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Support for Minnesota’s Photo ID Amendment Dropping Dramatically

6:19 pm in 2012 election, Republican Party, Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

I’m sure you’ve all seen polls showing that the general public strongly supports the various ALEC-inspired “voter ID” bills and constitutional amendments being pushed by Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country. That was definitely the case in Minnesota: As recently as May of this year, a Minnesota Poll conducted by the StarTribune showed 80% support for the GOP’s proposed Photo ID ballot amendment to the state constitution.

That was then, this is now:

Slightly more than half of likely voters polled — 52 percent — want the changes built around a photo ID requirement, while 44 percent oppose them and 4 percent are undecided.

That is a far cry from the 80 percent support for photo ID in a May 2011 Minnesota Poll, when the issue was debated as a change in state law. Support among Democrats has cratered during a year marked by court battles, all-night legislative debates and charges that the GOP is attempting to suppress Democratic votes.

Since this is a referendum on changing the constitution, a mere plurality won’t suffice. It must have at least 50% “yes” votes to pass. It had 80% back in May, and it’s dropped to 52% now — and that’s without much in the way of a general campaign on the “vote no” side’s part.

What I find particularly interesting is the indie vote. Independents generally side with the Republicans in favoring this ballot amendment, according to this poll — but I wonder if that will continue to be the case once the word gets out statewide on how much it will cost state and especially local governments, the latter of which are already having a much harder time meeting their budget goals since the state Republicans voted for more austerity.

As I mentioned last week
, I suspect that the cost argument is what, if explained and disseminated widely, will most strongly resonate with many voters. It certainly is the one the state Republicans seem to fear the most.

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:
Read the rest of this entry →

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.

ALEC Ally “Minnesota Majority” Uses Racist Imagery to Sell Voter ID

8:42 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Earlier this month, I noted that CPAC, the premier political event for America’s conservatives, had not one but two white-supremacist dipwads as honored guests and speakers. Today, I’m continuing a Minnesota-focused discussion of political bigotry in action, as practiced by ALEC’s Mary Kiffmeyer, her fellow Republicans and her conservative allies at Minnesota Majority.

Yup, it’s another Minnesota item for the ever-growing “They Say They’re Not Bigots, But” file I keep for Republicans and their conservative allies, and it goes like this:

On Monday morning, TakeAction Minnesota, along with State Representative Rena Moran (65A) held a press conference condemning racially-derogatory imagery being promoted on a pro-photo ID website run by Minnesota Majority. Organizers of the press conference say the online images on WeWantVoterID.com imply that African-Americans and Latinos are looking to cheat Minnesota’s elections system.

Dan McGrath, Executive Director of TakeAction Minnesota, one of the organizations leading the campaign against a photo ID amendment, took aim at the online message. “These images are racial-profiling of voters at its ugliest, designed to drive fear and racial division throughout Minnesota in order to help pass a photo ID amendment at the legislature and on the fall ballot. They’re wrong and they should be removed from public view immediately.”

The online banner depicts images of an African-American male dressed in a black-and-white-striped prison suit, and a person dressed in a blue mariachi costume, alongside other outlandish Halloween characters including a white-sheeted ghost, a ghoulish skeleton and a cartoon superhero. The online banner’s message reads “Voter Fraud: Watch How Easy It Is To Cheat In Minnesota’s Elections.”

State Representative Rena Moran, whose represents a racially-diverse district in St. Paul’s Frogtown, Near North End neighborhoods said she was “sickened” at the images and called the photo ID amendment they are attached to nothing less than a “21st century Jim Crow law.” Moran said she believes “those that seek to fan the flames of racial division and fear hurt Minnesotans who are already hurting too much. These images are nothing more than scare tactics used to make sure people of color are further marginalized from public life.”

A portion of the banner graphic appears at the top of this post. The person wearing the ghostly bedsheet is of course Minnesota Majority visual code for “spook”, meaning “Negro”. Taken with the black dude in prison stripes and the mariachi guy, that makes three racist references of varying subtlety. One could be written off as chance, two could be coincidence, but three? Three?! Hell, ESPN just fired a fellow for making one racist reference — and here we’ve got three crammed into one ad by a group that keeps insisting their motivations aren’t racist.

Somehow, I don’t think a professional ad or website design agency is responsible for this thing. A professional ad agency would have, unless ordered otherwise by their client, made sure to avoid any type of ethnic/racial references — instead of a white-sheeted “spook”, a mariachi guy, and a black guy in prison costume (and the wildcard zombie and the superhero-costumed entity thrown in for giggles), they’d all be trenchcoat-wearing spies along the lines of Mad magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy” cartoons.

But no. This is what MM wanted, this is what they got, and it’s racist dogwhistling to their base.

UPDATE: Bear in mind that the Voter ID proponents have a long history of bigotry and racism. Mary Kiffmeyer, ALEC’s point woman in Minnesota and who is in tight with her political allies at Minnesota Majority, once defended Minnesota Majority’s writings on “racial purity” thus: Read the rest of this entry →