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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
ST. PAUL – Do you believe Minnesota’s election process would be improved if voters needed to show photo identification prior to casting their ballot? A measure that would have enacted this election reform was recently defeated in a Minnesota House committee, and State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-St. James) was troubled by the outcome. “Last year’s State Fair poll found that 68% of the public thought voter identification was a good idea, so this is certainly an idea that transcends political party affiliation,” Torkelson said. “I believe we would increase the integrity of our election process if we used photo identification to properly verify voters and ensure they’re voting in the proper precinct.” The House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee voted 11-8 to kill the proposal. All Democrats but one opposed the measure, and all Republicans voted in favor. Torkelson said 2008 election judges shared some compelling information that strengthened the need for photo ID at the polls. “They told the committee that twenty five Minnesota precincts had more ballots cast than actual voters,” Torkelson said. “These statistics are troubling to say the least.” “In the midst of a recount on a U.S. Senate race, I can’t help but think if we didn’t have voter ID in place, we would already have a winner,” Torkelson continued. “It seems to me you have to show identification everywhere these days, whether it’s at the store or at the airport, so why not require it to ensure our elections operate properly?”