The CEI report begins with faulty assumptions and then builds on them with speculation not based on any concrete facts. Simple logic completely disproves their premise and conclusions.
The published study makes a number of demonstrably incorrect assumptions about the Voter ID amendment, such as:
Local government costs of $23 - $53 million
CEI concocted this rather broad range based on the faulty ideas that every Election Day registrant would be required to vote by provisional ballot, that mail-in voting precincts would have to convert to in-person polling places, and the cost of acquiring computers for electronic polling place rosters (commonly called electronic pollbooks).
There is no basis for any speculation about costs to local government. The Voter ID Amendment mentions only one expense: providing free ID, and it is specific that the state will bear the cost.
The electronic pollbooks mentioned were optional in the 2011 Voter ID bill, upon which CEI bases it’s theories. That bill also provided a paper-based alternative provided to create the challenge lists necessary to implement instant eligibility verification. The bill’s author, Representative Kiffmeyer has stated that her desire is to have the state, not local governments provide pollbooks if they were made mandatory. No one in the legislature wants to pass unfunded mandates.
Election Day registration will barely change at all for 90% of the people who use it. The Amendment doe not envision using provisional ballots for anything other than people who lack ID on Election Day. The language is quite clear in that regard: “A voter unable to present government-issued photographic identification must be permitted to submit a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot must only be counted if the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by law.”
It doesn’t say anything about giving provisional ballots to voters whose eligibility can’t be verified. The amendment doesn’t even contemplate that voters won’t be able to be instantly verified as eligible in the polling place on Election Day.
Contrary to CEI’s assertion, mail-in precincts won’t have to convert to in-person polling places. Mail-in ballots will be verified in the same manner as absentee ballots – an ID number written on the signature envelope and eligibility verification by checking databases of known ineligible voters. Absentee and mail-in voters may also be expected to show their ID to the witness who is already required to sign the ballot’s signature envelope with the voter.
Based on the experiences of other states, we estimate that each precinct will see an average of less than one provisional ballot cast in a given election. Provisional ballots are functionally similar to absentee ballots and will not increase election costs by any noticeable amount.
Elimination or radical alteration of Election Day registration
Like Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, CEI incorrectly asserts that the Voter ID Amendment will cause the elimination of Election Day registration, or require all Election Day registrants to cast provisional ballots. Both assumptions are wrong.
Provisional ballots and their use by voters are discussed above. Provisional ballots are only designed for use by voters who lack photo ID on Election Day. They are not related to the amendment’s requirement for substantially equivalent eligibility verification for all voters.
Election Day registration cannot be eliminated by the Voter ID Amendment. It says nothing about Election Day registration, thus leaving that to current statutes. Even if the legislature wrote a bill to eliminate Election Day registration, it would surly be vetoed by Governor Dayton, who strongly supports Election Day registration. Using logic, it’s plain to see that it’s just not going to happen.
Nearly every assumption CEI based it's study on is factually incorrect. They are common myths spread by the Voter ID opposition campaigns and our discredited, anti-ID secretary of state. All are debunked here.
It’s not surprising that CEI would base their report on the same misinformation that’s been propagated by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and other vehement opponents of Voter ID because CEI is a Voter ID opposition group. They have the same agenda as Our Vote, Our Future, Take Action Minnesota and the League of Women Voters. They all use the same misinformation that largely originates with the Brennan Center for Justice at the New Your University Law School. Predictably, Brennan is referenced and cited in the CEI study. Brennan, like the Secretary of State Project that helped usher Mark Ritchie into office is significantly funded by George Soros and his anti-ID foundations.
David Shultz, named as an author of the study is no unbiased scholar in this, either. He’s an ardent opponent of Voter ID and a voter fraud denier.
Perhaps CEI would be more aptly named “Citizens Against Election Integrity.” Their study is flawed on virtually every front. It begins with faulty assumptions about the effects of the Voter ID Amendment and then theorizes costs based upon possible future legislation to implement provisions that the Voter ID Amendment does not require. The costs projected are highly speculative at best, even if they were based on correct interpretations of the amendment language, but they aren’t.
The CEI “study” is purely campaign propaganda and misinformation.