As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” Unfortunately, Kent Kaiser’s piece (“Photo ID: An end to ‘same-day’ registration in Minnesota? Not true,” April 17) attempts to distort what is actually lurking in the voter ID constitutional amendment. Under current Minnesota law, this proposed constitutional amendment to change Minnesota’s election system would force every person who registers in the polling place on Election Day to submit a provisional ballot; that is, they would not be allowed to cast a real ballot. This fundamental change is required because the amendment says that “All voters must be subject to substantially equivalent eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.” While most people understandably won’t grasp the implications of this statement when they read the ballot question, an election official understands that immediate eligibility verification is not possible.
Practically speaking, for voters who need to update their voting address on Election Day and others doing same-day registration, election judges would have to check multiple databases to verify their name, address, date of birth with the state’s department of public safety, department of health, national death registry and the federal social security office.
Then, the election judge would have to verify that the person is not a felon and not under a court-ordered guardianship. Finally, the judge would send out a postcard to verify the address information. The ballot could not be counted until the postcard had been received by the voter, potentially weeks later. That is why every person who updates his or her information or registers on Election Day – approximately 500,000 people in a big election year – will have to use a provisional ballot.