Voter ID Would Cost County, Cities Thousands

Hennepin County estimates the measure would have cost an extra $550,000 countywide during the 2008 election.

Voter ID would require more election judges, additional training and new equipment that would result in hundreds of thousands in new election costs for Hennepin County and cities within its boundaries, according to county estimates.

The costliest piece for the county would be provisional ballots for those who do not have photo identification on election day. Costs would include special equipment, additional staff time to process the votes and reminder notices for those who used provisional ballots, which would be counted only if the voter later supplied proof of identity.

“This means that after a very long election cycle we’re going to be remaining in this intense world for a little bit longer,” said Rachel Smith, the county’s election manager. “These ballots would almost certainly be the first item of contention if we saw a result like we did in 2008 or 2010.”

A survey the county filled out estimated that provisional ballots would have cost Hennepin $193,150 for the 2008 election plus $44,625 in startup costs.

Voter ID would also require one more election judge per precinct—or 425 countywide—to help voters fill out provisional ballots, Smith said.

Head judges will require an extra four to six hours of training, while the remaining judges will have about two more hours of training. The training time would also tax city clerks, who would have to spend time preparing for the training and conducting it.

In all, the extra judges and training would cost about $50,000 to $60,000 countywide, with individual cities paying for the bulk of that, Smith said.

Hennepin County estimates there would be $288,000 in costs from traveling to nursing homes and other health care facilities—a task the county would likely delegate to individual cities.

The county also expects additional expenses from processing applications and producing the IDs, including overtime from an anticipated rush to get IDs in the weeks before the election. That would have cost about $66,792 in the 2008 election, according to the survey.

In all, the county estimates the 2008 election would have cost Hennepin County and its cities close to $550,000 more if voter ID were required.

Elections officials likely won’t have a whole lot of time to put the measures into effect either. The proposal is up for voter approval in November. If approved, the Legislature will need to approve a law specifying the details of how it will work.

That could take until May 2013, which would give officials one to two months to prepare.

In the meantime, local governments are still facing unknowns that could create further costs. There’s been a proposal to have the county election office provide the free photo IDs that will be available to those who don’t have one, Smith said.

Someone also will need to provide public education about the new rule if it passes. If the state doesn’t do that, the responsibility could fall on local governments.

“If (the state) is going to put something like this in place, what are they willing to do?” Smith asked.


Estimated added Voter ID costs for previous elections

Start-up costs 2008 2009 2010 No. of voters --- 754,844 38,789 605,724 Processing applications, producing IDs $50,000 $66,792 $3,432 $53,328 Provisional balloting $44,625 $193,150 $142,623 $182,425 Training election judges and clerks* $54,550 Visiting health care facilities* --- $288,000 $288,000 $288,000 TOTAL $149,175 $547,942 $434,055 $523,753

*Costs would be borne by the cities.

SOURCE: Hennepin County Elections

James Warden April 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I wrote the post above before I saw this one. Looks like we're on the same page re: overseas voting.
rob_h78 April 26, 2012 at 07:20 PM
So - where are the Republicans on correcting the issue of ballots and our military? Republicans have enough time and energy to expend on a non-existent issue of "voter fraud" relating to ID's (along with spending taxpayer money on it) but can't spend any time for our military voters? The truly ironic thing about Voter ID is that most of the cases of Fraud I have seen reported would not be solved by Voter ID laws... So again - this is all about driving down voter turnout. Can these Republicans guarantee that every ballot is correctly counted every time? Of course they can't - they can't even get the counts correct in their own Primaries in mulitple states - and yet that is TRUE voter disenfranchisement but not a single word o of concern from Republicans on this issue. Why not? Because it doesn't help them to drive down voters. Republicans just can't be honest about what they are doing, which I understand, because actually acknowledging that this was never an issue until the "black guy" was elected, while it would be cheered by their Base it wouldn't go over very well with swing voters who decide general elections.
Ron West April 26, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Last I checked Democrats have had 2/3 or more of governmental power for the last 5 1/2 years... where are THEY on the ballot problems of 2008 and 2010? Your attempt to make this a race issue is pathetic. Maybe you could go on Al Sharptens show on MSNBC if you want to be a part of that race baiter crowd . Get over it!
Orono April 27, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Way to go ROB!!! You have no real argument. You don’t agree with the majority of the messages on here so you resort to the #1 liberal tactic. You cry racism. You are a perfect liberal solider. Even though you look like a huge racist for even bringing the matter up, you stuck to the script and spewed your garbage. Well Done!!
Orono April 27, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Hey Rob, you are projecting your own ugly feelings on everyone here. Obviously, you are a huge racist. You are the only person to post a comment and mention race. When everyone else on here was stating facts and opinions, you screamed racism. Why? Obviously you are racist. And as a liberal screaming racism, you are also obviously white.


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