Voter ID Mandate Would Cost Minnesota Over $80 Million

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Common Cause Minnesota and Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota released a briefing paper showing that the State of Minnesota is severely underestimating the significant cost of the voter ID mandates moving through the Minnesota legislature.

As the Minnesota legislature and governor struggle with a $5 billion budget deficit, a voter ID mandate would add over $80 million in red ink to the budget problems. In addition, the bill would add millions of dollars in unfunded mandates to local governments at a time when they least afford to absorb those costs.

“Minnesota cannot afford to take millions of dollars away from funding education, police and firefighters, or plowing roads, and spend it on a government mandate that won’t solve any of Minnesota’s pressing problems,” said Mike Dean, Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota. “In every state that has adopted a voter ID law, court challenges have made those states adopt expensive measures to mitigate the burdensome effects on voters.”

The legislation and fiscal note ignores key requirements that the courts have mandated for any voter ID law. Specifically, the fiscal note does not take into account the costs of directly reaching out to communities that are least likely to possess a valid ID, such as the elderly, low income individuals and students. The courts have required public education efforts to include: mailings to all voting-age citizens, purchase of radio, television and newspaper ads.

The report states, “The state of Indiana, which this bill is modeled after, experienced a large demand for free ID’s. From 2007-2010, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles issued 771,017 free photo ID’s. The state had to spend over $10 million to provide the IDs, which is significantly more money than the state had budgeted for.”

Read the full report here: VOTER ID COST REVIEW

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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