MARSHALL?- The voter ID amendment has more to it than people might think, said Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
Ritchie stopped at the Independent on Thursday afternoon prior to attending a meeting with city, county and township officials and others regarding local elections and other issues. Ritchie said officials are concerned about the financial repercussions, timeliness in vote counting and disenfranchisement ramifications should the amendment pass.
"I'm meeting with election officials who are worried about the proposed amendment and have come out with some very strong concerns about this issue," he said.
The amendment, which would require people to present photo identification to vote, will be on the ballot this November.
"There are two big issues," Ritchie said. "One is there is a very high cost, about $50 million to create this provisional balloting system - half state and half local. For the local government it's between $10 million and 15 million a year.
Townships estimate that for their March elections it would be $1 1/2 to $3 million extra per year. So that's one thing - it's very expensive."
"The second thing is it requires a long delay in reporting of election results."
The new amendment would affect same-day registering and also absentee voters which include the military and people in nursing homes and people with disabilities, he said.
Ritchie said, "The local officials are very proud of their work, very proud that Minnesota has the one of the highest voting rates in the nation, they are very proud of the recounts, where everything was wide open and there wasn't a whiff of fraud. I think for the local officials it's why would you throw a good system out and lock it into old technology?"
Voters can find additional information about the proposed constitutional amendments at: www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=1719
The Secretary of State office provides a voter education website that includes voter, candidate, voter registration and additional information at: www.mnvotes.org
Ritchie also wanted to let the public know that a rare copy of a 1787 U.S. Constitution and a 1789 Draft of the Bill of Rights will be on exhibit from April 3-July 4 at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.