Archive for the ‘Mary Kiffmeyer’ Category
This LTE contains a disturbing scene:
I attended both Voter ID public hearings in the city of Rochester during this election year. I went there hoping to learn more about the proposed amendment, along with hearing more from the opposing point of view.
I didn’t realize I was in for such a rude awakening. Most of the hearing consisted of people shouting and talking over the representatives from both sides on the issue.
I completely respect the idea of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech. Unfortunately, people seem to believe it applies only when the speaker’s point of view agrees with their own.
When speaking with Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer after the hearing in Rochester, she stated this was the worst reception she had ever received. One lady verbally attacked her right in front of me, along with a young man grabbing her arm on the way out of the forum.
I decided, with a group of like-minded individuals, to escort her out of the building.
This is the face of DFL activism. Though this incident involved the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment, this isn’t the only time DFL activism has gone way past the line. I wrote about another incident where the DFL activists’ behavior was disgusting. This is a firsthand report from a legislator:
What became unnerving was that last night as we moved closer to the vote they got louder and faster. There was one woman who screeched every time the main doors opened. Made me long for a pair of socks. It was an experience I will remember a long time. Especially seeing the backs of the state troopers–as they lined up shoulder to shoulder to keep the crowd from touching us. And the screaming, “Shame! Shame!” at us. Doesn’t really go with earlier in the evening when they were singing Amazing Grace, and shouting “No Hate”. Of course, they seemed to think it was perfectly loving to scream “Bigot” 10 inches from my face and spit on one of the other reps. (By the way, he has MS, walks with a cane and is a little slower. No hate, right?
This past session, the DFL spoke in public about the need for compromise. They spoke of it as the political Holy Grail. The DFL’s hypocrisy was exposed because they took a my-way-or-the-highway approach when they were the majority party in the legislature. From 2007-2010, there weren’t calls for civility and compromise. Those words were quickly forgotten.
Thanks to ABM’s lies and the Twin Cities’ media’s unwillingness to call them on their disgusting pattern of lying, progressive fascism has displaced Minnesota Nice. Here’s hoping that Republicans take principled stands against the DFL’s bad policies.
More importantly, here’s hoping the GOP articulately explains why they’re opposing the DFL’s counterproductive policies. Only through clear articulation of our principles will we win debates. We won’t win elections if we don’t win the debates.
The good news is that positive solutions will quickly discredit progressive fascism’s chalking points.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer’s op-ed in the Princeton Union-Eagle is a devastating criticism of Secretary Ritchie’s scare tactics in opposition to the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment.
This criticism is particularly sharp:
He’s said that members of the Armed Forces deployed overseas would be unable to vote if the Voter ID amendment passes. As the chief election officer of the state, Ritchie should be familiar with the MOVE Act and UOCAVA ballots under federal law and thus should be fully aware that military absentee ballots are not affected by state laws. Not even an amendment to the State Constitution can hinder military balloting.
If Mr. Ritchie isn’t aware of these laws, then he isn’t qualified to be Minnesota’s Secretary of State. If Mr. Ritchie is aware of these laws but lies to scare people in an attempt to get them to vote no on the proposed constitutional amendment, he’s too corrupt to be Minnesota’s Secretary of State.
Secretary Ritchie is ignoring the word “substantially” and argues that eligibility verification cannot be accomplished on election day in the polling place. He claims that all 500,000 same-day registrants in Minnesota would therefore have to cast a provisional ballot to be counted later.
Ritchie’s intellectual dishonesty is disgusting. It isn’t reasonable to assume that everyone using EDR doesn’t have a drivers license or state-issued ID card. Still, that’s precisely what Mr. Ritchie does with this thinking.
It’s important to ask Mr. Ritchie why he’d make that assumption. I suspect he doesn’t really think that but that he’s just employing that as a scare tactic. Mr. Ritchie knows that anyone who uses EDR will cast a regular ballot if they present a state-issued Photo ID.
Mr. Ritchie can’t admit that, though, because that’d destroy another of his chanting points. If he admits to the truth, his arguments crumple.
His office claims that almost one million voters would have problems voting. This defies logic.
There are approximately 4,000,000 registered voters in Minnesota. In making that type of claim, Mr. Ritchie’s office is claiming that one-fourth of Minnesota’s registered voters don’t have a state-issued form of photgraphic identification.
It’s time for Mr. Ritchie to stop with the fearmongering. It’s time he started telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
It’s time people recognized Mr. Ritchie’s corruption.
The ACLU of Minnesota, the League of Women Voters-Minnesota, Common Cause MN and Jewish Community Action filed suit yesterday to keep the Photo ID constitutional amendment off of November’s ballot:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and Common Cause Minnesota are petitioning the state Supreme Court to strike down the voter ID ballot question, because they claim it would create one of the most restrictive election laws in the country.
Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU Minnesota, said during a news conference at a downtown Minneapolis law office that the proposed constitutional amendment would do far more than what the question describes. Samuelson said there’s no mention of a new provisional ballot system or the potential end of same-day registration.
“We believe that the voters of Minnesota have a right to know what they’re voting on,” Samuelson said. “This petition is about ensuring that all Minnesota voters know the full extent of what this amendment could do and the impact it could have on hundreds of thousands of Minnesota voters.”
This isn’t unexpected. In fact, DFL legislators started laying the groundwork for it during floor debates this session.
Rep. Ryan Winkler and other DFL legislators insisted that the real intent of the constitutional amendment was to eliminate same day registration. That’s nothing more than the DFL’s typical fearmongering.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer frequently informed DFL legislators that eliminating same day registration wasn’t part of the constitutional amendment.
Eliminating same day registration isn’t planned. If it were, why would there be a need for provisional ballots? Secretary of State Mark Ritchie admitted as much during a visit to St. Cloud recently.
Pentelovitch also believes that the proposed voter ID requirement would essentially end Minnesota’s tradition of same-day registration. He said that’s because election officials will face too many complications at polling places trying to verify the identification of voters. But voter ID supporters firmly disagree.
“That is not true. That is absolutely not true,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, a chief sponsor of the voter ID constitutional amendment bill.
Newman said the practice of vouching for the identity of other voters will end. But he insists eligible Minnesotans will still be able to show up at their polling place on Election Day and register to vote, even without an identification.
“If they show up on Election Day without the requisite identification, they will be allowed register,” he said. “They will be allowed to vote. But their vote will be provisional, and it will not count unless and until they come back with the necessary identification.”
It’s time to get rid of the voter fraud in Minnesota. Yes, there’s voter fraud here. It’s just that people like Mark Ritchie and Joe Mansky haven’t been looking for it.
Tuesday night, Mark Ritchie travelled to St. Cloud to talk about the photo ID constitutional amendment. His presentation lasted approximately 20 minutes, which was followed by a 15 minute Q and A period.
During his presentation, Secretary Ritchie talked about the great expense of a photo ID system. Ritchie also spoke about how people lose their drivers licenses, then don’t get their replacement license for “sometimes up to 3 or 4 weeks.” Ritchie made the point that, if we went to a provisional ballot system, people who had lost their license just prior to that election “would have to do this”, at which point Ritchie crossed his fingers.
First, the odds of a person losing their drivers license right before the election are tiny. Further, if it’s taking the DMV 3-4 weeks to process a drivers license, then the DMV needs a top-to-bottom overhaul. Either that or that function needs to be privatized immediately.
Prior to his presentation, Secretary Ritchie handed out an information packet to everyone in the audience. Part of that information packet was an op-ed written by Randy Maluchnik, the president of the Association of Minnesota Counties.
In his op-ed, Mr. Maluchnik states that “Minnesota’s counties currently do an excellent job of administering fair and open elections across a state with significant geographic challenges. The lack of any significant voter irregularity for decades supports this assertion.”
With all due respect to Mr. Maluchnik, the fact that Minnesota’s counties haven’t noticed “any significant voter irregularity for decades” doesn’t prove anything except that counties haven’t detected significant amounts of voting irregularities. It’s quite possible that it’s happening. It’s equally possible that it hasn’t been detected because it’s impossible to find the things that people refuse to look for.
Another of Secretary Ritchie’s stories was about a felon who’d just gotten released from prison. According to Secretary Ritching, the newly-released felon had “turned his life around” and was living in Warroad, MN. Ritchie then said that Warroad was “near the North Dakota border.” According to MapQuest, Warroad is over 75 miles from North Dakota.
Again, according to Secretary Ritchie, the just-released felon didn’t know that he couldn’t vote. Again, according to Secretary Ritchie, this man called his parole officer. He left a message on the parole officer’s voicemail saying that he was going to vote. By the time the parole officer responded, the felon had voted, requiring him to be charged with a felony.
According to former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, prisoners that are about to be released are instructed that they aren’t eligible to vote until they’ve finished parole and the Secretary of State’s office informs them that their voting rights have been reinstated.
When asked about felons voting, Secretary Ritchie almost squirmed out of his skin. He talked about the felon in Warroad. He talked about how the laws in North and South Dakota are different than Minnesota’s election laws.
What’s striking is that he never addressed how hundreds of felons had voted illegally and had gotten convicted of voter fraud. According to Rep. Kiffmeyer, it’s almost impossible to convict a felon for committing voter fraud because it requires proving that the felon voted knowing that he or she wasn’t eligible to vote.
According to Rep. Kiffmeyer, that’s why few cases are even brought to trial.
UPDATE: Follow this link to read more aboout Secretary Ritchie’s visit to St. Cloud.
For the past 5 years plus, Republicans have refered to erstwhile Gov. Arne Carlson as a RINO. Today, I’m setting the record straight. He isn’t a RINO. He’s a Democrat. PERIOD. This video attack on Mary Kiffmeyer, his buying into the DFL’s lies about Photo ID as voter suppression, suggest that he isn’t in touch with reality.
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
CARLSON: Be that as it may, I grew up in the Bronx of New York City. We never owned a car. Where would I get a Photo ID. This is the party of Abraham Lincoln. This is the party of Theodore Roosevelt. This is the party of Dwight Eisenhower, the party of Ronald Reagan. They welcomed people in.
When did we suddenly turn over the keys to voting to Kiffmeyer to decide who can and who cannot participate?
Gov. Carlson’s argument is flimsy It isn’t Rep. Kiffmeyer that’s deciding “who can and who cannot participate.” It’s the Minnesota Constitution that’s determining who can or can’t particate.
It’s important that the Minnesota Constitution isn’t seen as a cold document, either. It’s been ratified by the people through their elected representatives. It’s the voice of the people. Marty Seifert liked to highlight the saying inside the House floor, which read “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
That’s essentially who Gov. Carlson is arguing against when he’s arguing against the requirements in Minnesota’s Constitution. Specifically, it’s who he’s arguing against when he’s arguing against Section VII of the Minnesota Constitution, titled Elective Franchise. Here’s the relevant portion:
Section 1. ELIGIBILITY; PLACE OF VOTING; INELIGIBLE PERSONS. Every person 18 years of age or more who has been a citizen of the United States for three months and who has resided in the precinct for 30 days next preceding an election shall be entitled to vote in that precinct. The place of voting by one otherwise qualified who has changed his residence within 30 days preceding the election shall be prescribed by law. The following persons shall not be entitled or permitted to vote at any election in this state: A person not meeting the above requirements; a person who has been convicted of treason or felony, unless restored to civil rights; a person under guardianship, or a person who is insane or not mentally competent.
Sec. 2. RESIDENCE. For the purpose of voting no person loses residence solely by reason of his absence while employed in the service of the United States; nor while engaged upon the waters of this state or of the United States; nor while a student in any institution of learning; nor while kept at any almshouse or asylum; nor while confined in any public prison. No soldier, seaman or marine in the army or navy of the United States is a resident of this state solely in consequence of being stationed within the state.
It’s fairly straightforward. Only those people who meet these constitutionally mandated requirements should be allowed to vote. In fact, letting people that don’t meet these requirements isn’t allowed.
This isn’t a matter of welcoming people into the state. That’s the phoniest argument I’ve ever heard. It’s about following the requirements established by Minnesota’s Constitution. It’s about following the laws of a sovereign government.
What Gov. Carlson is arguing for is a system without uniformity, a system where each county, city or township uses their own rules. That isn’t the rule of law.
There’s a reason why these requirements were put into Minnesota’s Constituion, not into each city’s charter. The purpose was to create uniformity so that the people of Minnesota played by the same rules, whether they lived in Duluth, Caledonia, St. Cloud, Alexandria, St. Paul or Moorhead.
Without knowing who’s voting, it’s impossible to know if the people who get ballots meet the constitutional requirements for voting. At a time when voter fraud is running rampant, it’s imperative that we know without doubt that the people getting ballots are who they say they are.
And yes, there’s tons of proof of voter fraud. That’s beyond dispute. The sad truth is that Common Cause MN and the League of Women Voters-MN have denied the existence of voter fraud despite the abundance of proof. It’s sad that these organizations enthusiastically participate in echoing the DFL’s spin.
Passing the Photo ID constitutional amendment ballot won’t end their spin but it will help clean up Minnesota’s election system.
During yesterday’s Rules Committee hearing on HF2738, DFL Rep. Norton asked some questions that HF2738 Chief Auther Rep. Kiffmeyer answered. Here’s a partial transcript of their exchange:
REP. NORTON: As I looked at the bill, it seems to me that, if you show up same day voting, you’re going to have to be verified if you don’t have photo ID. How will that happen?
REP. KIFFMEYER: In regards to same day voting, first of all, there will be a very strong voter education effort, mailings, hotlines, working with Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services. I’m confident that if this passes the voters, that we will enact it in a bipartisan fashion to make sure that we are inclusive to get every single voter to get them the ID. I’m confident, Rep. Norton, that we will work together to do that, that there will be no disenfranchisement.
REP. NORTON: Mr. Chairman, the question still hasn’t been…If a person comes and wants to vote on the same day and they do not have ID, how will you make certain that we will continue with that strong voter turnout? What will the process be for that voter?
REP. KIFFMEYER: In regards to that, starting first of all with the voter education campaign, making it very clear concerted effort. If, after all of that, if on election day, they still do not have their voter ID, they will be able to cast a provisional ballot.
REP. NORTON: That is a concern to me and a concern to many voters who want their vote counted on the day of the election.
Rep. Norton’s last statement is troubling. Provisional balloting has been federal law since 2002. HAVA, aka the Help America Vote Act, received overwhelming bipartisan support:
A bill to require States and localities to meet uniform and nondiscriminatory election technology and administration requirements applicable to Federal elections, to establish grant programs to provide assistance to States and localities to met those requirements and to improve election technology and the administration of Federal elections, to establish the Election Administration Commission, and for other purposes.
Not Voting: 6
A substantive U.S. Senate bill that gets 92 votes has strong bipartisan support. The only senators voting against HAVA were Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. Even Mark Dayton voted for provisional ballots. The system has been in place since the 2004 election. It’s been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike. Why would Rep. Norton have a problem with provisional ballots?
In going through the audio for the Rules Committee hearing, Rep. John Benson’s statement jumped off the page. Here’s what he said:
REP. JOHN BENSON: Just a comment first. Constitutional amendments should be bipartisan and so I think that’s one of the biggest problems I have. We have a proposal here which is very partisan and usually, constitutional amendments have more broad support.
That statement is infuriating. Photo ID has overwhelming bipartisan support. It just doesn’t have broad bipartisan legislative support. That’s a major distinction that can’ be ignored.
It’s a major distinction because rank-and-file Democrats support the bill by a 59%-41% margin. In fact, as I wrote here, Photo ID has overwhelming support across the political spectrum:
Party affiliation – Yes, 92% of Republicans support voter ID. So do 76% of independents…and 59% of those wingnutty Democrats in Minnesota, too.
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again. If the DFL wants to ignore their constituents while obeying their special interest masters, that’s their right, at least until the next election.
The most contentious moment in the hearing came when Rep. Thissen threw a hissy fit. Here’s that exchange:
REP. THISSEN: I did want to follow up on one answer you gave previously. Ccan you just tell me — I don’t need alot of sentences, just kind of short answers that answers the question — what on an ID — what’s going to be on an ID that’s going to be on the poll book that Rep. Norton is talking about? … So I’m wondering what you’re expecting to see that isn’t going to be in this electronic poll book with pictures because you’ve kinda said “Well, it’s different.” I’d just like you to explain it to me, and you don’t have to use alot of words. I just want to know what you’re looking for in addition to what’s in this poll book that’s going to be on an ID.
REP. KIFFMEYER: First of all, a photo alone is an unreliable…
REP. THISSEN: It’s not photo alone…
REP. DEAN: Rep. Thissen, Rep. Kiffmeyer is trying to answer your question. If you would simply allow her to answer your question with the respect she deserves, Rep. Thissen…
Rep. Thissen’s spoiled brat routine is getting tiresome. Most importantly, it’s mostly a contrived act. It’s time Rep. Thissen started acting like a leader, not a high school punk.
It’s fact that the vast majority of DFL legislators voted against creating the Sunset Commission. Now that the Sunset Commission has officially been signed into law, the question turns to whether DFL appointees will attempt to sabotage the Commission’s efforts.
That’s still to be determined but it’s safe to say that expectations aren’t high. According to this article, outsiders are already tamping down expectations:
But William Eggers, a corporate consultant who worked for a similar commission in Texas isn’t as optimistic. “Your chances of succeeding, I’m going to be frank with you, are not very high,” he said.
Eggers told the Minnesota Sunset Commission last month that similar efforts in several other states failed because they didn’t take their jobs seriously enough.
“The one thing I will guarantee you is that without resources from a staff perspective, this will not succeed.”
Hiring additional staff to work on a commission whose goal is to a) reduce the size of government and b) improve service levels is like hiring an atheist to give the Christmas message. There’s no questioning that there’s alot of work to this commission. There’s also no questioning the fact that they should be frugal.
No one on the board indicates whether they will recommend any cuts this year. But behind the scenes, agencies and their advocates have been working to make their case.
For example, people supporting the Council on Black Minnesotans sent an email calling on others to attend a Sunset Commission hearing to show support for the council. Rosella Collins-Puoch is the vice-chair of the Council on Black Minnesotans. She doesn’t think the Sunset Commission will try to eliminate her organization.
“People understand that communities of color still have many many challenges and there has to be some entities that ensure Africans and African Americans are treated equitably in the state of Minnesota,” Collins-Puoch said.
How many Minnesotans knew that there was a state government agency titled The Council on Black Minnesotans? I didn’t. Would it surprise you to find out that there are other state agencies for other minority groups? I don’t know that there are but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were.
If there are multiple agencies with the goal of aiding communities of color, do they share the same back-staff? That’s what Sen. Mike Parry wants to know:
Others, like Sen. Mike Parry,R-Waseca, said the Sunset Commission may look to consolidate agencies that are duplicating work. He said no agency should consider itself on the chopping block but said officials had better be prepared to answer how they’re spending public money.
“If they are out of the chute worried about not being in existence, that might lead some to believe that maybe they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. That’s why I’m hoping that all of the boards and agencies realize this is not and never was intended to be any kind of witch-hunt,” Parry said.
Minnesotans aren’t an ATM to be tapped whenever a legislator wants to pander to one organization or constituency group. I’m not arguing that creating the Council on Black Minnesotans was pandering, though I won’t rule that possibility out.
I’m simply saying that politicians have a habit of using other people’s money to pay off constituencies they’ll need for re-election. Having looked through a budget or two in my lifetime, I can state with 100% certainty that alot of these types of commissions, councils and agencies don’t appear to have meaningful responsibilities.
I can also state without hesitation that alot of these commissions, councils and agencies get created by stuffing them into omnibus spending bills.
Thanks to King Banaian’s legislation, we now have a mechanism to a) shine a spotlight on these agencies and b) recommend the elimination or reorganization of these agencies.
The question now remains is whether the DFL will work quietly to sabotage the Commission’s efforts. They can’t afford to look obstructionist but they can’t afford to alienate their special interest allies, either.
When I read Mary Lahammer’s MinnPost post, one of the first questions I had was whether Rep. Ryan Winkler’s schtick is spin or ignorance. Here’s the context:
After Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a bill to require photo identification to vote, Republican lawmakers plan to put the issue on the ballot. Constitutional amendments don’t need the governor’s signature to go directly to Minnesota voters. Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) said “The legislation has overwhelming public support especially among our younger voters and women. Clearly this is what Minnesota wants.” State Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) is the co-author of the bill that would put a voter ID question on the 2012 ballot.
A recent poll showed overwhelming support:
Age demographics – The lowest level of support in age groups comes from seniors, who back voter ID 69/23. The best support comes, surprisingly, from the youngest voters (18-34YOs) at 82/12.
Party affiliation – Yes, 92% of Republicans support voter ID. So do 76% of independents … and 59% of those wingnutty Democrats in Minnesota, too. Among Tea Party “members,” voter ID enjoys 93% support. And for those who don’t identify with the Tea Party, support plummets all the way to … 74%. Along ideological lines, liberals were least likely to support it — at 67%, the second-lowest level of support among all demographics.
Education – Surely, support must be coming from the mouthbreathers, right? High-school graduates give a 79% level of support, almost the same as the 78% among those with some college education. Those with degrees are a little more discerning … at 75%.
Income level – It won’t be much of a surprise to know that those making six figures support voter ID 73/25. It will be a surprise to Dayton to find that those making less than $50K per year support it even more, 78/14.
Region – Like all of the other demographics, there isn’t much difference between the Twin Cities demo (76/19) and the rural area of western Minnesota (81/15). In each region, support is at 75% or higher.
This is wildly popular across the state and with every demographic group imaginable. This is a no-brainer for non-politicians. Here’s what Rep. Winkler said in reaction to the constitutional question legislation:
“And just like the anti-marriage amendment, they want to change our state’s constitution just to restrict basic rights of Minnesotans. This helps not one Minnesota family. Worse, it is a counterproductive distraction to resolving our budget deficit when time is of the essence.”
The last I checked, neither Rep. Kiffmeyer nor Sen. Newman are part of the budget negotiations. That begs the question of how Rep. Kiffmeyer’s and Sen. Newman’s press conference distracts from anything happening in St. Paul.
As for Rep. Winkler’s claim that this proposed constitutional amendment will restrict Minnesotans’ basic rights, this is part of the DFL’s talking points.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this will be a hectic, sometimes hurry-up-and-wait week in the Minnesota legislature. That doesn’t lead us to this week’s BIG question.
This week’s BIG question is simple: Will the DFL finally grow a spine and vote on Gov. Dayton’s tax-the-rich scheme or another tax increase?
Thus far, the DFL have said that they admired Gov. Dayton’s “balanced approach” to solving the deficit. Their actions, however, indicate that their admiration stops just a little bit short of actually proposing or voting on Gov. Dayton’s tax-the-rich scheme.
Until the DFL pushes for a vote on a tax increase, then they really don’t have a $37,000,000,000 budget. They’ve got a $37,000,000,000 wishlist but they’ve really got a $34,500,000,000 budget. (Actually, it could be anywhere between $34,100,000,000 and $34,300,000,000.)
Let’s remember that the GOP budget calls for spending $34,000,000,000.
The facts don’t support the contention that the DFL has taken a balanced approach to balancing the budget. The facts will only support the reality that the DFL has talked about taking a balanced approach to balancing the budget.
I suspect that the DFL will do what they’ve done this session. I’m betting that the DFL will complain that we need to raise taxes without having the fortitude to actually propose, much less vote on, raising taxes.
Once this week’s BIG question is answered, the endgame and serious negotiations will start. If we get to that point, those negotiations should produce a settlement that is approved by the legislature before next Monday’s midnight end of the 2011 regular session.
However, if the DFL plays the posturing game, then they’ll be headed for a special session.
What’s really needed are some DFL statesmen to step forward and tell their colleagues that there won’t be a tax increase this session. One individual that’s done that was Rep. Gene Pelowski. I applauded him then for taking a principled stand. I’d applaud him now if he took that stand again.
What isn’t in question is the Republicans’ resolve in not overspending this session. They’ve started a new alliance called the Not A Penny More:
By last Monday, posters had begun popping up on Republican legislators’ office doors depicting an overflowing bag of cash with “$34 billion” stenciled on the front and the legend “Not a Penny More” inscribed above. Many of the members who have hung the signs are new to the Capitol, including freshman Assistant Majority Leader Kurt Daudt as well as Reps. Mary Franson and Doug Wardlow. Among the more veteran Republican caucus members sporting signs on their door: Buesgens, Tom Hackbarth, Joyce Peppin, Peggy Scott and Mary Kiffmeyer.
This alliance makes a reasonable (I’d argue compelling) argument on holding at $34,000,000,000. When it was thought that there would be $32,000,000,000 in general fund revenues coming in, that’s the figure Republicans settled on. The halfway point between $32,000,000,000 and $37,000,000,000 is $34,500,000,000.
The reality is that Republicans won’t budge from that $34,000,000,000 number. Gov. Dayton still hasn’t offered a compelling argument for why is plan is better. More importantly, until the DFL legislature is willing to push for increasing taxes, spending $37,000,000,000 is off limits.
The MMB won’t say that spending $37,000,000,000 this biennium balances when we’re ‘only’ bringing in $34,000,000,000 into the state’s general revenue fund.
That leads to this week’s REALLY REALLY big question, which is: Will the DFL dare bring up Gov. Dayton’s tax-the-rich scheme knowing that there’d be significant DFL defections from the DFL’s tax increases?
That’s a big question the DFL probably doesn’t want answered.
The question about Photo ID has been whether Gov. Dayton would pander to the DFL’s anti-accountability, anti-solution wing of the party. He can’t pander to those wings of the DFL after getting the results of this poll:
Legislation requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls has ignited a partisan battle at the Capitol this spring, but an overwhelming majority of Minnesotans support the idea, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
Eighty percent of respondents said they favor a photo ID requirement, which Republican majorities at the Legislature have made one of their signature goals of the session. Democrats have almost universally opposed it, arguing that it will prevent members of some groups from voting.
That party split was reflected in the poll: A whopping 94 percent of Republicans supported photo ID, compared to 64 percent of Democrats.
Both houses of the Legislature have already passed photo ID legislation, which would also eliminate the current practice of residents vouching for Election Day registrants and create an entirely new system of provisional balloting.
“That way you can prove who the voter is, that it’s actually that person,” said Ron Bogstad of Hatfield, Minn., expressing a view apparently held by many Minnesotans. “And it would stop illegal immigrants and unauthorized people that aren’t eligible to vote from voting.”
The fact that 64% of Democrats support Photo ID should tell Gov. Dayton that vetoing Rep. Kiffmeyer’s Photo ID bill is a political-disaster-in-waiting. Swing district DFL legislators that vote against Photo ID will seal their electoral fate.
The usual suspects are out with their predictable soundbites:
Opponents note that requiring voters to have a valid Minnesota ID with their current address in the precinct will hinder seniors, college students and minorities from voting. The bill offers free voter ID cards to people without a driver’s license or other valid ID, but opponents contend they will be difficult for some to obtain.
“It’s just putting a barrier in some people’s ability to vote, to be part of the citizenry,” said Ann Uehling of Ely. Uehling said the requirement will be particularly taxing on elderly Minnesotans who no longer have driver’s’ licenses.
Ms. Uehling, what proof is there of that? I’ve heard the allegation. I haven’t seen the proof. Then there’s this:
Sherri Knuth with the League of Women Voters said that while the issue may poll highly, many people change their minds when they hear the details and implications.
“If you spend five minutes with them explaining what photo ID really means, and how it would impact voters who don’t readily have a photo ID available, then they switch their positions,” Knuth said.
TRANSLATION: Give me five minutes of time to fill their heads with misinformation and non sequiturs and they’ll switch their position.
Good luck with that one, Ms. Knuth. Photo ID is so straightforward that it’s almost impossible to spin. People understand that it’s essential to identify before they’re given a ballot. That’s the first essential building block of the election system.
If we don’t get that part right, the rest of the system is questionable, not because election workers aren’t honest but because that ‘first line of defense’ has just been negated.
Note that Ms. Knuth isn’t arguing that voter fraud doesn’t exist. Ms. Knuth’s argument is that senior citizens might have difficulty getting a Photo ID. At no point does she offer a solution to that situation. That’s because she isn’t interested in a solution.
Kiffmeyer said all aspects of the issue have already been extensively aired in the media. “And yet the people still say 80 percent? That’s really big,” she said.
Rep. Kiffmeyer nails it with that response. Photo ID isn’t an obscure issue that people are just learning about. It’s been talked about for a decade. They’re familiar with it. To the tune of 80%, people agree with it. Any attempt to thwart the will of the people won’t be viewed kindly.
If Photo ID is offered as a constitutional amendment, it will pass with a large margin of victory. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s quote, he’s just identified this as a potential problem for the DFL:
“Any election reform, so called, needs to pass with broad bipartisan support,” Dayton said last Friday. “So far that proposal has not met that test.” In the Legislature, only two Democrats supported the bill.
That’s what’s called a major disconnect. When DFL legislators vote against 64 percent of DFL voters, that’s a major disconnect. I’m betting that there’s more support for Photo ID with independents than within the DFL.
Gov. Dayton just said that the DFL has voted against the will of the people on an issue that’s near and dear to them. That can’t end well for swing district DFL legislators.
I know that Photo ID isn’t voters’ highest priority. Their highest priority is getting spending under control, creating jobs and balancing the state’s budget. Still, Photo ID isn’t unimportant either.
They’ve heard the stories about ACORN’s fake voter registrations. They’ve heard about felons illegally voting in Minnesota. They know that voter fraud exists.
Finally, they know that voter fraud will only increase if Photo ID isn’t implemented. At this point, the DFL is passionately opposed to solving this ever-increasing problem. That’s their choice.
It’s just that their decision won’t end well electorally for them.