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Cross Posted at MNProgressiveProject

A founding principle of America is government by the consent of the governed(1). Consent is determined in elections. If anyone legally eligible to vote is prevented from doing so, then they are being governed without their consent.
It follows that any attempt to discourage voting challenges this principle. Hidden within the proposed Constitutional amendment is just such an attempt.

The amendment would replace the state's very popular system of same day registration with an untested and as yet undefined system of provisional ballots.

Minnesota has used same day registration since 1974. More than three out of every five voters used same day registration (2).  Same day registrants provide proof that they currently reside in the precinct and sign an oath that they are eligible. Their data is verified with the Division of Vehicle Services and/or the Social Security Administration, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety. Discrepancies are reported to county attorneys for further investigation and possible felony prosecution. Eight states used election day registration in 2010 and had a combined voter turnout rate of more than 50% (3).

With provisional voting, anyone not already registered, anyone with out-dated or inaccurate information, or anyone erroneously removed from the precinct register may only cast a provisional ballot that will not be counted without further verification. In many cases, this will require traveling to the county election office before their ballot will be counted. Provisional ballot procedures vary widely. In the 2006 general election, Maine counted 100% of its provisional ballots while Kentucky counted less than 7% (4).  Since 2006, 15 states have adopted some form of provisional balloting. In 2010, they had a combined voter turnout rate of less than 40% (5).

Minnesotans take voting very seriously. The State has had the highest voter turnout in the nation in every election since 1996 (6). We have much to be proud of. If the Hassle the Voter amendment passes, we may have to swallow that pride.

(1) "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Declaration of Independence

(2) 61%

(3) 2010 General Election Turnout Rates in States with Same Day Registration comparing total eligible to vote for highest elected position

State | Turnout Rate | Eligible | Votes
Dist of Columbia | 28.88% | 459,344 | 132,656
Idaho | 42.16% | 1,073,307 | 452,535
Iowa | 50.01% | 2,231,589 | 1,116,063
Maine | 55.25% | 1,036,599 | 572,766
Minnesota | 55.43% | 3,801,188 | 2,107,021
Montana | 47.52% | 758,291 | 360,341
New Hampshire | 45.71% | 998,799 | 456,588
Wisconsin | 52.06% | 4,170,501 | 2,171,331
Wyoming | 45.24% | 416,569 | 188,463
All Same Day States | 50.57% | 14,946,187 | 7,557,764


(5) 2010 General Election Turnout Rates in States with Provisional Ballots comparing total eligible to vote for highest elected position

State | Turnout Rate | Eligible | Votes
Alabama | 43.06% | 3,470,144 | 1,494,273
Arizona | 40.98% | 4,216,668 | 1,727,791
Colorado | 50.70% | 3,526,360    1,787,730
Florida | 41.90% | 12,914,189 | 5,411,106
Georgia | 39.91% | 6,454,759 | 2,576,161
Indiana | 37.12% | 4,699,791 | 1,744,481
Montana | 47.52% | 758,291 | 360,341
Ohio | 45.00% | 8,560,205 | 3,852,453
Oklahoma | 38.70% | 2,674,087 | 1,034,767
Pennsylvania | 41.72% | 9,557,545 | 3,987,551
South Carolina | 39.71% | 3,385,224    1,344,198
Tennessee | 34.65% | 4,621,705 | 1,601,549
Texas | 32.17% | 15,482,003 | 4,979,870
Utah | 36.15% | 1,779,450 | 643,307
Virginia | 38.73% | 5,654,394 | 2,189,841
All Provisional Ballot | 39.58% | 87,754,815 | 34,735,419

(6) Upper Midwestern Voter Turnout Rank, 1980-2008

Year     | Minnesota
2008     | 1st
2006     | 1st
2004     | 1st
2002     | 1st
2000     | 1st
1998     | 1st
1996     | 1st
1994     | 6th
1992     | 2nd
1990     | 1st
1988     | 1st
1986     | 12th
1984     | 1st
1982     | 2nd
1980     | 1st

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Comment Preferences

  •  The way this ALEC piece was concocted..... (0+ / 0-)

    if you lose your drivers license before election day  in Minnesota after this amendment passes ,

    You will not have enought time receive your new ID.
    The provisional ballot gets thrown away after 7 days if the state cannot get your id to you in time.

    During the debate on this issue, one of the most common comparisons was made by proponents about flying on a plane. The reasoning goes that you need to show ID to get on an airplane, why not to vote?

    However, at least with a plane, if you lose your ID, there are ways to verify who you are.

    They did away with any vouching for seniors or students.

    •  People haven't thought about it (0+ / 0-)

      I was doorknocking today in a Democratic-friendly area, and people haven't thought past how harmless it seems to ask people to show their drivers license to vote. They haven't given the first though to losing their license right before the election, or people who don't drive, or have problems getting documents. We're also finding that an effective argument is that we shouldn't put specific election procedures into the constitution so that we can't change with technology.

  •  I have used it when I moved in September (0+ / 0-)

    Two different times - bring an electricity bill and a nieghbor.
    I have not seen any signs up about this in the most liberial neighborhood in St Paul .... My hope is it will benefit from the No on blocking gay marriage - 2 No's make a right

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