Posted at: 10/02/2012 6:32 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Secretary of State Talks Voter ID in Albert Lea
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Five weeks from Tuesday, voters around the country go to the polls.
And for Minnesota voters, it could mean a change in the way we vote in the future.
It's a proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would create uniform guidelines for all voters.
"The same residency, eligibility and ID verification before their votes can be case or counted," said Minnesota secretary of state Mark Ritchie.
It would require voters to show a plastic government issued ID.
Supporters say the amendment is needed to insure the integrity of the system, and to protect against fraud.
But when Minnesota secretary of state Mark Ritchie met with election officials in Albert Lea to discuss some of the nuances of the amendment.
"Cost estimates, impacts on election officials and impacts on different types of voters," Ritchie said.
Not everyone liked what they heard.
"I waited in vain for you to say even one positive thing about voter ID," one person complained when Ritchie finished his Tuesday morning presentation and opened the session for questions.
“I'm not advocating voting for it or against it,” Ritchie answered, “But I'm concerned about the 84-thousand people who've lived their entire lives without a plastic ID. 84-thousand voters."
"I think if we make things much harder it will be ... we'll have less voters, so that's my concern, that we lose people," said Manchester Township Clerk Neal Gjersvik.
Funding is another concern.
There was a very strong movement in the legislature to vote to cover all local cost. It was defeated" secretary of state Mark Ritchie explained.
“I do think it will be costly. We have the townships we have to replace all our signs. We didn't get any funding for that," said township clerk Neal Gjersvik.
But support for the proposal remains strong: "Trust but verify,” said one person during Ritchie’s Albert Lea meeting. “I trust you sir, but I want to verify your identity, who you really are”.
“Our system is really good,” said township clerk Neal Gjersvik. “I really don't see the point to add this extra layer."
A judge Tuesday postponed Pennsylvania's controversial voter identification requirement, ordering the state not to enforce it in this year's presidential election but allowing it to go into full effect next year.