GOP leaders want a voice in voter ID case

Republican leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate said today they plan to file paperwork aimed at intervening in the recent lawsuit brought by opponents of the voter ID constitutional amendment.

The decision comes a day after a similar announcement from Minnesota Majority, a group that favors a requirement that people show photo identification before they can vote. Last week, the ACLU and other groups petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to remove the amendment question from the ballot due to concerns about the accuracy of its wording.

In a news release, Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said he thinks the integrity of the election process will be enhanced with the photo ID requirement.

“The Legislature placed this very clear and concise question before the citizens for their judgment in the November election,” Senjem wrote. “With our action today, we intend to protect the right of citizens to vote on this important issue of election integrity.”

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, also weighed in.

“This request is needed to protect the Minnesota Legislature’s right to pass and place constitutional amendments on the ballot,” Zellers explained. “It is unfortunate special interest groups who are opposed to photo ID are using any means necessary to prevent citizens from voting on this important election integrity measure.”

A spokeswoman for Zellers said the Legislature is hiring the Winthrop & Weinstine law firm to handle the matter. She confirmed that taxpayer money will fund the legal action.

According to the release, members of the Legislative Coordinating Commission will meet next week to adopt a formal resolution on the intervention request.

The court has scheduled oral arguments for July 17.

  • Payin’ Taxes so Anti-Lit Leg can hire Lawyers

    You mean the Legislature still has funds to pay for another law suit after hiring lawyers to defend them against the Badd Apple Brodkorb Affair?

  • Cat

    The plaintiffs are not challenging the Legislature’s right to pass and put constitutional amendments on the ballot. It is challenging the deceptively simple wording of the ballot question, which does not tell voters what the amendment will actually do, if you look at the complete wording of the amendment — much more than presenting a photo ID. Voters won’t see this:

    “All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic identification before receiving a ballot. The state must issue photographic identification at no charge to an eligible voter who does not have a form of identification meeting the requirements of this section. A voter unable to present government-issued photographic identification must be permitted to submit a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot must only be counted if the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by law. All voters, including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.”

    This means:

    When you vote on the amendment, you won’t know what kinds of IDs will be permitted. The next legislature would decide this.

    Taxpayers will pay for the “free id.” Citizens will have to pay for the documents they need to get an ID, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc., perhaps from other states.

    Local officials don’t like the provisional balloting system this amendment would create. Property taxpayers would have to pay for the local costs. If someone casts a provisional ballot, they would have to go to the local elections office within a few days to show valid photo ID, or the ballot won’t be counted. (Think about how many will be able to– or who will bother– to do this, especially if the major races have been decided — this would cause their votes for other candidates to be tossed).

    What will happen to mail voting and absentee ballot voting? The amendment says these voters shall be subject to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification.

    Election day registration will be hugely impacted. No more vouching. Even if you register at the polls, you would have to get a provisional ballot, which will be counted later only upon verification of your identity and eligibility.