by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, saw her voter photo ID bill pass another House committee on April 18 on its way to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Testimony in the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee today was not extensive, but familiar pros and cons were heard.
Sherri Knuth, public policy coordinator for the League of Women Voters, styled Kiffmeyer’s bill as “unnecessary, costly, and harmful.”
Among her criticisms of the bill is that in Greater Minnesota especially, requiring a photo ID to vote would force some voters to take time off from work to obtain a state photo ID and cause other hardships.
The legislation, Knuth explained, would “take Minnesota several steps backwards.”
But Greg O’Connor of the Republican Liberty Caucus and Dan McGrath of the Minnesota Majority, spoke in support of the bill.
McGrath testified that his own group had discovered that addresses some voters had given when registering to vote when checked out proved to be swamps, highway overpasses and factories, instead of residential dwellings.
Beth Fraser of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office expressed concern over the availability of long-term funding to cover the costs of the voting initiative.
While Kiffmeyer early in the session presented legislation that included provisions pertaining to so-called electronic rosters — technology to firm-up the voting process — currently her bill has permissive language on electronic rosters but no mandates.
It would start a task force to explore how the technology can be implemented.
Another photo ID bill by another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Mike Benson of Rochester, is alive in the House.
The bill is modeled after legislation offered by former Republican state representative and gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, Benson told the committee.
In other matters, Republican legislative leaders planned to blitz the state on April 20, flying to seven cities in Greater Minnesota to promote their budget-balancing solutions.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, was to visit Rochester, Mankato, St. Cloud, Moorhead, Bemidji, Alexandria and Duluth.