New Ways of Voter Suppression

What if November 2nd rolled around, and you couldn’t vote?

Minnesota Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer said the state was running out of voter registration cards. When a public uproar started, she said that they were only running low, and they were being rationed. Then, she said that her office was in no way trying to suppress voters.

First it was the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio and his “we won’t register you unless you use 80 pound paper”, and now this. Just goes to show how much Republicans disrespect this Democracy.

Story archived here. Posted on Wed, Sep. 29, 2004

Voter registration cards running low in Minnesota

Associated Press

ST. PAUL – Massive voter registration drives in Minnesota have nearly exhausted the state’s supply of 1.5 million voter registration forms this year, and Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer is hearing complaints.

Kiffmeyer, a Republican, said no one is being denied an opportunity to register to vote. She said her office was running short of registration cards but more are on the way.

She said she received 10,000 voter registration forms on Tuesday and was scheduled to receive similar orders Wednesday and Thursday – with a much larger delivery coming on Friday or Monday.

Donald McFarland, Minnesota director of America Votes, a coalition of 23 liberal groups, said he suspected Kiffmeyer might be trying to suppress voter turnout by rationing registration cards.

“It seems like almost another incident along a very rocky road with the secretary of state,” McFarland said.

Kiffmeyer denied that she or her employees were doing anything but encouraging voter registration.

“It’s easy to make claims,” Kiffmeyer said. “The facts don’t support those claims.”

She said she and her staff ordered 400,000 voter registration cards prior to the 2000 presidential election. This year, she ordered 1.5 million, and all but several thousand were gone by this week, she said.

The number of registration forms being used shows the huge effort political parties and other groups are making in Minnesota to register voters. But hard evidence of their success so far is scant.

On Election Day four years ago, 2,835,355 people were registered to vote in Minnesota, including those who registered that day at the polls. So far this year, 2,893,085 voters are registered.

Oct. 12 is the deadline for pre-Election Day registration.

Kiffmeyer, whose staff is responsible for processing voter registrations and sending them to counties for inclusion on voting records at polling places, said she has a backlog of registration cards awaiting processing.

She said she could not estimate how many registration forms her staff received in total.

Kent Kaiser, a Kiffmeyer aide, said the staff has received a thousand or more registrations every day since the Sept. 14 primary.

Representatives of both major political parties said Tuesday that they are engaged in big efforts to register voters.

“It’s a more intense voter identification, voter registration effort than the DFL Party has ever had,” said Bill Amberg, a party spokesman who estimated the party signed up “tens of thousands” of voters.

“I can’t give you numbers,” said Randy Wanke, a Republican spokesman, “but it’s been an unprecedented voter registration drive this year.”

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

ads by google