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Photo ID

October 31, 2012
Marshall Independent

To the editor:

Would you be surprised to learn that the photo on your photo ID is inconsequential when it comes to the voting process and that the cost of voter photo ID is substantially more than the cost of providing IDs to those who don't have them? When I read about lifetime photo IDs for senior citizens, I began to wonder whether the sometime drastic change in appearance that occurs between 65 and 85 wouldn't make it difficult for an election judge to verify identity. I visited and found none of the voter photo ID bills contained procedures for election judges to follow as they ascertained whether the photo on the ID was that of the person standing in front of them. The bills did not contain a requirement to even look at the photo!

The election officials in most precincts will read the name and address as shown and ask the voter to confirm that the information is correct. Would that deter voter fraud? In other precincts, election officials will swipe the photo ID through a card reader. (It's not your photo that is essential. It's the encoded strip that contains your information in a form that can be swiped in to a computer!) The swiped information will be compared against existing information in a database maintained by the state. The voter would be red-flagged if there were any discrepancies, if the voter was on a list of felons, was in the wrong precinct, was under legal voting age, or if the voter had already voted in the election.

Computers would be valuable in checking voter information; but to be a truly effective system, there would need to be computers in a high percentage of the state's precincts - and that comes at a considerable cost which is to be borne by local governmental units.

Get out your checkbook, folks! If all Lyon County precincts having more than 100 voters decided to participate in the computerized system, the taxpayers of Lyon County would need to pay between $252,000 and $339,000 for the hardware state guidelines prescribe. This wouldn't be a one-time cost! Would the voters of Lyon County be willing to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars every eight years (or every four years!) just to have enough computers in place each election day so our 14,000 voters would be able to check in electronically instead of signing the pollbooks as we do now? The real cost of voter photo ID would be many times more than the cost to provide IDs to those who need them!

In summary, the average voter expects voter photo ID to be an easy, effective and economical way to verify voter identity and deter voter fraud. Unfortunately, as presented at this time, voter photo ID betrays these expectations and effects major change to Minnesota's voting process - change that will not be foreseen by the average voter as being part of the photo ID amendment. Please vote no!

Sherri Teig




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