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Ritchie, AL residents clash over Voter ID

Published 10:45am Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ALBERT LEA — Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie visited Albert Lea Tuesday, and opinions clashed on the proposed voter ID amendment on the November ballot.

Ritchie said he is worried about county voting cost increases if the amendment is approved and the risk for unfunded mandates.

The amendment would require people to present government-issued photo identification before receiving a ballot. The state would be required to issue ID at no charge to eligible voters who do not have the required identification. Also, a voter unable to present ID must be allowed to submit a provisional ballot until the ID is verified.

Supporters argue the ID requirement is needed to curb voter fraud.

Some in attendance questioned the intent of Ritchie, a Democrat, in coming to Albert Lea, accusing him of speaking as an elected official in a role against the amendment.

Resident Paul Overgaard said people need to have an ID to cash a check or do almost anything anymore, and he asked how this would be any different.

Albert Lea lawyer Matt Benda asked how many people in Freeborn County do not currently have a photo ID. Ritchie said he didn’t have a local breakdown, but 84,000 people across the state do not have the necessary ID to vote.

“Do you really want to go down a path and lock in plastic identification into your constitution?” he said.

He noted instead that he was in support of an electronic voter identification system, which he said would be easier and cheaper.

He also said he does not think people are out to create fraud.

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  • Terry Zabel

    Why aren’t Democrats, college students and elderly upset that those against voter ID think they are not smart enough to find out they will need an ID to vote and are not smart enough to be able to get an ID?

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  • Terri Zwiener

    What happens if on November 1 you get your purse stolen? What happens to your grandmother who is wheelchair bound in the nursing home doesn’t have a photo id because she hasn’t driven for years? This is ridiculous! Voter Fraud is such a small issue and the fraudulent people WILL find a way to vote!

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    • Terry Zabel

      Terri, your Grandmother in the nursing home can get a state ID card. How do you know voter fraud is a small issue? If you don’t look for it you will not find it. If your purse gets stolen then put in the law that you can get a copy of the police report and have it verified. There are solutions and since there is no law yet there is no way anyone can say what the cost will be if any.

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