Mansfield Selectman Helps Build New Voter ID Ballot Question

Mansfield selectmen chair Olivier Kozlowski helps put a non binding ballot question in some of Bristol County's Districts.


The Mansfield board of selectmen chair Olivier Kozlowski says Massachusetts is slowly coming closer to the possibility of a voter ID bill.

A new initiative, which will be on the district ballots in the first, fourth and sixth Bristol districts, will be voted on come November as a non-binding vote to show support for the initiative.

“It gets a much better feel for what people in the district actually think about it,” he said. “Hopefully, without a big argument or big campaign from either side for or against…It gauges the opinion of each district.”

Kozlowski said he worked with Peter Sacks at the Attorney General’s Office to work on the language of the bill. The ultimate approval, even after possible support, would be up to the Attorney General. By working with the office, Kozlowski said, the chances of getting the correct language and adherences to current law are high.

The ballot question will, in effect, put out feelers for support of the bill.

Last year, Kozlowski and many other supporters of such a motion  on the ballot come this November, but was shot down by Attorney General Martha Coakley, who said the cost of procuring a legal photo identification disenfranchises many voters.

The petition also failed to achieve the required 68,911 petition signatures to get a statewide question on the ballot.

This non-binding vote can work in two ways, Kozlowski said, in that the Massachusetts legislature may see strong support of the bill and sign it in or it could expedite the process in the next two years for a statewide ballot.

“Conceivably, it could also color how legislators feel about it,” he said. “The next state legislature who takes office in 2013 will consider that [non binding vote] as part of the legislative process. If the legislature says ‘you know wow, this passed overwhelmingly in all three districts… they could say that we don’t have to go through the petition process again.”

Mansfield precincts 2, 3 and 6 (about half of Mansfield), Norton, Fall River and  Foxboro will have the question on their ballots.

Many detractors from the bill say that such a law would disenfranchise many voters of low-income, certain age groups or minorities.

An estimated 15-percent of people without identification earn less than $35,000 a year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. In terms of ethnicity, 25-percent are Black, 20 percent are Asian, and 19 percent are Latino. For age groups, 18 percent are seniors and another 18 percent are 18-to-24-year-olds.

Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota and Rhode Island now require photo identifications.

It now also looks like Pennsylvania will require a photo id for voting. Precedent for voter fraud using impersonation only shows 10 cases found since 2000 in the U.S., but other cases of voter fraud, on both Democratic and Republican sides of the spectrum, have been found.

Trot Nixon August 22, 2012 at 12:33 PM
First off I am a libertarian...being in the Tea Party doesn't disqualify you from having an opionon, obiously. My concern is that Oliver is Selectman for Mansfield and should be focused on Mansfield issues...there haven't been any voter fraud issues, so why is he so concerned about it? If there were several cases of voter fraud in town I would say OK legitimate argument...but there hasn't been. Just like there were zero cases of fraud in PA. Where were all these people coming out for this 10 years ago....all of a sudden in 2012 we need these changes...I just find that is such a coincidence
Really? August 22, 2012 at 02:18 PM
1) No, the first question is, is there a real problem being addressed? As regards IN-PERSON voter fraud, evidently not. Then the question becomes, why is the conservative, Republican, OMG the government is overbearing, less regulation, yada, yada, yada, in support of mandatory government issued IDs for everyone? Then, the second question beomes, with the very real problems facing Mansfield, why is a Selectman wasting his time on getting a non-binding referendum on the ballot in 3 rep districts? Even if you think voter ID is a noble cause, to claim that the vote in these 3 districts will tell us anything useful is flat out ridiculous. There's a difference between demonizing and criticizing. From my experience, the difference is that if it comes from Kitchen Sink TV, it's criticizing; if it comes from someone with a different opinion, it's demonizing.
Really? August 22, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Bob, between your first vote in 1964 and my first vote in 1972, a little something called the Voting Rights Act was passed. I've never been asked to show ID to vote. Weren't most of the voter ID laws passed after Republicans took over the State Houses in a number of states in 2010? Aren't we seeing problems now in PA and FL and SC? Without an actual election under these laws, how do we know they are not problematic? The truth is, we don't have experience with such laws. And, the number one question is - why do we need such laws?
Kitchen Sink TV August 22, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I don't see where any cause such as show an ID to vote and being a Selectman would be a problem unless it would restrict the Selectman from doing the job he was elected to do. If it does, then and only then it is a problem.
Buseybee August 25, 2012 at 03:35 AM
There has been no evidence of rampant, in person, voter fraud anywhere in the U.S. This is another useless effort that will cost a lot of money to solve a non-existent problem. What it does do is disenfranchise certain groups of people who, for one reason or another, do not have a photo ID. In PA there is a real possibility that almost 800,000 eligible voters will not be allowed to vote. These people are citizens, many of whom have been voting for decades. Many of them are poor and do not have a driver's license or any other photo ID. It is well documented that this law will disenfranchise groups that usually vote Democratic. So is it really voter fraud they're concerned about or are they trying to fix the election for one particular side? Unless PA is prepared to keep their voter registration offices or DMV office open to provide 800,000 people with photo IDs, this ruling cannot stand. You don't pull this type of thing 3 months before National elections. My daughter just voted for the first time in a primary in Florida. She had to show her Drivier's License and her state issued photo voter ID in order to get a ballot. And the ironic thing was that, when the woman gave her the ballot, she mistakenly gave her TWO ballots. My daughter is an honest person so naturally, she went back and gave one of the ballots back. To me, human error is more likely to skew the vote, not the lack of a voter ID.


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