Mayor Don Ness, Duluth City Officials Strongly Oppose Voter Restriction Amendment

By KBJR News 1

September 5, 2012 Updated Sep 6, 2012 at 9:51 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Mayor Don Ness and Duluth City Officials voiced strong opposition against the constitutional amendment aiming to restrict the rights of eligible voters in Minnesota.

A new report from the Citizens for Election Integrity estimates it would cost St. Louis County taxpayers between $650,000 and $2.5 million to implement the checks and balances for required Voter Identification.

Mayor Ness says that "This amendment is nothing but an unfunded mandate that will increase property taxes on city residents and set up barriers for eligible Minnesota voters. Talk about putting the cart before the horse."

Council President Hartman stated the voter restriction amendment would place barriers on seniors, students, veterans and active-duty military serving overseas.

Council Vice President Boyle, representing District two, says "There are over 1000 students in my district that could be excluded from the polls if this amendment passes."

They pointed out not only does Minnesota have the highest rate of voter turnout in the U–S but also has among the lowest rates of voter fraud.

Ness claims that it could cost the state anywhere from 10 to 17 million dollars to provide the free IDs to the 200,000 eligible state voters currently without ID.

Along with that, Ness says additional costs could come from a result of having to revamp polling stations, including purchasing new equipment, and hiring additional poll workers.

"Potentially, we're going to need new voter equipment. Potentially—especially in high voter turnout elections—we're going to have to have additional poll workers... to just deal with the extra paperwork that will come from these requirements," said Mayor Ness.

Mayor Ness added that many rural Minnesotans would have to drive upwards of 60 miles to Duluth, to pay for the documentation involved in obtaining a free ID, like a birth certificate.

Ness says this would also pose an issue for inactive seniors without easy access to transportation.

Posted to the web by Jenna Vogt