Democrats Thwart Attempt to Improve Election Integrity in Minnesota

February 13, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday, February 12, 2009
Jeff Davis, Minnesota Majority
612-605-3303 ext 702
Democrats Thwart Attempt to Improve
Election Integrity in Minnesota
Photo ID Bill Defeated Along a Party Line Vote

St. Paul – Today Democrats in the Minnesota House Government Operations Committee defeated a bill
designed to improve voter confidence in Minnesota’s elections. The Photo ID bill (HF57) would require
individuals to present a government-issued photographic identification prior to voting on Election Day.
The bill also includes a provision which would provide a free identification card to any eligible voter who
does not currently have an ID.
Committee members voting against the bill included Bill Hilty (DFL, Finlayson), Frank Hornstein (DFL,
Minneapolis), Phyllis Kahn (DFL, Minneapolis), Jeremy Kalin (DFL, North Branch), Paul Marquart
(DFL, Dilworth), Terry Morrow (DFL, St. Peter), Michael Nelson (DFL, Brooklyn Park), Gene Pelowski
(DFL, Winona), Jeanne Poppe (DFL, Austin) and Steve Simon (DFL, St. Louis Park). The bill’s
opponents claimed that requiring a photo ID would disenfranchise some voters, such as minorities and the
elderly. However, evidence offered in the hearing of states that have recently implemented photo ID laws
prove this not to be the case.
Maryland “Lucky” Rosenbloom, a respected leader in black community, also offered testimony dispelling
the claim of disenfranchisement. Mr. Rosenbloom said that current document requirements for identity
verification are confusing and poorly understood. He held up a utility bill addressed to “Lucky”
Rosenbloom. “I can vote with my nickname using this utility bill,” said Rosenbloom. “But how many
people carry a utility bill in their pocket? An ID is something I carry with me every day and it shows who
I am. It’s my real name. Nobody can turn me away from the polls if I have this. That’s empowering.”
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R, Big Lake), former Secretary of State and member of the committee, stated that
polls show that Photo ID is supported by 80% of the public. “When I was Secretary of State, the most
frequent question I would get from public was why don’t we require a photo ID in order to vote.”
Jeff Davis, president of the grassroots organization Minnesota Majority, questioned the motives of those
who voted against the bill. “Opponents of this legislation seem to simply want to perpetuate a system that
invites error and abuse because they believe it to be to their political advantage,” said Davis. “The real
people being disenfranchised in our elections are legitimate voters whose votes are being undermined by
errors and abuse.”
Minnesota Majority has been attempting to investigate election irregularities since October 2008, but their
efforts have been repeatedly thwarted by election officials. Data practices requests submitted to 14
county auditors have been ignored. Over 20 county attorneys are in violation of Minnesota Statute
201.275 by failing to respond to evidence and affidavits alleging violations of election laws. “Is it any
wonder that it is difficult to prove voter fraud when the officials charged with ensuring the transparency
and integrity of our election system fail to obey the law?” said Davis.
Rep. Tom Emmer also expressed concern about the lack of response by election officials. He noted that
Joseph Stalin once remarked, “The people who cast the votes decide nothing, the people who count the
votes decide everything.”
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