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MN GOP’s Photo ID Amendment Hits Minnesota Counties with Huge Costs Even As GOP Legislature Slashes Local Government Aid

6:40 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

First it was Rice County. Then it was Kittson County. Now, as BSP’s Sally Jo Sorensen notes, yet more parts of greater Minnesota are noticing the huge holes that the state Republicans’ “Photo ID” vote-restriction amendment would blow into their budgets –budgets that the Republicans controlling the state legislature are already hurting by slashing Local Government Aid:

In his September 1 editor’s column, Local silence on amendment issues troubling, St. Cloud Times editor Randy Krebs asks:

Speaking of laws, everyone knows that if the Voter ID amendment passes it is going to require more tax dollars as well as more local resources to conduct elections. Do local elected officials honestly think their state-level peers will pay those bills? Have they not watched how state aid to cities, higher education and other areas has dried up in recent sessions? Amid that trend, it’s obvious local jurisdictions have a huge interest in the outcome. So again, as leaders of the community, at least go public with a position.

Silence isn’t leadership, at least not in this election.

It’s a good point: the Republican caucuses now controlling the Minnesota legislature have been aggressive in cutting Local Government Aid for greater Minnesota.

Over in the northwestern Minnesota city of Detroit Lakes, Nathan Bowe, writing for DLOnline, the online arm of the local daily paper, lists all the hassles and headaches — including provisional balloting and the long lines and bogged-down vote counts that entails — and finishes up by describing the financial burden to the state’s taxpayers:
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MN GOP’s Voter ID Plan Would Cost Two Rural Counties Nearly $1 Million

9:22 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Minnesota State Fair Seed Art 2012 (photo: Mpls55408 / flickr)

Not only is Minnesota’s Kiffmeyered amendment version of ALEC’s voter restriction (aka “Photo ID”) model bill useless at stopping the sort of voter fraud it’s touted as stopping, it would also be ruinously expensive for state and local governments to enact.

The steep expense of the Photo ID amendment if it passes was first noticed in the case of Rice County, which would be out around $120,000 — a big financial blow for a largely-rural county of less than 65,000 souls. As bad as that is, it’s much worse for Minnesota’s Kittson County, which is even more rural than Rice: The 4,552 residents of Kittson County would, if this Photo ID amendment passes, get socked with a $730,000 bill.

That’s right, folks: The good folk of Kittson County are being asked by the Minnesota Republican Party to shell out $160 for every man, woman and child in the county, and to pay for something that won’t fight fraud but will make it harder for legal voters like shut-ins, veterans, and college kids to vote.

Worst of all: Rice and Kittson are only two of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties, and not very big in terms of population. Imagine what the other eighty-five counties (and their taxpayers) will be paying.

All so the Republicans can try to screw a few tens of thousands of Minnesotans out of their right to vote.

(Crossposted to Mercury Rising.)

(NOT) Breaking News: James O’Keefe May Have Violated Parole (Again)

11:48 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Our favorite conservative clown with hidden money propping him up has struck again:

In a new video, a member of James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas” manages to enter a D.C. polling station and receive a ballot for none other than Attorney General Eric Holder, simply by providing Holder’s address.

Oh noez! This means there’s an epidemic of this sort of thing going on! Or so O’Keefe and his sugar daddies would have us believe. What they don’t tell you is that the penalties for doing this sort of voter fraud are so severe that no sane human, much less a group of sane humans, is going to attempt it very often. As the Brennan Center for Justice explains:

Because voter fraud is essentially irrational, it is not surprising that no credible evidence suggests a voter fraud epidemic. There is no documented wave or trend of individuals voting multiple times, voting as someone else, or voting despite knowing that they are ineligible. Indeed, evidence from the microscopically scrutinized 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington State actually reveals just the opposite: though voter fraud does happen, it happens approximately 0.0009% of the time. The similarly closely-analyzed 2004 election in Ohio revealed a voter fraud rate of 0.00004%. National Weather Service data shows that Americans are struck and killed by lightning about as often.

That’s right, folks: Even with all the silly stunts financed by right-wing fellow travelers of the ALEC geniuses who gave us the “Voter ID” model bills in the first place, your chances of seeing voter fraud are right down there with your chances of being struck by lightning. There’s a far greater chance in my opinion that these stunts are being done in violation of O’Keefe’s parole, but since DoJ is unwilling to risk making him a pseudomartyr, he gets to skate. For now.

GOP’s War on Voting, Minnesota Edition: The Twelve Ways of ALEC’s Kiffmeyer to Disenfranchise Us

4:48 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

As Minnesota holds its 2012 election caucuses tonight, I thought this might be apposite.

I was planning to wait until this weekend to discuss the State Rep from ALEC’s Mary Kiffmeyer and her strange war on Native Americans and their defenders, but I decided to take advantage of what Jon Walker had to say about the Virginia front in the GOP’s War on Voting, and of a document that’s circulating through the local online media, and which I received through the e-mail transom.

This document summarizes twelve specific actions taken by Mary Kiffmeyer during her time as Minnesota’s Secretary of State (1998 to 2006) that put the integrity of voting in Minnesota at risk during that time. Here they are, in order:

#1 was her rushed and slapdash adoption of the Help America Vote Act — 41 other secretaries of state asked for and got delays on implementing HAVA until after 2004, but Kiffmeyer, over strong and sustained protests, went ahead with the implementation, generating criticism from Minnesota Republicans as well as Democrats that she was deliberately botching the implementation in such a way as to make it harder for persons to vote.

#2 concerned the confusing forms Kiffmeyer had designed, purportedly to comply with HAVA; Minnesota’s two most populous counties, Hennepin and Ramsey, rejected them in favor of existing federal forms when it was time to gear up for the 2004 elections. Kiffmeyer asked the Department of Justice to investigate, falsely claiming the forms were illegal, and even the Bush DoJ was compelled to rule against her.

#3 was Kiffmeyer’s decision to remove Independence Party candidates from the 2004 general election ballot because their candidates hadn’t received 10% of the votes in the primary election. She based this decision on a rarely-used law from the 1930s disqualifying parties not getting 10% of their votes received in the “last election,” a rule she hadn’t enforced up to that point.

#4 is especially sleazy: She actually tried to keep Hennepin County’s absentee voters who had voted for Paul Wellstone before his tragic death in October of 2002 from being able to re-cast their ballots for a living candidate. Kiffy decreed those absentee-ballot-voter re-votes to be invalid, but the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled against Kiffmeyer, allowing absentee voters to revote.
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Republican Tea Party Groups Using Joke Lawsuit to Scare Minnesota’s Poor, Youth Vote away from Polling Places

7:29 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Jeff Rosenberg reports that the teabagger wing of the Minnesota Republican Party is attacking efforts by state and local officials to keep them from practicing typical Republican voter-intimidation tricks:

Minnesota Majority, the group that is organizing gangs of thugs to intimidate voters on election day, is trying to turn our very polling places into partisan battlefields.

The law in Minnesota is simple: It says that no campaigning is allowed in the polling place. Voters must be allowed to exercise their right to vote peacefully, without being beset by partisans. The right to peace and privacy while voting is a fundamental part of our right to vote.

Now MN Majority and the North Star Tea Party “Patriots” are suing Hennepin and Ramsey counties for the “right” to outfit their voter-intimidation thugs with Tea Party logos and campaign slogans.

These groups are part of the umbrella far-right group “Election Integrity Watch”, and they’re trying to push to wear Tea Party slogans that despite their claims aren’t even close to being disguised as non-partisan. The lawsuit won’t get very far in court, but that’s not its point. Its point is to be part of the climate of fear and intimidation that the Republicans are trying to create in order to keep younger and poorer voters from voting.

A good chunk of the fear-and-intimidation gambit is to imply, heavily, that those who are poor, non-white, or between the ages of eighteen and thirty have no business trying to vote, and that any efforts made by them to vote are “illegal”. This is done in part by suggesting that “vote fraud” is a far more common problem than it really is: Read the rest of this entry →

Indiana’s Vote-Suppressing GOP Sec. of State Gets A Taste Of His Own Medicine

2:35 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Thanks to jayt for this:

[Indiana Secretary of State Todd] Rokita, of course, is an outspoken defender of one of the strictest photo ID laws in the nation. In the weeks leading up to the election, he also recommended filing charges related to bad voter registrations delivered by ACORN, the community activist group.

Then, a funny thing happened to Rokita on the way to voting:

His own absentee ballot was challenged by precinct poll workers.

According to Marion County election officials, his messily inscribed signature upon checking in to vote — he signed it "Todd Rokita" — did not match his neat poll book signature of "Theodore Rokita."

So what did poll workers do?

Well, they placed his ballot in a pile of provisional ballots that do not get counted until the Election Board can review the challenges one at a time after Election Day. (The board decided Friday that Rokita’s ballot will indeed count in the official final tally.)

Ed Treacy, the Marion County Democratic chairman, said he thought it was "hysterical" that Rokita’s vote was challenged.

"This is a person who does everything he can to repress every vote he can," Treacy said. "Now maybe he’ll be able to really appreciate the sanctity of the vote."