GOP Evasiveness On Voter Photo ID Leads To MN Court Challenge

Uploaded by UpTakeVideo on 16.07.2012

Representative Mary Kiffmeyer: "Substantially equivalent means that equivalent substantially."
Reporter Mike McIntee: It's that sort of circular logic that frustrated the opponents of voter
photo ID and led to charges that the authors of the constitutional amendment really didn't
want to answer questions about what it really did.
Rep. Paul Thissen: I just want to know what you're looking for in addition that's on an
ID that wouldn't be in this poll book. Rep. Matt Dean: Representative Kiffmeyer.
Kiffmeyer: Thank you Mr. Chairman. First of all, a photo alone is an unreliable….
Thissen: It's not a photo alone Representative Kiffmeyer.
Dean: Representative Thissen, Representative Thissen
Thissen: She never answers the question Dean: Well, Representative Thissen…
Thissen: You've had plenty of chances.
Reporter: Over and over the scene was repeated. Democrats wanted information and the bill's
authors sidestepped questions.
Rep Bev Scalze: So we have two classes of voters. We have the absentee voters who could
just use the last four digits of their social security number. The voters going into the
voting booth in 2012 don't know that. They're going on… on the idea that all voters will
have to show a valid photo ID, when in fact, 20 percent of them won't.
Representative Kiffmeyer?
Kiffmeyer: Thank you madam Chair and Representative Scalze and members. I think you underestimate
the fact that already 80 percent of Minnesotans have said that they support the photo ID requirement.
Those who vote in absentee ballot are already familiar with the process and I think it will
be… you take that basis, that current basis and I'm sure there will be lots of voter education
going on before the election day as well by everybody whose name is on the ballot, by
all the supporting groups and I am absolutely confident they will be able to communicate
the information. But I think most importantly, every voter who stands in line and casts their
ballot, they have personal experience with voting. They have personal experience with
registering. They have personal experience already. And so the simple language of the
constitutional amendment, I think to the large majority of the people is pretty straight
forward and quite clear.
Reporter: Common Cause of Minnesota suggests that one reason the bill's authors couldn't
answer those questions directly is that they really didn't actually write the bill.
Mike Dean: We released a report earlier this year that found over 60 model bills that were
drafted by ALEC that have been introduced in the Minnesota state legislature. And they
bring the two groups together—corporate lobbyists and legislators — and they sit
and draft these bills. And these bills are all designed to really pad the bottom line
of these corporations. And so then they bring those bills home, make a few changes to 'em.
Do a quick cut and past job and then introduce them in Minnesota.
It just shows the level of legislators, just again, copy and paste without really thinking
twice before putting it forward. And you saw this clearly on the photo ID amendment. Numerous
questions were asked of the bill authors about 'what does this mean' or 'what does that mean'
and authors couldn't answer any of the questions at all.
Kiffmeyer: "Substantially equivalent means that equivalent substantially."
Dean: And so it's just shocking to me that legislators are pushing these bills forward
without really understanding them.
Reporter: But while the content and intent of the constitutional amendment is somewhat
vague, the language that voters would see this November is even more vague.
Here's what voters are going to see on the ballot. A simple question with 35 words, and
that includes the part that says yes or no.
But this is what it's talking about. Something that is several paragraphs long and 228 words
long. This talks about provisional ballots. There's a whole paragraph on that. That's
nowhere in the question. And also in this: it mentions a government issued ID. A valid
ID is how it's addressed in the question though.
Rep. Steve Simon: Trying to get an answer out of Representative Kiffmeyer is very, very,
hard. She's skilled at evading questions about it. Or she'll say that 'well the legislature
can come back in 2013 and fix it.' But the language doesn't say that. Other states that
have done this have put explicit language in, like Mississippi's, saying legislature
come back next year and you can fill in the blanks and do the enabling language. Not so
here. So ironically, though it's often conservatives who talk about judges legislating from the
bench, here Representative Kiffmeyer is begging judges to legislate from the bench because
only they will be able to come up with these terms.
Rep. Ryan Winkler: And nobody knows what the words mean. The words say 'substantially equivalent
verification standards', but the author of the bill, Representative Kiffmeyer won't answer
what that means.
Sen. Scott Newman The two things that are the most significant about is that we have
retained the language in the bill that talks about in-person voting and not in-person voting.
That language is there on purpose because if you read the Crawford case which is the
US Supreme Court case, the majority of the court talks about those two different types
of voters. And that's … what' we're trying our best to do is to conform our language
with Crawford. And in doing so, we recognize that we are dealing with a constitutional
issue and … and we are doing our best to conform with that language.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie: The vote on this proposal was on strictly and some
who were voting for it expressed privately to reporters who then reported that they did
not feel like they had a choice in how to express their own concerns .
Governor Carlson, Governor Pawlenty, Governor Dayton have said the same thing over and over
and over. If you want to make big radical changes in election law, it should only be
done when there's very broad agreement and support otherwise all you have is lawsuits
, bitterness, partisan accusations. Back and forth, back and forth and chaos is the word
that some people use to describe when there's all of that going on.
Reporter: The justices will hear this case on July 17th. Then they have to act with high
speed for a court. They have to have a ruling done by the end of August, that's because
the ballots need to be printed by then. With Producer Allison Herrera, I'm Mike McIntee
for The UpTake.