Ritchie, AL residents clash over Voter IDPublished 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.