If the Voter ID amendment passes, it could cost Becker County as much as $500,000, according to Becker County Auditor-Treasurer Ryan Tangen, who is in charge of local elections. The Voter ID Act is one of two constitutional amendments (the other is an anti-gay marriage amendment) placed on the Nov. 6 ballot by the Republican-led Legislature. That $500,000 estimate is based on a variety of factors, including $65,000 for equipment needed by the county to make photo IDs and $120,000 for election equipment that will be needed by the county’s 10 townships that now vote by mail-in ballot.
If electronic poll books are used, the cost will run from $2,000 to $4,500 apiece, and precincts larger than about 750 voters will need more than one of them. The three big Detroit Lakes precincts would likely need three or four electronic poll books each, Tangen said. That’s $275,000 to $415,000 for poll books and Voter ID equipment, Tangen said. The poll books allow voters to swipe a driver’s license or voter ID to bring up their registration information for poll workers, Tangen said. “There are just so many unknowns, like how the provisional ballot process will be handled,” Tangen said.