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.