A Minnesota House panel has advanced a bill requiring Minnesotans to show photo identification before voting.
The Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the measure today on a 9 to 6 vote. Under the bill, voters who don’t have a drivers license would receive a free, government-issued identification card. The measure also eliminates the practice of vouching as a way for people to prove their residency on Election Day. Republican Representative Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake said the danger of vouching is that it relies on honesty.
“We’re putting a lot inside this polling place with our election judges,” Kiffmeyer said. “Using technology and using provisional ballots, I think we structure the process to treat the voters on election day in the same sort of way that anybody else that registers before election day goes through.”
DFL opponents of the bill, including Governor Dayton, have said it’s a solution looking for a problem. Dayton wouldn’t completely rule out vetoing a photo ID but expressed skepticism about the claims of voter fraud in Minnesota.
“So if we could fine tune that and make it even better to assure voters as we must that every vote is counted and counted properly, then I’m all in favor of that,” Dayton said. “But to just cast aspersions on the system and try to do some drastic overhaul runs the risk of A: being a lot more expensive, and B: just making the situation worse, not better.”
Dayton says he’d be willing to create a panel to study the issue.