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Minnesota Prepares For Voter ID Battle

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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ST.PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Minnesota’s nearly three million registered voters must sign a registry when they go to their polling place, but they don’t have to produce photo identification. That, however, might change soon.

The Republican controlled legislature is currently pushing a measure that would leave the question of voter ID up to voters on the November ballot.

Recent contested elections have given rise to concerns about imposter voters and the potential for fraud at the ballot box.

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, a Republican in support of the measure and who also authored its legislation, says that deterring fraud and detecting fraud at the ballot is a reasonable measure, according to the courts.

Kiffmeyer’s legislation passed in 2011, but it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

In response to the veto, Republican backers of a voter ID law requested that a question be placed on the fall ballot asking voters if the state constitution should be amended.

Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison is now getting into the fray, saying a voter ID law will only suppress turnout and make voting a privilege, not a right.

“This is truly a solution in search of a problem,” Ellison said.

Ellison argues that even free, government-issued IDs will disenfranchise too many voters who don’t have the means to pay for documents proving their citizenship.

“The real solution they are looking for is to alter the outcome of elections by excluding legitimate, eligible Minnesota voters,” Ellison said.

Kiffmeyer counters, saying that in all the cases where voter identification was put to the courts, not a single case of disenfranchisement was found.

Currently, there are eight states with laws requiring a photo ID before voting. However, some of those states still need federal approval.

Wisconsin’s law, which passed last year, just went into effect this month.

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