I’ve blogged about the proposed voter ID amendment before, but now the Council will be considering a resolution opposing the amendment. Although this amendment will amend the state constitution and be decided by voters across Minnesota, this one is a local issue. Indeed, it’s an issue for every unit of local government. Why?
Big government solution to a small problem: I’ve observed before that it seems like common sense to have to show a photo ID to vote. If I have to show photo ID at the Science Museum and Minnesota Zoo along with my membership card, shouldn’t something as important as voting have at least the same level of documentation as being able to see the grizzly bears?
Unfortunately, the amendment requires much more – additional ID requirements, new provisional ballots and much more brand new, untested government process – and the “more” will be in the constitution thus unable to be altered by the legislature to adapt to new technology or for technical changes. Finally, much of the burden to be shouldered by county and municipal governments in the administration of the new election requirements. Here are the details.
If this were statutory rather than a constitutional amendment, it would be better because the new procedure, new provisional ballots, etc. could be implemented, tested and then revised if necessary to address the glitches that happen in almost any new system. It would still be expensive, but it would be more flexible. However, if additional verification is needed for voting security, there are better ways to do it which address the common sense identification issue without creating this sizable unfunded mandate for local government or erecting unnecessary barriers to voting.