Republicans look at putting Voter ID on the ballot

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

Republicans look to put a Voter ID constitutional amendment before the voters in 2012.

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, and Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, will be looking to pass their respective amendment legislation after lawmakers return to the Capitol in January of next year.

At a press conference today (Tuesday, June 7) the two lawmakers indicated it was not their intentions to push for passage of the legislation during the anticipated special session this summer.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Voter ID legislation recently passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

One criticism Dayton had of the long-debated intiative was that it lacked bipartisan support.

Kiffmeyer indicated that Voter ID supporters would have preferred to pass the legislation and have the governor sign it. But that didn’t work out, she noted.

Kiffmeyer depicted the governor as “standing in the way” of Minnesotans in getting Voter ID into law.

“The legislation has overwhelming public support especially among our younger voters and women,” said Kiffmeyer, former secretary of state.

“The people are already engaged,” said Kiffmeyer of campaigning on behalf of the initiative as a proposed constitutional amendment.

The Republicans cited recent polls showing the vast majority of Minnesotans support Voter ID.

But not everyone. The League of Minnesota Voters opposes it.

“A photo ID requirement is unnecessary because Minnesota has no record of voter impersonation, and it would suppress the vote of a minority of citizens who do not have state-issued photo IDs,” said Laura Fredrick Wang, league interim executive director.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie also spoke out against the measure.

“The proposal to amend the Constitution to require eligible voters to present a photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot would change voting from a right to a privilege.  The impact on absentee voters and the elderly would be especially negative,” he said.

Ritchie urged support for Dayton’s Task Force on Election Integrity, created to ensure bipartisan support for future election reforms.

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