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The Ramsey County Board expressed opposition Tuesday to the proposed constitutional amendment requiring voters to show photo identification at polling places.
On a 6-1 vote, the board staked out its position against the question that will appear on ballots next month. Board Member Janice Rettman, the lone dissenter, said she didn't think it was the board's role to take sides on constitutional questions.
But the others expressed their strong dislike for the proposal that they say attempts to address a voter fraud problem that doesn't exist. "It isn't broke," board Chairman Rafael Ortega said.
Like others, he also was worried about the cost, projected at more than $1 million, to the county for making the change and the possible disenfranchisement of older and younger voters who don't have picture identification.
Commissioner Jim McDonough said the proposal was so poorly written that, "I don't know how we're going to have an election."
The state's largest county, Hennepin, also is expected to take a position on the amendment in a couple of weeks. Chairman Mike Opat said he opposes the amendment and expects the board will as well -- albeit not unanimously.
He said the proposal seems "innocent enough" but "runs afoul of how we hope democracy will be."
The board's votes are merely advisory and don't affect whether the proposal is added to the state constitution; only a majority of voters can do that.
Rochelle Olson • 651-925-5035 Twitter: @rochelleolson