House committee votes down photo ID bill

A Minnesota House panel has defeated a proposal to require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

During a hearing today, opponents told members of the House state and local government committee that a photo ID requirement would disenfranchise many voters, especially senior citizens. Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, described the bill as a solution looking for a problem. Marquart said he doesn’t want senior citizens facing extra hassles on election day.

“I think they have earned the right to vote, without having to go through a voter ID or a provisional voter deal that takes them through all kinds of hoops,” Marquart said. “They’ve earned my trust.”

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie testified against the bill, saying it would create added costs for elections officials and provide no benefit to the system.

But supporters claimed the requirement would help prevent voter fraud. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, argued that his bill was a reasonable step to improve the integrity of the election system.

“If we’re proud of our elections, if we truly want to ensure that we’re going to protect the integrity of the process and the legitimacy of the outcome for our children and our grandchildren it’s imperative that we do something as simple as requiring a photo ID, Emmer said”

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