A proposed photo identification requirement for voters has become a key issue in this year’s contest for Minnesota Secretary of State.
Republican challenger Dan Severson is advocating for a photo ID law, but incumbent DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie opposes such a requirement. During a debate between the two candidates today on MPR’s Midday program, Ritchie said a photo ID law would hurt thousands of military and overseas voters. He said libertarian-minded senior citizens would also object.
“What I hear senior citizens say to me is look, I’ve voted since Roosevelt. I’ve never taken a bit of charity or anything from the government,” Ritchie said. “I am not going to start becoming a ward of the state just becauseyou want to deny me the right to vote because I’m so old now I don;t have to drive and I don’t carry government-issued identification.”
Ritchie also said a photo ID law would negatively impact thousands of military and overseas voters. But Severson called that a bogus argument.
“It’s just absolutely wrong, because they have military ID, which are government-sponsored IDS, or they have a passport, which again are government sponsored,” Severson said. “There’s no reason, and if Secretary Ritchie lacks the creativity and ingenuity to make that happen, the he shouldn’t be secretary of state. We need someone who’s going to go after this issue and validate the valid votes.”
Severson also wants to end Minnesota’s tradition of allowing registered voters to vouch for non-registered voters at polling places.
Ritchie said his top priority for a second term as Secretary of State would be to continue modernizing systems and equipment in the office.
Here’s the complete Midday audio: