Rep Winkler: Only Voter Fraud Is Claim GOP Cares About Election Integrity

2011 Legislative Session

Minnesota State Representatives Steve Simon (DFL) and Ryan Winkler (DFL) respond to a Republican proposal for a voter photo ID law.

“We have a $6.2 billion deficit, and this bill adds millions in untold spending – not to mention dozens of pages of government regulation and bureaucracy,” Simon said. “The bill even prescribes when recount officials can go to the bathroom. It forces election judges to act like bouncers, screening IDs and kicking people out who they think don’t belong.

“It’s time to put our focus back on the budget – we can’t afford the time and money this bill will waste.”

Rep. Winkler agrees, calling Kiffmeyer’s bill nothing more than a partisan attempt to prevent voters they think will help get Democrats elected.

“The only voter fraud here is that Republican activists claim to care about the integrity of Minnesota elections,” Winkler said.

Press release from Representatives Simon and Winkler on Voter Photo ID

REPS. SIMON AND WINKLER RESPOND TO PHOTO ID DEMONSTRATION
Bill would cost millions, risk blocking thousands of law-abiding Minnesotans from voting

ST. PAUL, MN – State Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R – Big Lake) has introduced legislation (HF210) barring Minnesotans without a photo ID from participating in Minnesota elections. This morning, Kiffmeyer and other GOP lawmakers demonstrated how expensive voter roster systems would root out supposed voter fraud in Minnesota.

State Rep. Steve Simon (DFL – St. Louis Park) says Kiffmeyer’s bill would risk blocking thousands of law-abiding Minnesotans from voting.

“This bill is far too risky and could potentially fence thousands of law-abiding citizens like seniors, students and overseas military out of the voting process,” Rep. Simon said. “According to a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 25 percent of seniors don’t even have a photo ID, so this risk is real.”

State Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL – Golden Valley) says Kiffmeyer is making up solutions to problems that don’t exist. According to Winkler, only 38 cases of voter fraud were charged in 2008 by county attorneys in Minnesota. All of those cases were for felon voting – but since felons are allowed to have a driver’s license, Winkler says Kiffmeyer’s bill would do nothing to stop them.

“Spending $40 million for free photo IDs, expensive electronic roster machines, and creating new levels of bureaucracy to combat this voter fraud myth is just silly,” said Rep. Winkler. “It’s like building a multi-million dollar water barrier to stop the Loch Ness Monster from coming up the Mississippi.”

Simon and Winkler point to other measures in Kiffmeyer’s bill that would further complicate the voting process and bar more Minnesotans from participating in the electoral process. They have concerns about the following provisions:

• The bill would bar disabled persons from voting with the help of a guardian or service provider. So if you’re blind, deaf or otherwise disabled, you must have a family member help you vote.
• No provision is made for absentee ballot identification. If you are out of the precinct, you would either need to show an ID or you couldn’t vote.
• US passports, military IDs and student IDs would no longer be sufficient to register to vote.
• Free IDs are only available at DVS centers. So if you live beyond a reasonable distance, this bill would create a real barrier to voting.
• Proof of citizenship is required to get a free ID, and it may be impossible for senior citizens to secure a birth certificate, or for many people a birth certificate may not have been created.

Furthermore, Rep. Simon points to the fact that while the bill could cost the state and counties millions of dollars, there is no appropriation line in the bill. Facing a multi-billion dollar deficit, Simon says the legislation is a vivid demonstration of misplaced priorities.

“We have a $6.2 billion deficit, and this bill adds millions in untold spending – not to mention dozens of pages of government regulation and bureaucracy,” Simon said. “The bill even prescribes when recount officials can go to the bathroom. It forces election judges to act like bouncers, screening IDs and kicking people out who they think don’t belong.

“It’s time to put our focus back on the budget – we can’t afford the time and money this bill will waste.”

Rep. Winkler agrees, calling Kiffmeyer’s bill nothing more than a partisan attempt to prevent voters they think will help get Democrats elected.

“The only voter fraud here is that Republican activists claim to care about the integrity of Minnesota elections,” Winkler said.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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