Skeptics Of Voting Integrity Should Like Poll Book Proposal Says Sen. Bonoff

A proposal called “electronic poll books” is getting the thumbs up from DFL Senator Terri Bonoff. After listening to Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s presentation she called the proposed new voter registration system exciting because “it brings the kind of voter integrity measures using the latest technology to the forefront.”

Senator Bonoff says research shows there isn’t any voter impersonation fraud in Minnesota, the only kind of fraud that a Republican backed voter photo ID constitutional amendment would prevent.

“But suppose you were skeptical about that”, said Senator Bonoff. “And you still thought that people were pretending to be somebody that they’re not. If you knew that you were going to have to show your proof of where you said you lived and have your picture taken that was going to go to our database system, isn’t that a pretty strong deterrent.”

Bonoff thinks the proposal might get Republican support too.

“I was in a meeting where Representative (Mary) Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake ) looked at it. She really likes the proposal. Does that mean she isn’t going to go forward with her proposal (for a constitutional amendment) as well? I don’t think so.”

Democrats are opposed to voter photo ID because they say it will reduce voter turnout by from 200,000 to 400,000 voters.

How electronic poll books would work

The proposed procedure would work as follows: If a prospective voter has a Minnesota Drivers License or another state issued ID, the election judge would swipe the card and a photo of the voter would be retrieved from the state database and displayed to the judge, thus guaranteeing the voter is who they claim the are.

New registrations would be initially handled as they are now with appropriate proof of residence. Vouching (another voter from that precinct swearing that the new registrant lives at the claimed address) would continue as it does now. Then the voter’s picture would be taken and transmitted to the state database.

In case of any question, the photo and other data could be retrieved.

Falsifying voting is a felony, thus a serious crime. Today when the voter signs the voting roster they are swearing to the accuracy of this action under penalty of felony charges.

The cost of implementing this system state wide is estimated to be about $10 million. The cost of the proposed voter photo ID amendment was estimated at $30 to $40 million when a similar proposal came up in the legislature last year.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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