Rep Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, offered an unusually frank anecdote about voter identification this afternoon during debate about Senate file 509, the photo ID bill.
He said he'd been out talking to voting officials and says they've been "working on it" -- on their own -- for "the past few years."
Here's what he actually said on the floor of the Minnesota House this afternoon:
"I've talked with election judges in southern Minnesota, including a head election judge of a precinct, that says, you know what, it may not be the law, but we've been working on photo id for the past few years, and as of this last election, even though it is not the law, there are election judges in Minnesota, today, asking for photo ID, for the drivers' license, of everyone that comes through to vote."
We sent the comments to Wabasha County officials to see if Drazkowski's home county or Mazeppa township might have voter ID already.
We couldn't reach the County Auditor. But here's what Wabasha County Attorney Jim Nordstrom had to say when we sent him the remarks by Rep. Drazkowski.
I can tell you that my wife and I have voted in Wabasha County since 1976. No election judge has ever asked me or my wife for a picture ID. I have been present when many other voters have been at my polling place and have never seen or heard anyone be asked to produce a picture ID. I have never been told by anyone that voters in Wabasha County have been required to show picture IDs.
Anybody out there been carded at the polls?
I'm a Minneapolis Election Judge. I have never asked a registered voter for an ID of any kind. Sometimes they are presented to me, but I explain they are not needed.
I have given an unregistered voter the option of using a picture ID as one of the ways they can register to vote on election day, but they can always have someone vouch for them if they don't have one.
I'm an election judge in St Cloud and we follow the same procedure as Kassie above. My mother recently told me she was carded in Detroit Lakes when she was already registered though.
In 2002 I took my roommate to the polls so I could vouch for her. The judge asked her for her ID. She gave her ID to the judge and she was allowed to vote.
I'm an election judge in Mound, and when I have been a judge, I cannot recall anytime where a judge asked for an ID.
However, there was a school board election in 2007 where I was not working, and when I went to vote, the judge was asking for IDs. I explained to him he didn't need to see my ID, as I was a registered voter, and he eventually let me sign in without seeing it.
I call the school district offices shortly after voting, and they were going to correct the procedure right away.
In 2002 in Maple Lake, GOP poll challengers were going up and down the line outside the polling place, telling voters to get out their IDs. They stopped when a complaint was made, and an election judge told them to cut it out.
I voluntarily showed a photo ID to prove my residence after I moved from Minneapolis to Coon Rapids and needed to re-register, but it was one of many options, including utility bills and having someone vouch for me. No one has ever asked me for a photo ID in order to vote or register.
In Red Wing in the last election, my partner was asked for a photo ID (he's relocating from another state) and I quick turned and said "That's not a legal requirement, and I'm here to vouch for him." She seemed taken aback by the challenge to her illegal request. I reported it to the city's election head honcho, who was dismayed, and clearly understood that the request was illegal, verboten, and should not have happened. She stated she would act on it and I trust that she did!!! However, this is near Drazkowski's district, right next door, and I'd think the SOS should do some checking...