Sen. Limmer and Rep. Kiffmeyer just introduced voter photo ID bills at the Capitol. Despite Republican claims that they will focus on jobs and the economy during the election, this is an example of what they think is most important–taking dollars from hardworking Minnesota taxpayers for something that doesn’t work.
Rep. Kiffmeyer admitted that these bills would require our government to buy all new photo ID machines, but said she doesn’t know the total cost. This new card system will likely cost millions in order to disenfranchise countless Minnesota voters and make the voting process even more complicated.
According to the Brennan Center, as many as 10% of eligible voters do not have, and will not get, the documents required by voter ID. That’s potentially over 350,000 voting age Minnesotans. The Brennan Center also found that these requirements hit folks who traditionally face barriers at the polls the hardest. Photo ID legislation makes voting an expensive process–Minnesotans could be looking at up to $100 for a driver’s license, up to $45 for a birth certificate, $97 for a passport, and over $200 for naturalization papers.
So, say you are of voting age, you want to exercise your right to vote, and now you need to spend your time and money going to the DMV. In greater Minnesota, there are only 112 DMVs where you can get a first-time driver’s license. In addition to the millions spent on the new voter ID card system, taxpayers will see millions of their dollars spent to expand DMV access because of these bills.
Not only is this extremely expensive, but claims of voter fraud are greatly exaggerated. In 2009, MinnPost’s David Schultz looked at all credible studies examining voter fraud. What did he find?
There is no evidence that voter fraud is a problem that has affected any recent elections, including in Minnesota.
Republicans promised to create jobs and solve the budget deficit during the election, but voter ID does neither. Instead, it will add millions to create a system that is unnecessary and will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Minnesota voters.
Basically, photo ID bills create a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t protect against felon voting, which was the only type of ineligible voting conviction in the 2008 election. Voter ID is nothing more than voter suppression. There is no evidence that voter fraud is a problem in Minnesota, making this a costly, unnecessary effort. It will not create jobs, it will not reduce the deficit (it will increase it!), and it will disenfranchise the people of Minnesota.