12 February 2009
Good morning Mr. Chair,
My name is Keesha Gaskins I am the Executive Director for the League of Women
Thank you for permitting us to testify against the passage of House File 57.
This is a costly bill that unnecessarily complicates the voting process without
benefit to Minnesota's voters or to the integrity of the election process.
This bill does not address the concerns raised in the 2008 election process and
provides a solution to a problem that Minnesota does not have. Moreover, the
bill creates provisional balloting, from which Minnesota is mercifully excepted
from under HAVA, the federal Help America Vote Act.
The problems we have seen in Minnesota's current election system all are a result
of unnecessarily complicated systems that allow multiple opportunities for confusion
or error. This bill adds another responsibility to the Office of Secretary
of State and to every County Auditors'Office across Minnesota. It creates
yet another type of ballot in Minnesota, which creates another process at the polling
locations. Our members can tell you that poll workers are already overworked
on Election Day, and provisional balloting will only make the process more cumbersome
and time consuming for poll workers and voters alike. Finally, this bill creates
a division between identification that is required to register to vote, and what
identification is required to vote. In essence, a voter can meet the same-day
registration requirements, but be denied the right to vote at the polls on that
If Minnesota wants to increase confidence in our election process; we must simplify,
not complicate our voting system. HF57 does nothing but complicate our election
process, without any clear benefit to Minnesota's voters.
Moreover, the proponents of this bill attempt to estimate the cost to Minnesota's
taxpayers but do not take into account the true cost of the implementation of this
bill. The Secretary of State must provide each county auditor with equipment,
forms, supplies and training to produce Minnesota Voter Identification Cards.
The counties must provide the staff for training. The counties must bear the
cost of printing provisional ballots. In addition to the cost of materials,
there are the human resources required to making this process work efficiently and
effectively statewide; creating yet another opportunity for mistakes, errors and
Since 1919, the League of Women Voters Minnesota has been fighting for the integrity
of Minnesota's election process. We are offended by the consistent comparison
of the fundamental constitutional right of voting to commercial transactions.
We do not believe that the provisions of this bill will serve to improve the election
process or work to improve the integrity of Minnesota's elections.
This bill does not represent the best of Minnesota's ingenuity. HF57 is
a perfect example of governing for governing's sake. HF57 spends money Minnesota
doesn't have, in order to fix a problem that does not exist, while ignoring the
real issues surrounding Minnesotan's election challenges.
Mr. Chair, the League of Women Voters urges you and the committee to vote no
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