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Opinion: Senator Ann Rest Weighs In on Current Bills

Senator Ann Rest informs the public about two key pieces of legislation and gives her opinion on the bills.

Editor's Note: following information was released by Senator Ann Rest's office.

Voter ID Proposal

Governor Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie unveiled an alternative to the Voter ID proposal being discussed in the legislature. The plan would bring electronic poll books into every polling place, instead of requiring voters to present a photo ID. This procedure would ensure the integrity of elections, without making it harder for eligible citizen to vote. When voters enter the polling place, they would give their name to a poll worker, who would look it up in an electronic database. A picture of the voter would pop up on the screen, and the poll worker would be able to check that the person trying to vote matches up with the picture in the database. The database would come from the Division of Vehicle Services and include driver's licenses and state ID cards. It could also be adapted to include college IDs, and poll workers could take on-the-spot photos of those not in the system. This plan would also be more cost-effective than the Voter ID proposal, and it would prevent someone from using false identification to vote. Senator Rest supports the electronic poll book proposal, and hopes that it will advance through the legislature this session. 

Shutdown Bills Advance

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved four bills that would leave many government services active in the event of any future government shutdown. The bills, crafted in response to last year’s shutdown, would continue government projects such as road construction, electrical inspections, campsite operation, lottery ticket sales and would assure continued access to funding for Minnesota state colleges and universities. Similar “lights-on” legislation was attempted after the 2005 government shutdown, but was objected to by Governor Tim Pawlenty who opposed “institutionalizing gridlock,” saying it didn’t make sense to make it easier for lawmakers to avoid making decisions. Senator Rest opposes the bills.

Nancy LaRoche March 14, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Mark Ritchie's electronic plan still doesn't address vouching and same-day registration (a ripe arena for fraud). In 2010, there were 17,000 more votes than registered voters in Minnesota. Same-day registration ballots should be provisional. When they are confirmed, then that vote can count - and can be removed if not. Please remember that our Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie (D) was endorsed by ACORN, who also donated to his campaign. This organization was charged with voter fraud across the country (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124182750646102435.html) and recently defunded by Congress. Requiring a photo ID is an easy, common-sense solution - and already needed to buy Sudafed, dry cleaning, alcohol, and to cash a check. I urge Senator Rest to support Voter ID.
Candace Oathout March 14, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I must respectfully disagree with Senator Rest on the need for Voter ID. Although the electronic poll book could be an asset in conjunction with requiring voters to show a photo ID it will not address the core problems of the issue. Any electronic program is only as good as its database. Accepting the premise that there is no voter fraud in Minnesota is laughable on its face. Eye witness reports have shown mentally incompetent residents of treatment homes brought to the polls to vote. Precincts near college campuses being inundated with same day registrants who were vouched for. Same day registrants who apparently gave false information since postal verification cards sent out after the election are returned as no such person of even no such address. The right to vote is in danger of becoming irrelevant in a flawed system such as Minnesota has today.

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