Should Minnesota require voters to present a photo ID?

A proposal in the state Legislature would require registered as well as unregistered voters to present a photo ID at the polls. Proponents say the change is necessary to prevent voter fraud. Today’s Question: Should Minnesota require voters to present a photo ID?

  • Al

    I’m in favor of it. There is no security around this now. You need to state your name and sign the book. There is nothing to stop you from looking at the book and reading who else on your page hasn’t voted and passing the information to someone behind you in line.

    It seems odd to me that many people don’t have an ID. How can you get through life without one, between banking, housing, getting a job, etc.? I realize this issue usually breaks along party lines, and I’m breaking with my party on this one. I’m tired of this being used a wedge issue. Getting an ID does not seem to me an undue burden for the opportunity to participate in our democracy. If the argument is cost, then come up with some subsidized form of ID.

  • Ben

    No. There are safe guards against voter fraud already and voter fraud in MN is very low. We should not allow an extra hurdle to be enacted unless it is shown to fix a real problem.

  • hiram

    No. The problem that voter ID claims to address, impostor voting hasn’t been a problem with our elections. The problem it does address, the fact that the current system makes it too easy for people who supporters of the measure don’t like to vote, is a solution unworthy of our democracy..

  • jean

    No. We have very little voter fraud in the state, and our recent election recounts have shown this. I have confidence in the process., and I think people are trying to create a problem, where none exists.

  • Linda

    No, We need full participation in our democracy. I think we have very little voter fraud in our state. The only time you hear this is when a Republican loses an election. Seems to me the Republican mantra during the campaign was JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! Let’s see, we have had proposed changes in our gun laws, voting regulations, but not much on the job front so far. They only have two years.

  • Nathan

    Yes, absolutely.

  • geri

    No. Voter fraud is not a problem in Minnesota. If it were, it’s not hard to get a fake ID. This proposal would cost too much to implement, and would disenfranchise voters and act as a poll tax for anyone who doesn’t have an official photo ID.

  • Louis

    Sure, this way the conservatives can finally get what they’ve always wanted a government that is guaranteed to have every citizen identified and tracked.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I thought the Gang Of Plutocrats was in favor of less government regulation. I guess that only applies when it comes to regulating predatory business practices and economic exploitation.

  • J

    Yet another Republican tempest in a teapot … what was there, 35 or 37 cases of fraud last election all of which were felons (which is another issue) and NONE of which would have been caught if this voter ID bill passes? For a bunch who are talking about cut-cut-cut the budget, way to spend a bunch of staff time and $$ on something useless.

  • Jim Smith

    What is so expensive to implement as saying my name is Jim Smith and producing a license to prove it when you vote? When I go to vote, I see the list of names on the page as I help them check me in. I could easily come back later and say I’m someone else. Why does everyone think verifying who you are is so awful? “Oh, a grand conspiracy to track everyone.” Hello, most people already have a driver’s license. I think the government knows where I live. Liberals don’t like it because it means less people who are dependent upon the government will vote. Bummer, eh? But, that doesn’t have to be the case, unless they all have something to hide.

  • Kim

    After reading HF No. 57, I have concerns about passing the Voter ID bill. This proposed legislation requires eligible voters who do not have a valid drivers license to obtain a voter ID card from a to-be-determined county entity. This card is only valid if the address on the card matches the current county address. If a non-driving Minnesotan moves prior to election day he or she will not be eligible to vote without first surrendering the old card at the county office and then obtaining a new card from their new county of residence. This seems like an undue burden on Minnesotans who do not have a valid driver’s license. The bill has many additional requirements that seem aimed at deterring voter registration. I would urge folks to read the bill before making a final decision.

    I’m disheartened that our legislators would propose a bill without in-depth analysis of how it will impact all Minnesotans. Has an analysis been done proving widespread fraudulent voting in Minnesota? Without a stronger argument by the bill’s authors I’m inclined to oppose this bill.

  • Terri

    Does this seem like an obvious answer to anyone else? Of course you should be required to prove you are in fact the one voting. People need ID’s to write a check, why not something as important as voting?

  • uptownZombie

    No. We don’t have a vote fraud problem in this country that is significant enough to cause worry, if you want to complain about vote fraud look towards countries like Cameroon. We have other issues that our time is better spent on.

  • Alex

    No, there has been little evidence of any voter fraud in our system that has just gone through two high scrutiny tests. There is little reason for implementing such a law beyond voter suppression and a law like this coming out of a republican legislature is at little surprise since most voters that cannot afford a photo ID or otherwise would have their votes suppressed like students would usually vote democratic according to the demographics. If there was evidence of voter fraud that photo ID could actual prevent then I might consider it, but steps would have to be taken to ensure that it isn’t stopping people who have the right to vote from voting.

  • Jessica Sundheim

    One thing I LOVE about voting, is walking into the firehouse and seeing who all lives in my ward. I tell the lady my name and she finds it in the book and I sign; promising I am a legal citizen. My neighbor trusts me (the girl at Goodwill checks my ID), but my neighbor at the polls trusts me. I don’t have to defend myself, my socioeconomic class, my sex, my race, my honor. It is a POSITIVE community experience, and those are running in short supply.

    Have the cuts been so bad that no one has had history??? I lived in the South for six years, we are just as racist here (just not to people’s faces). I quit one political party because I began questioning the integrity of their conservative social (Christian) views when they kept talking about the “damn Mexicans.” (I have family that is 1st generation South American.) Might I remind everyone that the last lynching in MN was in Duluth in the 30’s.

    Anyone who understands what black people had to go through just to register to vote in the 50’s should realize that this proposal is code for “we don’t want people unlike us to vote.” Everyone keeps politely talking about the elderly, but minorities and the poor will also be disproportionally affected by this law. Anyone with an interesting spelling runs the risk of not having the name in the book match their I.D., but MOST IMPORTANTLY this opens the door for harrassment. How will the farm laborer who walks in with dirty clothes be treated? This is another way for big money to create a hassle to keep citizens from trusting one another to do their duty. Another wall. Wake UP!

  • Jessica Sundheim
  • Steve the Cynic

    “When I go to vote, I see the list of names on the page as I help them check me in. I could easily come back later and say I’m someone else.”

    Is there any evidence that such a thing has actually been happening? I don’t remember hearing about anyone complaining that they couldn’t vote because someone else had already voted in their name. If it were happening, it surely would have been brought to light by now.

  • midas

    This sounds to me like a classic solution in search of a problem. I don’t even understand statements like, “Liberals don’t like it because it means less people who are dependent upon the government will vote. Bummer, eh? But, that doesn’t have to be the case, unless they all have something to hide,” except as a way to point out that conservatives would be perfectly happy to deny voting rights to some citizens, which is un-American and unconstitutional. (See what I did there?)

    If we had massive-scale voter fraud, I think this would be helpful. We don’t. Out of millions of votes cast, there are what, a couple dozen cases? That’s about 0.001 percent. Yes, one thousandth of 1 percent.

    I’m no politician, but I’m almost positive there are actual issues the legislature could be working on.

  • midas

    Steve the Cynic –

    But it *could* happen, and that means it is a threat to our democracy, to our very way of life! Won’t someone think of the children??!!!

  • Mary Alice Harvey

    No, we do not need this law. There are procedures in place for identifying voters. They work; fraud is not a problem in this state. I have never missed an election of any sort since I was old enough to vote. I have worked as an election judge, as a poll watcher, as a trainer of poll watchers, as a trainer of judges. In this state we have kept our system updated and working. However, I no longer have a driver’s license. Those people who think it is not difficult to obtain the alternative ID, have not spent a half a day getting to the “licensing” location by public transportaion. They are also people who own a home they have lived in for a number of years. The people who have to spend the time and money to update an ID every year are renters who move every year when the landlord raises the rent. The people who say everyone has an ID, are probably the ones who think everyone has a bank acount and a car. Statistics would prove them wrong. If the issue is felons voting, there is a much simpler and targeted solution: more education,– give more information to people leaving prison or the probation system, so that they won’t err in thinking they are eligible before they are and keep the lists of eligible and ineligble felons up to date.

  • Tony

    How would such a law help create jobs?

  • Steve the Cynic

    A bigger “threat to our democracy” is the paranoid overreaction to imaginary problems and conspiracy theories.

  • Jamie

    No! For all the reasons others have stated. This is a blatant attempt by Republicans to keep people who don’t vote for them from voting. Tricks like this and lying are what Republicans use to get elected.

  • Xopher

    No. The proposed law is obvious voter suppression. Waste of taxpayer money on top of it.

  • Erin

    Showing an ID seems like a very simple way to show you are eligible to vote and prevent voter fraud. The current system MN has works for showing eligiblity, but I have to say the last time I voted, I thought, wow, really they keep track of who is eligible on paper? What a waste, that could be completely computerized so all you would have to do is scan your ID at the door. easy.

  • bsimon

    While on the one hand it is a bit surprising that we don’t have to prove our identity, residency & eligibility when voting; on the other, there doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem as a result.

    On the priority scale, voter ID is pretty far down the list. State legislators, first & foremost should be focusing on 1) the budget; 2) ensuring that critical functions of gov’t are properly funded (i.e. the courts); and 3) planning for & properly investing in the future (i.e. our children & schools) in spite of short term budget challenges.

  • JackU

    I apologize if someone else has said this. All eligible voters will have to be provided with an Id card that is acceptable at no cost. Otherwise it can, and will, be challenged as a violation of Section 1 of the Twenty-fourth Amendment which reads:

    Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

    Requiring that people pay for an ID card would make that payment an “other tax” in this context. So it’s a waste of time if the state is not going to provide the IDs for free.

  • Jim

    Right on, Terri!!!



  • Kirk

    Yes, I feel it is our responsibility to prove we are who we claim to be. The great effort is to reach into your wallet and display a card, painless. I have lived in MN 53 years.

  • Pat Bell

    Calling for a photo ID is a “solution” for a “problem” that is minuscule. It’s an unnecessary requirement and imposes a burden on all — and creates a huge expense on the already-financially strapped state to provide the equipment for producing the photo IDs, for distributing them (after all, drivers’ licenses are generally mailed — and a steadily rising first-class postal rate), and for training the election personnel. More to the point would be improved registration procedures and improved currency of the registers used at the polls when voters check in.

  • Julia

    Voter fraud is not an issue in MN. In fact, we should be encouraging people to vote, not making it harder. There is a perception among conservatives that welfare moms are going to run in and vote over and over again. I highly doubt they have the time or concern to do that. In reality, they are hurting senior citizens who might actually vote for those very same conservatives. Odd irony.

    Also, I thought that the Republicans that came into office were going to prioritize and only focus on legislation that creates jobs or reduces the deficit. Since MN would have to give ID’s away for free (since you cannot tax voters in order to vote), this would do neither. It is a non-issue that just needs to go away.

  • Kim

    Is voter fraud really a problem, especially when less than half of those eligible to vote actually do? And if it is such a problem, when was the last time we heard on the news that someone was arrested and convicted of this horrible crime? And isn’t a driver’s license an ID? I thought we are in a time of trying to save taxpayers dollars, not find ways to spend it.

  • Peter

    This is a bogus issue that has been used for years by the Republican party. It is impossible to protect against everything that could possibly go wrong, and it is a reckless waste of resources to protect against something that presents a threat that, if not nonexistent, is trivial.

    Saying “there could be a problem” does not justify restricting voting rights. Only evidence of an actual non-trivial problem justifies limiting rights and spending limited resources.

    Given the near-certainty that such restrictions would skew the population who show up to vote in favor of Republicans makes the proposal even more questionable. Frankly, it fails the smell test.

  • Bill

    Yes. When I vote, I’m always surprised that we don’t already do this. To a voter not defrauding the system, providing an ID is a tiny burden.

    Cynical as it may seem, I suspect the segment of the electorate unable to provide an ID resides more in one party than in the other. That makes it an issue of one party gaining advantage over its opponent rather than an issue of controlling voter fraud. And I think we all agree that voter fraud is a bad thing. Sadly, this will continue to be a partisan issue.

  • CHS, St. Paul

    The lack of anything resembling an unbiased approach to this topic is absolutely appalling considering the supposed open minded and educated nature of readers on this forum.

    I hear constant braying about how there is no problem, there must not be because we just had two perfect recounts, where is the evidence, etc. All that has been proven is that once votes are cast, we do a great job of tracking, counting, and securing those ballots. Truly we do though, I have no problem accepting the results as given on election night regardless of the margin. There is no widespread evidence of fraud because it is nearly impossible to prove once it has occurred, and rightly so. Once a ballot is introduced into the system, it is gone, with no ability to trace it beyond the precinct level. The only way to ever truly determine if fraud has occurred is to have the person that performed it freely admit it. Good luck on that.

    Now before you go bashing me as some lap dog to the right, I’ll say I think the current proposal is garbage. A county ID for voting? I thought that was called registration…. I seriously doubt that this is some right wing effort at voter suppression, you give way to much credit. They just don’t care is my slant.

    But after cutting through all that, NO one can honestly say that our system doesn’t easily allow for fraud if the intent is there. The only thing that prevents someone from casting as many ballots as they wish is the time it takes to make it to all the different precincts. Just grab a utility bill from a mail slot and grab someone in line to “vouch” for you. Just read the name off the roster and say that’s who you are. How can it be so easy yet have so many people believe there is nothing that needs to be changed?

  • P. Nielsen

    Absolutely not, When registering to vote, proper identification is required and that is sufficient. This lame idea comes to the political area quite regularly by the republican party and its members simply as a way to keep certain people from voting and thereby allow them a better chance at winning. Having worked as an election official a few times, I have never had an occasion when someone tried to vote who was ineligible, and we are quite qualified to weed out those individuals.

  • Michelle


    I am, however, surprised that this isn’t required already. But voter fraud in Minnesota is so exceedingly rare, I think that legislative efforts should focus on something more relevant to the current issues.

  • Kirk

    I have never seen any convincing evidence that voting fraud has been an issue in MN. I am of course in favor of keeping it that way.

    Thankfully, we have time to thoroughly and FAIRLY move toward better verification. The issue that concerns me is that voters of lower ecconomic status are least likely to already posses, or have means to easily get, photo IDs.

    Could this possibly be why Republicans -who typically receive less votes from the ecconomically challenged –keep pushing for this? Oh, am I really this jaded? In a word, yes.

    If photo ID requirements are to be phased-in, then FUNDING must be provided to ensure that every single person is able to conveniently, and without charge get them.

    Otherwise we are right back to the days of unfairly disenfranchising those who need fair representation the most.

  • CHS, St. Paul

    @ P. Neilson,

    You worked as an election official and still make the statement that proper ID is “required” at registration? I guess the whole concept of same day registration has gotten a pretty intense make-over since I worked as an election judge…..

  • Gail Wanner

    No. Voter fraud is extremely rare in Minnesota, so this seems like a solution in search of a problem. In my opinion, the result of enacting this would be to reduce voter turnout among the elderly and poor — the people who can’t or don’t drive and thus have no current drivers license. I recently helped my mother, who is in her 90’s, get a MN ID card and the requirements are very difficult for someone of that age to meet — original social security card, certified birth certificate, certified marriage certificate, etc. It took us several trips to get all the right pieces together and it’s a real effort for an elderly individual to do this.

  • Sue de Nim
  • Katy

    I’m an election judge. When you sign your name you are signing a statement that acknowledges the penalty for voter fraud is a felony which can result in penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to a $10,000 fine.

    Here are a few things that the thousands of people attempting voter fraud will need to count on 1: no election judge remembering you or knowing your real identity, 2: no one in the polling place remembering or knowing the person you are attempting to impersonate, 3: assuming the person you are attempting to impersonate has not already voted, 4: being prepared to be challenged on the voter’s correct address and/or date of birth for the person you attempt to impersonate (also don’t try to be 40 and vote for somebody who is 70), 5: no one in the polling place, including other voters, knowing who you are and calling you by name.

    Texas is having this same debate and it has already passed their Senate.

    Is anybody else suspicious that voter suppression is a national Republican strategy for defeating an incumbent black president?

  • David

    How much voter fraud is there in Minnesota? If it is high or there are problems then IDs could help solve these isisues. However if not, the expense of placing ID creating machines where voters can get IDs and having people to operate them could prove to be an expense the State cannot afford with the current budget problems.

  • Jeff

    Yes, we should all provide an ID when we vote. I was even asked to provide an ID when I voted in the last election (for same day registration). In cases where an individual cannot afford an ID it will be provided for free as per the new law. I haven’t really heard a valid argument against voter ID yet, the one I like the best is that voter fraud is rare so we should just ignore it………murder is also rare but that doesn’t mean we should ignore it when it does occur and that we shouldn’t try to create measures to prevent it from happening. Voter fraud should be reduced in any way possible so using an ID is one method; another one would be having a list of felons (who cannot legally vote) compared against registered voters and make sure the polling stations where those felons are registered know to turn those illegal voters away. For many of you who suggest very few felons were actually prosecuted you have to realize the felons can only be punished if they “knowingly” voted illegally; so if they were not aware their voting rights had been taken away they would not be prosecuted……that’s why the polling stations should have a list and be able to turn them away (or at least inform them they are voting illegally so if a court case does arise there is no doubt they knew they voted illegally).

  • Katy

    Comparing voter fraud with murder because both are rare is false logic. The harm to the general public by voter fraud as compared to a murder is not comparable.

    The voting rosters already clearly identify felons that are previously registered to vote. It says FELONY right on the roster where the person would sign. I’ve seen it. No additional list is required.

    I am not aware of the specific reasons some felons have been allowed to vote.

    Isn’t it odd that only 7 states out of 50 require photo ID to vote? And in reading about those 7 most of them have alternative ways to identify people and allow them to cast provisional ballots.

    I’m so proud that our state has one of the highest participation rates in elections in the nation. I don’t want to see a regulation lower that laudable statistic for some false benefit.

  • mary

    No. We need to spend our precious time solving a real problem. Buget degicent anyone?

  • Ron


    As evidenced in two recent recounts, Minnesota has one of the very best election and most secure processes in the United States. And one of the highest participation rates.

    This is just another attempt to suppress voter turnout in low-income, under-represented areas by powerful interests.

  • Elizabeth H. Edwards

    No. Voter fraud is hardly a major problem in Minnesota, and yes, Katy (above), I, too am suspicious that voter suppression is a national Republican strategy. I believe it’s a strategy for defeating any Democratic candidate, since it’s well known that younger or lower-income or otherwise disenfranchised voters are less likely to vote for Republicans. If the state legislature is so interested in cutting expenditures, why in the world do they want to spend money on a non-problem? I’m proud to live in a state where it’s been determined that accidentally counting a few illegal voters’ votes is infinitely preferable to not counting a lot of legal voters’ votes.

  • Kristin

    I don’t believe we need to enact voter ID law, but my question for Jeff would be, how can we afford to unfold a program that would cost millions of dollars when we have a slight problem with voter id? and the voter id issues we do have ALL have to do with felony voting. Why not find a way to help with the specific problem?

  • Cathy Carlson

    No. This is a solution in search of a problem. Unless, of course, too many people are voting or the wrong kind of people are voting. My elderly Mother lives in Colorado and received a notice last October that she had to bring her photo ID when voting. This so confused her that, even though she does have a valid driver’s license, she ended up not voting. Minnesota does not have money to waste on this foolishness.

  • elisabeth

    NO! Our so-called democracy is already too often exclusive and non-representative. Requiring voters to have a photo ID would exacerbate that problem.

  • Jim Hartmann

    No. Now how about solving the budget deficit or something else actually useful?

  • Gary Kwong

    I have been an election judge for about 5 years. It would be helpful to have a state issued personal photo ID. In addition to proof of residence such as the current month’s utility bill it would simplify verification for those who have varying photo ID such as driver’s license, dorm registration, etc. The vouching for someone else system is less verifiable than a photo ID with a name and photo plus utility bill, etc.

    It’s hard to prove voter fraud, if there’s no consistent ID and vote confirmation system . Having an information, magnetic strip that would add that the voter has voted would assure integrity.

  • Torgy

    MPR News & other MN news programs are overlooking what should be considered a far more controversial component of Mary Kiffmeyer’s bill, H.F. 210, which prohibits certain individuals from assisting disabled citizens from voting. Under Section 16, court-appointed guardians, conservators, or health care personal assistants are expressly prohibited from lending assistance to disabled voters. It goes a step further by expressly prohibiting elections officials from lending any assistance to disabled voters, unless one confirmed registered democrat and one confirmed registered republican both lend assistance to the disabled voter. I’m not making this up. Why isn’t this provision of the bill getting any attention in the press? Why do MN’s Republicans want to make voting unduly burdensome for disabled voters? I think it’s clear that voting fraud is a pretext. It has more to do with demographics, voting trends, and the fact that the disabled by and large vote democratic. This provision discredits the entire bill and you, MPR, should do your job and report it.

  • Richard

    Those concerned about government infringement on liberty should be very concerned about proposals to require the presentation of a government ID to exercise one of our most cherished constitutional rights—the right to vote. What’s next, a special ID to step on a soap box in the public square or gather with friends for a political discussion? How about a special ID to possess a firearm and ammunition or attend the worship of one’s choice?

  • Rebecca

    Of course.

    We produce an ID for nearly everything we do; why should voting, which is a right and responsibility of all good citizens, be any different?

    Responding to Katy’s statement suggesting Republicans are trying to defeat an incumbent black president with this law: Are you suggesting blacks aren’t capable of getting an ID? I doubt the Republicans think that; this one certainly doesn’t. Shame on you for falling back on race-baiting. Shame!

  • Shelly

    No way. This is a solution in search of a problem. We don’t have trouble with elections in this state, so why change it? Passage of this bill would just disenfranchise more people and keep them from voting, particularly the elderly and disabled.

  • Michele Garnett McKenzie

    No. This proposal would do nothing to strengthen democracy in our state. Quite the opposite, it undermines our democracy. It falsely implies that we should not have confidence in elections. It draws on long-standing efforts to disenfranchise minority voters. It manipulates baseless fears to advance an agenda that should have no place in Minnesota.

  • Sue de Nim

    Voter impersonation fraud is the least of our worries about the integrity of our elections. If Republicans were as vocal about the distorting influence of anonymous campaign expenditures by big businesses as they profess to be about voter IDs, I could perhaps be persuaded that this is not a hypocritical ploy to suppress election participation by most disadvantaged of our citizens. As it is, this is pretty clearly a case of manufacturing outrage for political advantage.

  • Carol Ashley

    No. Even if it could solve some minor problems that exist, we can’t afford it.

    Many people who say we need photo id are against illegal immigrants and terrorists voting. For one vote, why would they risk it?

    It’s much more risky to lose democracy by disenfranchising voters.

    What happens to absentee voting and the votes of military personnel if an id is required? Who’s going to check that photo from them to verify that the person is who he/she claims to be.

    And how quickly are people going to be able to assess accurately that you are that person in that driver’s license photo? How many more election officials will need to be hired?

    If the major fraud comes from felons, I think a small part of that million plus that a photo id system would cost could better be spent targeting education when felons get out on probation. Leave the rest to prevent more extreme financial difficulties in our state.

  • Beth

    We are now requried to show an ID when seeing the doctor. Seeing a doctor is a privledge or a right? What is the big deal? I agree that more focus needs to be put on other issues in a state where we are headed to financial ruin. We fight over this ID issue blaming one party or the other. It is a waste of time better used on another issue that is more pressing.

  • Adam

    Absolutely not. The most marginalized of our society are the least likely to have photo identification, and these are precisely the folks that Republicans want to continue to disenfranchise the most. Cut their healthcare, cut their public transportation, cut their social services and they complain. So, cut off their right to vote. Problem solved! Seems simple enough to me.

  • Matt

    I agree with the comment below. Local news outlets are being played by the state’s Republicans. You’re limiting the scope of the discussion, as it’s been shaped by the Republicans. In its complete form, this bill isn’t just about voters proving who they are. The ID matter, with the voter fraud title, is a Trojan horse. In its entirety, this bill is clearly about suppressing votes. The disabled voter assistance prohibition should be included in this discussion. In fact, it should be the source of outrage across the nation. However, unless the actual bill is read, the people have no way of knowing about it because the press isn’t discussing it. Trojan horse.

  • Margit

    This is truly money we don’t need to spend and a way to discourage some people from voting. Voter fraud is not an issue in this state and we should be addressing real issues instead of trumping up false issues to disenfranchise people.

  • Paul, St- Paul

    I see that Kiffmeyer and Limmer’s bill includes a ban on health care workers assisting voters in the booth.


    This really has “Job! Jobs! Jobs!” written all over it, doesn’t it?

  • Paul- St. Paul

    I see that this Kiffmeyer and Limmer’s bill includes a ban on health care workers assisting voters in the booth.


    This really has “Jobs!Jobs!Jobs!” written all over it.

    Seriously, though, have they no shame?

  • Julia

    I will happily accept ID being required for voting if we can also get gun control. Deal?


    Silly. It’s been conclusively demonstrated there is almost NO voter fraud in Minnesota. This is just another attempt by conservatives to try to insert government more completely into the lives of citizens

  • Grant

    Only if everyone making a political contribution is also required to present one.

  • John Anderson

    This another attempt by Republicans to disenfranchise Democratic voters because they can’t win running on the issues alone!

  • Joe Fleischman

    No ID requirement. Solutiuon in earch of problem. Suppression by former hyper-partisan secretary of state.

  • Kevin VC

    Generally ones Drivers Lic and/or State Issued ID should be enough. Very hard to fake.

    And when you get your drivers License you should be registered to vote anyway.

    Every time I vote I am asked to show ID or the like.

    BUT a separate “VOTER ID” is a waste of time and money to appease those paranoid freaks.

    In Minnesota it has not been a real issue, any issues have been generally found and properly addressed. There are ‘claims’ that are unproven that their are horde of fake voters.

    I have seen and heard of ‘one offs’ where a individual or maybe a small 1/6 dozen people get it in their mind to play the system. Considering you have to be registered in one place or another …. that is generally hard. And statistically pointless.

  • Wade

    Yes. You have to provide ID to pick up registered mail, why should it be different for something as important as voting.

    Let’s take it a step further. You should have to take an IQ test based on US history and politics. It’s amazing how so many people are able to vote, but have NO idea what they are voting on or about.

  • Torgy

    It should be noted that the author of this bill, Mary Kiffmeyer (R, Big Lake), told the attendees of a 2004 National Day of Prayer event in Minnesota that the “five words” that are “probably most destructive” in America today are “separation of church and state.” And this isn’t the first time Kiffmeyer’s attempted to suppress voting among under-represented voters. In 2003, again when she was Secretary of State, she implemented a policy to prohibit Native Americans from voting using their Native American tribal ID cards. It took conservative federal judge Rosenbaum to stop Kiffmeyer. On election day 2006, Kiffmeyer supported a decision by local election judges to prevent University of Minnesota students from registering to vote because they had inadequate proof of residence. It took a Hennepin County judge to overrule Kiffmeyer, but not until after the students were turned away. And according to the Star Tribune, after Kiffmeyer left the Sec of State’s office, a Legislative audit showed that she had hired 16 employees at a pay rate that exceeded their collective bargaining agreement without obtaining approval from the Department of Employee Relations, resulting in total overpayment to employees of over $190,000. The explanation given in the audit was because the office mistakenly believed it retained this delegated authority. There were also instances where her mileage reimbursement was calculated from her home near Big Lake instead of from her Saint Paul office, with a lack of a clear “public purpose” explanation for some of her travels. Therefore, Kiffmeyer has a long track record of suppressing the votes of groups that predominantly comprise democratic voters, including Native Americans, college students, and now disabled persons. Furthermore, she has a proven track record of abusing her authority, and exceeding her delgated powers. Moreover, she has a history of unethical actions. These are facts that will never be addressed by the media. Shame.

  • Paul Dahlinger

    Yes. It amazes me that this hasn’t been a requirement for years.

  • Jeremy Powers

    This is a solution to a nonexistent problem. We have less voter fraud than we do any other fraud in this state. Weren’t the Republicans saying they wanted to get rid of red tape for businesses? Apparently they want to add it for regular, everyday people.

  • Lynn Solo

    Absolutely not! This would disenfranchise elderly, non-drivers, the poor and college students. It is not all that easy to obtain a MN ID card. Several years ago I helped my 83 year old, mother-in-law who had recently moved to MN to obtain one. The Department of Motor Vehicles requires you to produce at least one “primary” identification from a long list of possibilities, none of which she had or could find, having moved 3 times in one year. We were about to write to Buffalo, NY, to obtain her birth certificate when we found her unexpired passport. That did the trick. This proposed law would put stumbling blocks in front of a large number of potential voters like my mother-in-law.

  • Barb

    I thought the big issues in the past election were jobs, jobs, jobs. How does requiring voter identification help out the jobs situation? This is another example of our legislators campaigning on one issue but then wasting their time debating a non-issue. It’s becoming a classic tactic and people seem to fall for it.

  • Connie Natzke

    I definitely think we should show a photo ID to vote but the problem is will the election judges actually take the time to check them? That is where my beef is. I’ve been an election judge and I know what is suppose to happen when someone comes to vote. They are to ask your name and address but many times, they just show you the books and have you pick out a name! WRONG! I hear there is a lot of voter fraud from my tea party friends – I’d like to think they are wrong. If we were to shore up our election judges adherence to the rules, I think the opportunity for fraud would be a lot less.

  • Roger Risley

    YES but at every polling station we should have personel there who can take your picture, register you and verify or create a SS# for you. Free of charge. Then keep a record of who issued it, where and when.

    Come on we are in a digital and computerized society….

  • Michael

    Voting in MN (and the rest of the country) is just fine the way it is. This issue is another Conservative red herring. If you can be made to question the honesty of voting you can be made to mistrust and fear the government thereby elected. Vote early and vote in every election and prove them wrong.

  • Nate

    Require photo IDs? Heck no. I’ve been voting in Minnesota for more than 50 years. I trust my neighbors and they trust me. Don’t sow distrust.

  • Katherine Speer

    No this is all nonsense. People don’t just walk in and get a ballot. We have to verify the information they have on site to identify us. If you think election judges aren’t checking let me connect you with my grandson trying to vote in Duluth when he was there as a student. It wasn’t pretty and if he and his roommates hadn’t persisted they wouldn’t been able to vote that year. They made 3 or 4 trips before the judges finally accepted them as bonefide voters.

  • craig

    Totally for Voter ID. Lets be intellectually honest and admit this can only build confidence in our system and there is no chance this will prevent anyone who is actually entitled to vote from voting. Even if only the 30% of Minnesotans who are diehard conservatives gain new found confidence in the system, its worth it. I’m an independent and I don’t trust our current loosey goosey system either. Lets do it!

  • Jean Schiebel

    As a former election judge I feel our system works just fine and I am opposed to voter ID.

  • Greg

    Widespread, organized, consequential voter fraud is a fantasy. It does not (and really cannot) exist. Voter ID legislation has nothing to do with “common sense” reform–common sense suggests there is no need for it. This is a campaign to prevent poor and marginalized people from voting, nothing more.

    Furthermore, voting is a right. I’m opposed to requiring that anyone obtain credentials before they’re allowed to exercise it.

  • Wanda Lunning

    Voter ID SHOULD NOT be required to be able to vote if you are already registered to vote.

    Only individuals who have not moved for years, who are not disabled, who are not elderly, who have never lost their driver’s license (for any reason), who have not moved before the 20 day cut off, would think that having the correct ID to be able to vote is a NO BRAINER and a piece of cake to provide. Having to provide an ID to vote puts barriers up for a vast number of citizens and should not be a requirement.

    Voting is a responsibility and a right for all citizens who are not currently restricted from voting because of a felony CONVICTION.

  • Carol

    We should absolutely have to show a photo ID in order to vote. Very few people do not have some type of picture ID, and it is seldom that we leave home without it. We’re asked to show ID for so many other everyday things that it seems odd that an ID process is not required for voting.

  • Steve the Cynic

    How about we start using that indelible finger ink, like we made them use in Iraq? If you’re worried about people getting back in line to vote again under another name, that would solve the problem much more cheaply than requiring photo ID.

  • Alex V

    No. As a lot of others on here have said, this is a solution to a practically nonexistent problem. In addition, I would argue that requiring I.D. to vote would not solve the problems that proponents claim it will: Stopping non-citizens from voting and stopping felons from voting. A driver’s license or state ID does not have your immigration status or criminal history on it. You don’t have to be a citizen to get a driver’s license. Being convicted of a felony does not disqualify you from getting a license. This is nothing more than a thinly veiled scheme to disenfranchise the less affluent in our state.

  • Chad

    Yes. Any everyone citizen should have the right to vote regardless of money. If they’re required, ID’s should be accessible and free to all.

  • David Strand

    Absolutely not. Minnesota regularly leads the nation in voter participation, a fact worthy of pride. Since the nation’s founding when only 15% of adults could vote, voting rights have been expanded and rightly so. We should work to make it easier to vote, not add needless restrictions. This is clearly a masquerade to suppress voting of the less fortunate, and it is frankly shameful. Fraudulent voting is practically non-existent under current requirements.

  • Dean

    No Way: the legislation is nothing more than a solution looking for a problem, a problem that doesn’t exist. The GOP knows that they can suppress voters (typically, poor or folks who have no permanent address) who tend to not vote in their favor. With little evidence of fraud, why go down that path? Last year, a friend of mine lost her wallet with ID inside. THis occurred just a week before the election, so had a required photo ID law been in place, she would have been disqualified from voting, since replacements often take 1 month. This would be a sham!

  • NO.

    Previous responders have eloquently made the arguments against this absurd bill, designed to control and disenfranchise the less fortunate and line the pockets of the scanner manufacturer(s) who would be supplying the scanners required to read the ID cards.

    The legislature needs to focus on real problems, not imaginary ones created in the paranoid thinking and authoritarian mindset of the proponents of this bill.

  • Mae Sylvester

    What fraud?

  • K.Mehlos

    Of course voter ID should be required. Have people not seen the January reports of confirmed voter fraud registration in New York? Not to mention that the Progressive funded ACORN has been indicted numerous times for voter registration fraud, the first step to getting their fraudulent vote counted.

    The only ones who really oppose voter ID are the ones that are backed by the party that has the record of fraud in voting.

  • Carole Rydberg

    I am an active Democrat and an election judge and I support this bill. I do not agree with the sponsors of the bill, however, who believe that this is needed because of fraud. Every single voter signs an oath when they vote saying that they are subject to a $10,000 fine , five years in jail, or both if they are not being truthful. Many people who are eligible to vote do not register and a sizable percentage of registered voters do not vote. And, yet, we are supposed to believe that there are people who want to vote so badly that they will risk five years in prison to do so? I don’t think so.

    So, why then do I support the bill? For one thing, many election judges are older people and their hearing is not what it once was. In a noisy room it can be difficult to distinguish between a b, c,d,e,v, etc. when a voter is spelling his name. When a voter shows a card, the judge can quick;y locate the name on the list. A card, therefore, speeds up the process, there are fewer errors, and the voting experience is less stressful for both voter and judge.

    It is important that the bill provides for a provisional vote to be cast if the person does not have his ID with him and also important that photo ID cards be given free to those who need them.

    Since 9/11, more places require photo ID … I cannot go to the doctor, ride in a plane, cash a check, etc. without a picture ID. The vast majority of people already have them even if they do not drive because they are now needed for many purposes.

  • Jules Goldstein

    As Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer spent eight years and a fair amount of state resources trying to find cases of voter fraud. She failed miserably. Not letting facts get in the way of her preconceptions, she now wants to require photo IDs. This will effect not just those without a driver’s license. Every one of us will need to wait longer before voting, as each person in front us in line is scrutinized for resemblance to a government issued photo.

    In 2008, Indiana enacted similar laws. Famously, a number of elderly retired nuns, some in wheelchairs, were turned away from the polls. Never having driven, they had no picture IDs. I firmly believe in the separation of church and state, but disenfranchising nuns is going to far.

  • Christine

    Definitely, YES! I already do, even though this is not currently required. Voting is a privilege and a responsibility. Our elected officials are most important to decision making for the common good. How can we be so cavalier about those who come to choose those officials? I am quite confident current voter fraud is rampant given our lax attention.

    Showing I.D. is required for so many things we do. We are expected to prove through photo I.D. that we are in fact who we say we are, whether it is for picking up items purchased, cashing a check, filing for credit, or getting on a plane.

    Because someone has a gas bill for six months, does that in fact verify that they are qualified to vote? An American citizen? Not a convicted felon? We need to tighten our security in this important area.

  • Stephanie

    No. If you’re registered, they ask you to verify your name, address, etc. before handing you the card to get a ballot. That is not information you’re going to know unless you live in the dwelling. Let’s move on to real concerns and stop making them up.

  • August Berkshire

    This is a disgusting Republican attempt to suppress votes from DFL- leaning voters. Just one more attempt to steal elections.

  • Laurie Stammer

    The fact is that this bill is only one of many written by right wing zealots who desire to overtake our democracy with rules to limit participation in an open, free and fair society.

    Call this what it is, an attempt to build a wall between the haves and have nots in our country. On one side is mostly rich white men, on the other is everyone else. Countries with walls in them generally are dysfunctional and always divided. You cannot weigh these changes individually, they have to be seen collectively as a blatant attempt to keep power in the hands of the few with the money. Perhaps it is who we have always been to some degree, but at this crucial point we have to decide if it is all we are capable of being.

  • R. J. Plummer

    Yes, a photo ID should be required. What’s wrong with having to prove you are who you say you are.

  • Lori

    I understand that not everyone has a driver’s license, but what percentage of voters do not have a photo ID? What are the demographics of those who do not have photo IDs? How difficult is it to get a photo ID? Please report on the actual statistics. Why are lawmakers wasting so much time on this when there are so many more important issues that need to be addressed?

  • B. Williams

    Yes, I do believe it would be an excellent idea to require a photo ID when a person goes to vote. Everyone of voter age has to have a voter ID anyway. It is already required in many other instances.

  • Steve

    Most certainly I do believe that a picture ID should be necessary to vote. It is very easy to sign someone else’s name and have a telephone bill. It only makes sense. It is not difficult to get a photo ID even if someone doesn’t have a drivers license.

  • Tom

    Yes. I understand that voter fraud is not a big problem in MN so what is the harm? An ID is necessary to do almost everything else, why not for our most important civic responsibility?

  • Colin


    I’ve served as an election judge for a few cycles, and I would like to point out that current law requires one to show a picture ID to register to vote, whether registering ahead of time, or same-day at the polls.

    Please report this fact.

    Beyond that, it is clear these types of legislation restrict legitimate turnout. I ask this question: how many eligible voters are we willing to disenfranchise in order to catch a single ineligible voter?

    While it is often stated otherwise, this state has every reason to be proud of the efficacy and integrity of its elections. Voter fraud is vanishingly rare–about 1 per 50,000 votes in 2008. Those in support of changing election law bear responsibility to support their arguments with facts–a feat none have achieved, as no such evidence exists.

  • Joey

    I think this is a very drastic step to take, since it will almost definitely result in eligible voters not being able to vote on election day. Before we take that very drastic step, I would at least like to know the extent of the problem it intends to treat, and an estimate of the effect this law would have. Can’t some agency do a study to project the net effect on legitimate votes cast, between thwarting would-be frauds and turning away otherwise eligible voters?

  • Randy Croce

    No, fraud has not been a significant problem in Minnesota elections and this proposal would disenfranchise people who do not have current photo IDs, such as the elderly and other woi don’t drive.

  • Nancy Schumacher

    NO The precinct volunteers have a ward by ward sign in sheet. That is enough. Why spend the time & energy we are doing right now when there are much more important issues we Minnesotans face. Give it up, move on to REAL issues.

  • Wayne Pulford

    Lets see there was 28 convicted on voter fraud in the 2008 election, I hearing it will cost up to $20,000,000.00 to enact this proposed law. That would be $714,285.71 per offence. With a $6,200,000,000.00 deficit where is the value for the money we would be spending?

  • Robert

    We are attempting the same thing here in North Carolina.

    I am intrigued by the number of people who say it is unnecessary and why are they all Democrats? One said that “only” 18 people were caught trying to double vote last election. Sorry, that’s 18 too many. How many were missed?

    Here the Democrats pick up homeless from the streets and gve them a list to use. A judge rulled that they can use the night time shelter as an address. I expect less of that to occur without ACORN organizing it.

    Claiming it as a poll tax doesn’t cut it. The state doesn’t charge for the IDs they issue. The rest have a driver’s license with picture to use.

  • In answer to Kim’s question at 8:15 AM today

    “Has analysis been done proving widespread fraudlent voting in MN ?”

    The answer is “YES” !

    “Facts About Ineligible Voting & Voter Fraud in Minnesota – based on data from MN County Attorneys” is the study you ask about.

    To read the entire report, go to and click on the blue box with the picture of the Capitol dome. The report then downloads.

    Released on Nov 22,2010, this easy to read, year-long, fact-based study is a landmark paper investigating the instances of felons & voting, voter fraud and ineligible voting. This report has been widely publicized and well-recieved. It is helping (some of ) our Legislators understand the issues relating to the current bills now under consideration here in Minnesota.

    Of significance are these 2 findings:

    – there were ZERO convictions for voter impersonation in the 2008 election.

    – the voter fraud rate is miniscule – in the 2008 election, .0009% of voters were convicted of this.

    These 2 problems, while they do exist, are porportionally small when compared to the overall votes in a MN statewide election. It’s like trying to find a needle, not in a haystack, but in all the hayfields in the state.

    The report makes 2 recommendations:

    – do not institute a Photo ID (and its related provisions) in Minnesota. It will cause harm, is costly and not needed.

    – the need to address some disparities in current election laws – specifically on

    deceptive practices in elections (supressing the vote) and felons’ status regarding voting rights.

    Minnesota’s election system has been a high standard of accuracy & reliablity. It was twice put under the microscope of statewide recounts (2008 & 2010). What & how we do elections here as the “Minnesota Model” has been replicated in other states. We are righly proud of our voter turnout ranking #1 or #2 nationally. We are not Florida or Indiana.

    However, now we see a national effort from certian partisian groups & political parties to get Photo ID bills through in many states either as a Law or a Consitiutional Amendment. Currently, about 12 states, including Minnesota have this proposal on the docket in their Legislatures. It is important that we study, debate and seriously consider these changes before enacting any new Laws.

    The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. A well-educated citizenry is just as important. In the next 2 years there will be many educational forums, flyers and articles in the media about this issue. I urge all Minnesotans to take the opportunity to learn the facts, to question and dialogue on the merits, faults, effects & costs of Photo ID.

    (Citizens for Election Integrity MN, founded

    in 2005, is a non-partisian, non-profit organization that advoctes for verifiable, transparent & accurate elections in MN and nationwide. CEI has been mostly involved with the laws on Post-Election reviews / audits and Recounts and has fielded hundreds of non-partisian volunteer observers from 2004 – 2010).

    Catherine D, member CEI MN and League of Women Voters.

  • rob

    No, there should continue to be no ID requirement. This is just a CLANdestin attempt to strip the “wrong” people of their voting rights, ie, poor people.

  • T Williams

    No. This is a solution in search of a problem. The legislature invariably runs out of time for passing legislation. Truly important legislation vital to the welfare of the people of the State of Minnesota do not get just consideration because of all of the time taken up by such legislation. We should be looking for ways to encourage more people to vote than trying to create barriers to citizens exercising their right to vote.