Voter ID Would Cost County, Cities Thousands

Hennepin County estimates the measure would have cost an extra $550,000 countywide during the 2008 election.

Voter ID would require more election judges, additional training and new equipment that would result in hundreds of thousands in new election costs for Hennepin County and cities within its boundaries, according to county estimates.

The costliest piece for the county would be provisional ballots for those who do not have photo identification on election day. Costs would include special equipment, additional staff time to process the votes and reminder notices for those who used provisional ballots, which would be counted only if the voter later supplied proof of identity.

“This means that after a very long election cycle we’re going to be remaining in this intense world for a little bit longer,” said Rachel Smith, the county’s election manager. “These ballots would almost certainly be the first item of contention if we saw a result like we did in 2008 or 2010.”

A survey the county filled out estimated that provisional ballots would have cost Hennepin $193,150 for the 2008 election plus $44,625 in startup costs.

Voter ID would also require one more election judge per precinct—or 425 countywide—to help voters fill out provisional ballots, Smith said.

Head judges will require an extra four to six hours of training, while the remaining judges will have about two more hours of training. The training time would also tax city clerks, who would have to spend time preparing for the training and conducting it.

In all, the extra judges and training would cost about $50,000 to $60,000 countywide, with individual cities paying for the bulk of that, Smith said.

Hennepin County estimates there would be $288,000 in costs from traveling to nursing homes and other health care facilities—a task the county would likely delegate to individual cities.

The county also expects additional expenses from processing applications and producing the IDs, including overtime from an anticipated rush to get IDs in the weeks before the election. That would have cost about $66,792 in the 2008 election, according to the survey.

In all, the county estimates the 2008 election would have cost Hennepin County and its cities close to $550,000 more if voter ID were required.

Elections officials likely won’t have a whole lot of time to put the measures into effect either. The proposal is up for voter approval in November. If approved, the Legislature will need to approve a law specifying the details of how it will work.

That could take until May 2013, which would give officials one to two months to prepare.

In the meantime, local governments are still facing unknowns that could create further costs. There’s been a proposal to have the county election office provide the free photo IDs that will be available to those who don’t have one, Smith said.

Someone also will need to provide public education about the new rule if it passes. If the state doesn’t do that, the responsibility could fall on local governments.

“If (the state) is going to put something like this in place, what are they willing to do?” Smith asked.


Estimated added Voter ID costs for previous elections

Start-up costs 2008 2009 2010 No. of voters --- 754,844 38,789 605,724 Processing applications, producing IDs $50,000 $66,792 $3,432 $53,328 Provisional balloting $44,625 $193,150 $142,623 $182,425 Training election judges and clerks* $54,550 Visiting health care facilities* --- $288,000 $288,000 $288,000 TOTAL $149,175 $547,942 $434,055 $523,753

*Costs would be borne by the cities.

SOURCE: Hennepin County Elections

strangedub April 16, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Is there a proven voting fraud problem in MN? Nope. Is there any known widespread problem with same-day voter registration? Nope. Is there a growing immigrant community in MN? Yup. So why all the fuss about changing our voting laws to make them much more restrictive? You guessed it: the GOP is worried about changing demographics, and they will do anything to improve their chances in upcoming elections. This is the TRUE voting fraud happening across the U.S.
Dan McGrath April 16, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Is there a proven voter fraud problem in Minnesota? Define "proven." If by that you mean charges that were proven in a court of law, resulting in convictions, then YUP. Minnesota currently leads the entire nation in voter fraud convictions. More from a single election than any other state in the last 50 years (177 and counting). See what else is going on: http://www.electionintegritywatch.com/news-stories/ Is there any known widespread problem with sameday registration? Define "problem." If by problem, you mean organized efforts to expolit our vouching law, or thousands of election day registrants providing names and/or addresses that don't exist, then, YUP. http://youtu.be/QmBlonSeaoQ http://wewantvoterid.com/documents/2012_PVC_Report_Final.pdf
rob_h78 April 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM
This issue is so typically American - let's spend time, effort and money on a non-existent issue because we are scared that something "might" happen - while we have a house burning right behind us and we do nothing because that would actually require real effort...
Dan McGrath April 17, 2012 at 01:05 AM
"And, when your neighbor shows up to vote, you would be found out." How? Please, oh please explain to me how you'd catch someone who signed in using a false name after the fact. They'll know somebody voted using a false identity. How will they know who?
Ron West April 17, 2012 at 01:26 AM
@strangedub- If your "changing demographics" are in this country illegally then you bet your liberal a__ we don't want them voting! If they are smart enough and honest enough to be here legally we welcome that vote ... it wouldn't be Democrat !
Ron West April 17, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Non existent as long as your horse wins. In Franken's case only part of the horse crossed the finish and it wasn't the head. You are right about the house burning.; If you would have used the wall extinguisher you wouldn't have needed the fire department !! Fix the basics and you don't have the problem...(goes right over your head doesn't it?)
charles spolyar April 17, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Middle initials too! That is too funny. How about childhood nicknames? You two aren't in the same voting precinct are you? THAT would cause some confusion.
charles spolyar April 17, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Voter Fraud does happen... Not often, but here's an interesting case: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57371606/ind-election-chief-found-guilty-of-voter-fraud/
Carole Rydberg April 17, 2012 at 05:48 PM
In response to a previous comment on how someone would be caught at the poll if he attempted to vote in the place of a neighbor: The judge is instructed to keep "the book" facing away from the prospective voter and to ask the person to verify both the address and birthdate. Secondly, most of the judges live right in the precinct and at least one is likely to know the neighbor who is the legitimate voter. Third, if the legitimate voter has already cast their ballot, the imposter would be discovered immediately. But lets get real and acknowledge that voter fraud based on one person misrepresenting themselves as someone else very, VERY rarely happens and, yet, that is the only type of fraud that would be stopped by photo ID. Also, related to a different comment, there is a difference between committing fraud vs. being an ineligible voter. That latter is not fraud because it is viewed as unintentional rather than intentional. That was the case with most instances of felons who voted. Because most had photo IDs, the best way to stop this is to simplify the system and let former felons who have completed their time in prison to vote after release as is done in many states.
Dan McGrath April 17, 2012 at 06:26 PM
"The judge is instructed to keep "the book" facing away from the prospective voter and to ask the person to verify both the address and birthdate. Secondly, most of the judges live right in the precinct and at least one is likely to know the neighbor who is the legitimate voter. Third, if the legitimate voter has already cast their ballot, the imposter would be discovered immediately." I think not. First of all, fraud isn't likely to be committed by a neighbor, but by someone from outside your precinct. The book facing away is useless. The voter rolls are available from the SOS, listing names, addresses, year of birth and precincts of every voter. It also shows how often a person votes - do they vote in primaries? non-presidential? If you give a name that's already been signed, just say, "well, there must be two of us" and complete an Election Day registration. Not really "busted." So, again, how are you going to catch someone who voted using a false name, after the fact? Say I walk into your precinct, give the name Don Johnson and have a random voter vouch for me and I vote. Later, a post card gets mailed to the false address I provided. It comes back undeliverable and "Don Johnson" is flagged for challenge in the *next* election. Election officials suspect Don Johnson is not a real, eligible voter, but my ballot has already been accepted and counted. You have no idea who actually cast the ballot. How are you going to prosecute Dan McGrath.
Orono April 21, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Let's be honest - the alleged "poor" that this effects would be better off actually being part of our society with an actual ID.
rob_h78 April 22, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Let's be honest the whole voter ID issue is simple - Republicans have made a decision to continue (for now) to continue to appeal to their shrinking base, instead of upsetting their base and moving to appeal to a wider population so they are looking to simply try and reduce the number of voters outside of their base. It is a short term strategy (the leaders of the Republican Party know it) but it will tide them over until they figure out how to tell their shrinking base the truth - the percentage of the white vote is decreasing and sooner or later the Republicans will have to start appealing to non-whites in order to win national and swing state elections.
Carole Rydberg April 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Rob is correct if we look at ALEC and the Republican leaders who are promoting photo ID. However, there are many people who support it who simply see it as "common sense" and do not yet grasp that ... especially when combined with the elimination of vouching ... those two changes taken together will disenfranchise many voters who are changing residences or are temporarily out of the state. I sincerely believe that many who support it do not intend to deny the vote to anyone. If we want to eliminate fraud, we need to change the rules re felons because THAT is where the very small but documented fraud occurred. Vote "No" on both amendments.
Ron West April 22, 2012 at 04:09 PM
If ANYONE is "DISENFRANCHISED" (liberal speak for VICTIM SYNDROME) it is and has been the voter who has played by the rules and performs his civic duty without bawling and whinning. Every time an activist stuffs the ballot box or illegals vote it cancels out the vote of legitimate citizens who are actually invested in the rule of law. Yesterday I had to show a photo ID to have dinner. Common sense is truly LOST on the liberal mindset. VOTE YES ON BOTH AMENDMENTS.
Ron West April 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Honest?... really? ... liberals? LOL. Just bring it in November!! We'll see whose base is shrinking...
Orono April 23, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Shrinking base? Care to bet your food stamps on that really ignorant comment?
Orono April 23, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Seriously, be honest with yourself. Do you really think there is a group of people that are sitting at home, with no ID, really wishing to get out and vote but suddenly feel trapped or “disenfranchised”? These same people are obviously not out working, buying things, volunteering... Just to volunteer today you need a background check and a photo id. Seriously, people. Who is exactly being disenfranchised? You are lying to yourself.
Carole Rydberg April 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Having an ID is no problem to those of us who HAVE homes and are AT home ... but what about those who are away from home (say Afghanistan, Arizona snow birds, or MN students living in other states)) and must vote by mail? Or what about those who are in transition because they have recently lost homes, been hospitalized, changing apartments, or had their ID stolen? Certainly is no problem for those of us who are simply "at home" to show a photo ID with our current address ... but what about those who are not "sitting at home"? Must they lose their right to vote? Aren't we better people than that?
Orono April 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Come on Carole, use your brain. Try reading an actual article on the subject. Those issues would be dealt with.
Ron West April 24, 2012 at 02:19 PM
...common sense is truly LOST on the liberal mindset... Most of the folks you mention are or should be insulted by your assumption they are not capable of getting their vote counted because of their situation. I'll guarantee you those citizens in Afghanistan have this situation well under control! LOOSE their right to vote? Your low opinion of Americans is typical of the liberal ideal... you don't have to make any effort to get what you need or want ... and some have to work harder than others to accomplish it ... it AIN"T FAIR but we nasty conservatives have made that the rule since life is always FAIR.
James Warden (Editor) April 24, 2012 at 02:57 PM
This isn't related to voter ID, but it's worth noting that service members in Afghanistan don't necessarily have "this situation well under control." When I was in Baghdad just before the 2008 election, I met a pair of soldiers who on their own initiative worked to educate others about how to submit ballots in the event they didn't arrive on time. Their concern was a real one. A report found that half of ballots got to overseas voters too late in that election (http://www.stripes.com/news/report-half-of-absentee-ballots-got-to-overseas-voters-too-late-1.87871). Notably, people in the military made up only a fraction of the survey group, so this is not a problem confined to the unique circumstances of Iraq and Afghanistan. A report on the 2010 election (http://www.stripes.com/news/report-one-third-of-overseas-voters-couldn-t-cast-a-ballot-last-fall-1.134413) found the number had dropped to one-third for that election—still too high, in my opinion. Like I said, this isn't really related to voter ID. I just thought it was a good opportunity to point out an important issue.
rob_h78 April 25, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Oh, they fully grasp what the voter ID laws are all about. They never seemed to care about these voter ID laws until the "black guy" got elected, when they saw that the "white" vote is becoming less influential, that suddenly those brown skinned people's votes can have a real impact, that their "way of life" is under assault - oh they know full well why voter ID laws are being pushed. They talk about "voter disenfranchisement" as if they can point to vast conspiracies going on - then they say "Even 1 Vote" - well can they guarantee that every vote cast by a voter in every election at every voting spot is 100% accurately counted - that there is not a SINGLE ballot EVER that is recorded for the wrong candidate? No they cannot. We have seen just in the Republican Primaries the number of ballots received by each candidate change when they recount so they can't even ensure the sanctity of the ballot box in their own primaries. And where is the big push to ensure that EVERY VOTE is 100% accurately counted every time? (I hear crickets out there Republicans, come on where is your plan for that?). These people know full well why the voter ID bills are being pushed, it has nothing to do with the "sanctity of the ballot box" and has everything to do with trying to win with a decreasing share of the overall vote in the country by the white, conservative demographic.
Ron West April 26, 2012 at 04:49 PM
You are making my point ! Those soldiers who really want their vote to count will do what it takes to get the job done unlike the whinners like Rob who see themselves as victims at every opportunity and continuously deflect any responsibility for todays problems by attributing their own mindset to Republicans. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Ron West April 26, 2012 at 05:11 PM
The failure to get the ballots to our service people in time in the previous elections is inexcusable and must be corrected. The issue liberals don't get is that even though the system isn't and never will be PERFECT, it is our responsibility to do everything possible to work toward the goal of fair and accurate elections. Voter ID is one of those things that will help to accomplish this. If you opponents want things 100% you're in the wrong world !!!
James Warden (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Again, the overseas voting issue is totally separate from voter ID. But with regards to ballots arriving late, there is clearly a problem. The soldiers did what they were supposed to—registered on time, requested an absentee ballot, etc. They had every reason to believe their ballots would arrive on time. But in at least one out of three cases, that didn't happen. Backups are important, but there's a problem when those backups become the primary method. A couple soldiers had to take it upon themselves to educate their comrades about alternatives precisely because so many others didn't know those alternatives existed. I, for one, didn't know the steps to take at the time—and, as a reporter, I had much better access to the Internet, cell service and other resources than the average soldier at a small outpost. (For those who are curious, the Overseas Vote Foundation has created a YouTube video explaining what to do: http://youtu.be/2KPGyUZk8Mw) So I don't think it's whining to call attention to a legitimate problem. It's just recognizing that this is one more way we could support our troops. The good news is that, unlike with voter ID, this is a logistical challenge, not a political one. The numbers are dropping, and we're seeing progress. Still, I hope we see quite a bit more progress come November.
James Warden (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I wrote the post above before I saw this one. Looks like we're on the same page re: overseas voting.
rob_h78 April 26, 2012 at 07:20 PM
So - where are the Republicans on correcting the issue of ballots and our military? Republicans have enough time and energy to expend on a non-existent issue of "voter fraud" relating to ID's (along with spending taxpayer money on it) but can't spend any time for our military voters? The truly ironic thing about Voter ID is that most of the cases of Fraud I have seen reported would not be solved by Voter ID laws... So again - this is all about driving down voter turnout. Can these Republicans guarantee that every ballot is correctly counted every time? Of course they can't - they can't even get the counts correct in their own Primaries in mulitple states - and yet that is TRUE voter disenfranchisement but not a single word o of concern from Republicans on this issue. Why not? Because it doesn't help them to drive down voters. Republicans just can't be honest about what they are doing, which I understand, because actually acknowledging that this was never an issue until the "black guy" was elected, while it would be cheered by their Base it wouldn't go over very well with swing voters who decide general elections.
Ron West April 26, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Last I checked Democrats have had 2/3 or more of governmental power for the last 5 1/2 years... where are THEY on the ballot problems of 2008 and 2010? Your attempt to make this a race issue is pathetic. Maybe you could go on Al Sharptens show on MSNBC if you want to be a part of that race baiter crowd . Get over it!
Orono April 27, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Way to go ROB!!! You have no real argument. You don’t agree with the majority of the messages on here so you resort to the #1 liberal tactic. You cry racism. You are a perfect liberal solider. Even though you look like a huge racist for even bringing the matter up, you stuck to the script and spewed your garbage. Well Done!!
Orono April 27, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Hey Rob, you are projecting your own ugly feelings on everyone here. Obviously, you are a huge racist. You are the only person to post a comment and mention race. When everyone else on here was stating facts and opinions, you screamed racism. Why? Obviously you are racist. And as a liberal screaming racism, you are also obviously white.


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