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Board questions effectiveness of voter ID

Protect My Vote rep makes his argument to commissioners

August 8, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Several Brown County commissioners questioned the value of the Minnesota Voter ID Amendment to a Protect My Vote representative Tuesday.

"The Secretary of State said it would be a very expensive process," said Commissioner Scott Windschitl.

Protect My Vote Representative John Rouleau said the State of Minnesota estimated the amendment, if passed, would cost the state about $2.8 million over four years.

Rouleau spoke in favor of the amendment issue that will be voted upon in the Nov. 6 general election.

"Minnesota has one of the nation's most lax systems to prove voter identification," Rouleau said. "The voting registration file can be purchased for $35 from the Secretary of State office. The 2008 voting registration file showed a 135-year-old voter and other unregistered voters with addresses that included a laundromat and a swamp."

He later said there were 6,200 unverifiable voters in the last Minnesota general election.

Commissioner Dennis Potter asked if the amendment would really solve voter fraud.

"It'll cost about the same as seven miles of light rail track," Rouleau said.

"You didn't answer the question," Potter said. "The amendment may solve some voter fraud, but you won't fix it all. People can find a way around it."

The amendment requires the state to provide photo identification to eligible voters at no charge for those that don't have driver's licenses or other government photo identification.

Two women at the meeting said they supported the amendment and wondered why there wasn't more publicity about Rouleau speaking at the meeting like there was several weeks ago when Secretary of State Mark Ritchie spoke about the issue at a county board meeting.

"Ritchie is a state official," Commissioner Jim Berg said.

Commissioners also approved:

A one-year ATM cash machine trial at the Brown County License Bureau. The machine would be installed at no charge and maintained by the A.H. Hermel Company. Fees would be $2.50 per transaction.

Sixteen drainage ditch repair requests.

Mathiowetz Construction's $392,575 bid for CSAH 7 aggregate surface and minor grading from CSAH 24 to TH 14. Mathiowetz was the only bidder. The engineer's estimate was $392,200.

Setting a bid letting date for the CSAH 7 bridge repair project at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12. Bids will be brought to the Sept. 18 board meeting for consideration.

Alpha Wireless' $166,441.23 written proposal for a simulcast alerting (paging) system including equipment, antennas, coaxial cable, connectors, grounding, new transmitters, GPS receivers and antennas, cabling, racks, installation, labor, etc. The contract was resubmitted after an original $190,771.88 quote was made.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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