said his organization put up the bounty to show a Republican-proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls is not needed. Samuelson said ACLU attorneys have not been able to find a single case of voter impersonation in the past 10 years.

Minnesota: State Prepares For Voter ID Battle | CBS

Minnesota’s nearly three million registered voters must sign a registry when they go to their polling place, but they don’t have to produce photo identification. That, however, might change soon. The Republican controlled legislature is currently pushing a measure that would leave the question of voter ID up to voters on the November ballot. Recent contested elections have given rise to concerns about imposter voters and the potential for fraud at the ballot box.

Minnesota: Minnesota GOP wants voter ID on the ballot in November | StarTribune.com

Republican legislators plan to take their case for a photo ID requirement for voters directly to the voters themselves. Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, who oversaw Minnesota’s voting system as secretary of state from 1999 to 2007, and Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, have introduced the photo ID concept as a proposed constitutional amendment. It would require all voters to produce an “approved form of photographic identification prior to voting.” If it passes the Republican-controlled House and Senate, the proposal would go directly onto the November ballot for voters to decide. Unlike bills and budgets, where the governor can use his veto pen, Gov. Mark Dayton has no way of blocking or changing a proposed constitutional amendment approved by the Legislature.

Minnesota: Republicans look at putting Voter ID on Minnesota ballot | Hometown Source

Republicans look to put a Voter ID constitutional amendment before the voters in 2012. Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, and Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, will be looking to pass their respective amendment legislation after lawmakers return to the Capitol in January of next year.

At a press conference today (Tuesday, June 7) the two lawmakers indicated it was not their intentions to push for passage of the legislation during the anticipated special session this summer.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Voter ID legislation recently passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Editorials: Jay Weiner: Voter ID issue advances at Capitol, but facts continue to get in the way | MinnPost

A funny thing happened recently to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on its way to nailing an alleged illegal voter. Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigative arm found that clerical mistakes are sometimes made and that people can be accused of trying to vote illegally when they actually didn’t. The investigators, with the…