Minn. House Passes Photo ID Amendment Proposal

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment to make voters show a photo ID at the polls is now halfway to a spot on the November ballot.

The Minnesota House passed the proposal 72-62 late Tuesday night after a nine-hour debate in which critics called the measure “ridiculous,” ”absurd” and “a 21st-century Jim Crow law.”

Lead House sponsor Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, said the proposal is “common sense” that will increase voter confidence in the voting system and, therefore, increase voter turnout.

“Every single vote in that ballot box deserves to be counted accurately and honestly,” Kiffmeyer said during floor debate. “The same level of integrity should be there (when it comes to) who gets the ballot.”

Kiffmeyer, a former Minnesota secretary of state, also authored a photo ID bill last year that passed in the GOP-controlled Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

The amendment, if passed by a simple majority in both houses, would circumvent Dayton and let voters decide this fall whether a photo ID will be required at the voting booth. The Senate may take action on its companion bill this week.

Much of the debate centered on what type of photo ID would be accepted at the polls. Wording in the proposal calls for a voter to show a “government-issued” photo ID. Some Democrats worried that private college and tribal members would not have sufficient ID to vote.

Democrats also said the amendment would curb Minnesota’s high voter turnout by changing how same-day registration works. Though voters without photo ID could still register on election day, their ballots would be provisional.

Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, said that the state would send a message with the amendment that “when you cast a provisional ballot, you are less than, we don’t trust you, we don’t know who you are.”

Republicans fired back that there haven’t been any documented cases of voter disenfranchisement in states where there is a photo ID requirement. Some said the amendment, which would provide a photo ID free of charge to those who don’t have one, would expand voting rights.

“This is not a barrier,” said Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano. “We lift the barrier. It allows us as representatives to call (constituents) up and help them and to give them an ID.”

Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, said he was concerned about the growing frequency of constitutional amendments that aim to achieve policy goals.

“We’re seeing a sad absence of self-discipline and self-restraint,” Simon said. Later he added: “You’re going over the heads of the governor, of future legislators and even of the citizens.”

A group of House Democrats held a news conference before Tuesday’s floor debate to criticize Republicans for focusing on what they called divisive issues unrelated to jobs and the economy.

Lengthy hearings on the photo ID amendment have been marked by chanting protesters carrying signs and lines of witnesses from such organizations as AARP, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota and the League of Women Voters.

Many witnesses argued that a photo ID requirement would disenfranchise those with limited access to the resources needed to get a photo ID, including minorities, students, the disabled and the elderly. These are groups that Democrats have said traditionally vote for them.

Democrats offered 15 amendments to the proposal, most of which aimed to make the photo ID requirement more specific. Before Tuesday’s debate House Democrats had said the amendment is vaguely worded and predicted it could lead to lawsuits if passed.

Earlier this month, Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Dayton advocated an electronic poll book database containing driver’s license photos and information that could be used as an alternative to the photo ID requirement. Ritchie said the idea would be more cost-effective and friendlier to voters who don’t currently hold a photo ID.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, shut down an amendment Tuesday to include electronic poll book language in Kiffmeyer’s bill.

Ritchie said Tuesday in a statement that he was disappointed by the rush to pass the amendment because “we do not know the cost of creating the new provisional voting bureaucracy included in this bill, nor have we been told how many days election results will be delayed as a result.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • G Dog

    Hey GOP!

    How does this create smaller government and keep government out of people’s lives?
    And what about that other little thing – creating jobs?

    Next stop, GOP stormtroopers checking your ID on the streets……

    • Duanes

      It would create smaller government by keeping the liberals from having the ballot boxes stuffed with illegal ballots in their favor.
      Seriously folks quit fighting over petty stuff. The ID is no big deal my late Mother who was wheel chair bound went and got her ID and she was in a nursing home. Not that tough and if, it is it is probably too tough for you to even be voting.

    • somethings wet

      Sometimes I dribble in my britches on accident.

    • Tom

      @ G Dog

      Conservative firmly believe that if they solve problems that do not exist except in their little world that will create employment! There is no such thing as smaller gov’t. And yes they are a party that preaches keeping gov’t out of peoples lives, but in reality they only believe that applies to people who believes in their non-sense.

      They know their voters are clueless they just dont like people who have a brain !

    • Matt

      I am a more liberal person, however I understand the need for IDs. There is no way to tell what you voted for. Your ID would not connect to your vote. I rather show my ID than pay more in taxes for recounts.

      • Matt

        not sure how I am a GOP when I voted for Obama…

        • G Dog

          Having Bush retired to Texas is a purdy oggone good “change” Kev my boy. Especially since the Bush Depression was his fault.

          • Kevin

            The Bush Depresssion? Dude…you need to skip ahead like nearly 4 years…..

          • GH

            How is it Bushs fault? The housing issues started in the 90s under Clinton. It finally blew up under Bush. The recession was the fault of both sides of the party lines. No one group is alone when it comes to blame.

            • Exp

              The housing problem and the financial worries were spearheaded by doctrine decisions made primarily by staunch Republicans, even during Clinton’s administration. For example: Alan Greenspan and his cronies and their belief in pure unregulated capitalism.. Any attempt to stop those resulted in people being shunned or losing their jobs, for example Brooksley Born in the late 90’s when she tried to regulate the derivatives that crushed us in 2008.

        • Matt

          Why not… Its the republicans and teaparty that is preventing “change” a President has limited powered its Congress with all the power. Grow up and start blaming the right people.

          • dan


            Teaparty and Republicans are preventing change? Good One! So the fact that they treid to stop Obamacare that has already double in its estmated cost was a bad thing?
            The fact that Obama personally made the calls and stopped the newest pipeline. Obama has also pushed offshore Oil Rigs to move out of the gulf only to pump crude for other countries.
            TARP was set up by Bush and administered by Obama. Tarp stands for troubled asset relief program. This was designed to help out banks, not support Unions of failing companies. I could keep going, but I think to are getting my drift

            • sue

              @ dan, Well said!!

  • Progressive Populist

    A Wisconsin judge has blocked voter ID from enforcement and here is what the Washington Post reported about Texas voter ID:

    “Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card,” Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, wrote in a letter to Keith Ingram, director of elections for the Texas secretary of state.

    “The action follows a similar move in late December to block a voter ID law in South Carolina that federal officials said adversely affects black voters.”

    DOJ is cracking down on laws that affect civil rights, as well it should. Both Texas and South Carolina are among the 16 states that were guilty in the past of civil rights violations. It appears the states are moving backward in civil rights.

    This Minnesota “law” will do little except generate lawsuits and work for lawyers. The legislature is well advised to leave these constitutional amendments in the dust and get to doing its REAL WORK of running the state.

    • Elwood

      Your grandma with no ID won’t be able to vote.

    • dee

      Balanced Beam
      I agree with you. Anyone can walk into a license bureau and get a picture ID. You don’t even need to have a drivers license. You will need a birth certificate or proof you are a US citizen and for the county you live in, you may need a bill or a piece of mail that has your name on it and the address you received it at. No one cares what race, color or creed you are. There is no discriminating, but you have to actually take the time to walk in and get it. If you can’t do that, why should you be allowed to vote? We always had to have a voting card that was given to you when you moved into an area when I lived in Michigan and Illinois, I never thought that was out of line. I would like to know that the people deciding who will govern us for 4 year (or so) are chosen by people who are American citizens.

      • Progressive Populist

        And, dee, a driver’s license will not state that you are a citizen of a particular state or even the U.S.–only a U.S. State Department passport does that. All photo IDs requested to be used to vote will have to be paid for by the state. Please remember that voting is a CONSTITUTIONAL right not to be infringed upon or limite4d–that is why poll taxes and literacy tests are a thing of the past, as will this ID movement soon be, as DOJ and the courts reject the laws as unconstitutional. I am truly appalled at how many posters on this website wish to limit or eliminate a person’s constitutional right to vote. And conservatives need to remember that not everyone who will be limited or rejected will be a Democrat–this law will apply equally abominably to every voter.

    • Huh

      Drinking alcohol and renting hotel rooms is not a citizen’s right. Voting is.

      • Progressive Populist

        Flag this as a “straw man” argument.

  • angus

    Let’s have a $25 poll tax on everyone. Have to keep the world safe for the rich white people.

    Usual rhetoric from the right. I applied and received social security on line, never did show any i.d. And it is easy to get fake i.d. for anyone serious about it.

    The usual Republican tactic: Scare tactics, create a problem when none exist, and run around screaming at the top of their lungs

    • Balanced Beam

      Your argument actually supports the amendment. There is no poll tax included. A reasonable person recognizes that everyone can get an ID. Only a bigot would assume non-whites don’t have the capacity to get an ID. (There is an implicit racism in every far-Left argument that minorities need their protection.) The Social Security process is far different because there is post-application accountability: The check is sent to the recorded address, and fraud can be detected after the fact, unlike voting.

      • Progressive Populist

        The “poll tax” is the cost of the necessary ID in order to vote which is why a State has to spend taxpayer money to provide that ID, if so requested. It is not “minorities” who need protection–it is their right to vote. You are full of straw man arguments today. Perhaps it is because you can’t really field a legitimate fact or reason for this UNconstitutional amendment.

      • Progressive Populist

        The “poll tax” is the cost of the necessary ID in order to vote which is why a State has to spend the money to provide that ID if so requested. It is not “minorities” who need protection–it is their right to vote. You are full of straw man arguments today. Perhaps it is because you can’t really field a legitimate fact or reason for this UNconstiutional amendment.

    • Matt

      There are tons of problems in our voting system. pull your head out of the sand.

      • Matt

        I’m sorry but I think it is an issue. how many elections have been stolen by a republican?

        • John Frykman

          You and I both know the answer to that one. ZERO!

          • A Voter

            That’s funny John, I can’t find anyone who will admit to voting for him.

        • A Voter

          @ Matt George W. Bush, two terms.

        • Tom

          @ Matt

          I know for conservatives that claiming there is a problem is much easier for them than it is to prove. And so far I have not seen one conservative that has shown proof of wide spread vote fraud. And if there are tons of problems with our voting system that it has only been in the last two elections that conservatives have started complaining? They should have been complainging years ago.

          • Matt

            I am not worried about proving it. It would cost more money trying to prove that there is fraud than to stop the fraud.

            • Tom

              @ Matt

              Money should be no object if you have this proof to show the rest of us of this problem that conservatives say exist. When you make an excuse as why you wont show us this proof that does raise red flags. If conservatives have gone this far with non-sense why not just go full speed ahead!

            • Matt

              we don’t need to care that they are having affairs. fraud is illegal, affairs aren’t

        • G Dog

          Well, the 2000 Presidential election comes to mind…….

  • Geezer

    So who cares about even trying to fix the voter fraud ?Which always benfits the left?Seems like common sense to me.

    • Progressive Populist

      @Geezer. There is no voter fraud. Aside from poll data, it is hard to really know which party benefits from specific groups of voters. I know as many elderly and minorities who vote GOP as for Democrats. This ENTIRE argument is so much balderdash and obfuscation which is just to keep everyday working class Americans divided and at each others’ throats. That makes it easy for the wealthy and corporations to keep a chokehold on the government and politicians and feathering their “nests” while the rest of us are busy fighting each other.

      • Progressive Populist

        Mr. Beam. Prove it with statistics and election results thereof. All over the U.S. election fraud has been unproven except in few cases, both of which come to mind and involved Republican winners. So, if the GOP wins, elections are honest, and if the Democrats win, elections are rigged. That is your logic.

        • rockfish

          The issue in the Ohio was the counting of ballots by officials.

  • barrister

    This is just another GOP effort to suppress voter rights!

    • Matt

      not sure how having an ID suppresses voter rights…

      • barrister

        its a hardship for many low income ,handicapped and elderly to get out and get an id it recently took my handicapped neighbor the better part of a day
        its our constitional right to vote without being hindered!

        • Tommy Solo

          It’s a hardship for some people to get out and get an I.D. once every FOUR YEARS but not to get out to vote once every 2 to 4 years??!! What a LAME arguement! DemocRATS know that the cheaters are on their side and could win them the election by just a few votes. Maybe we could have billy club wielding thugs outside of EVERY polling place instead like the democRATS did at one place when obama was elected.

        • Matt

          What its $20 every 5 years? Hell I would even accept a bill with their name and address on it. low income, handicapped, and elderly have bills right?

          • barrister

            its just an effort to disenfranchise voters If it makes the ballot I will be voting against it

  • missy

    Oh wait, but a 3 year-old and 90 year-old getting frisked at the airport is completely reasonable.

    • Tom

      @ Missy

      In the conservative bubble yes that is reasonable! That is what happens to people who live in a bubble they dont have to listen to common sense just their own non-sense

    • Matt

      not sure how airport searches apply to voting.

  • kim


    • Kim

      Sorry, my sarcasm didn’t come through. What I meant was “great job” (sarcastically – with tone). Now can we focus on something of importance?

    • Tom

      @ Kim

      There is no such thing as smaller gov’t, or fiscal conservatives, or morals and values, or family values, etc, etc. Conservatives have no answers that is why they are dealing with non -issues like this!

      • John Frykman

        If it is a non issue, what’s the big deal with you?

  • Honestly

    Republicans don’t care about balancing the budget or creating more jobs. Rather they care only about their twisted social issues, making more restrictive laws, and rewriting the MN constitution. They love making more government, not less.

    • ron

      When was the last time obamas crowd balanced a budget???

    • Tom

      @ Honeslty

      They are more concerned about keeping that very nutty Tom Pritchard and his followers happy at the MCCL!

    • Tom

      @ Honestly

      That is VERY TRUE!

  • Death

    When this gets voted down, hopefully the GOP idioits will go away with it!

  • Jed

    If the dems are so worried about voters not having ids they can go out and help them get ids. They send buses out to collect voters and spend money advertising against this bill, why not use all that energy and money helping the people you say you are trying to protect get the free ids?

  • Card Me

    “Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, said that the state would send a message with the amendment that “when you cast a provisional ballot, you are less than, we don’t trust you, we don’t know who you are.”

    Rep. Gauthier, I feel that way every time I go to the doctor or hospital and have to show ID. Also when I’m carded when buying liquor. Doesn’t the State trust me?
    And more importantly, how do people without ID buy booze or go to the doctor without ID?
    Making a ‘victim’ class out of the IDless is intellectually dishonest.

  • Tom

    Mrs. Kiffmeyer there is nothing that conservatives do that makes common sense. We have had the same voting system for years and now all of a sudden conservatives have a problem with it.

    If Coleman and Emmers would have won conservatives would not be claiming voter fraud!

    And voter fraud only exists in the bubble that conservatives live in!

    • John Frykman

      The reason conservatives are in favor of voter ID is that the lack of it has given rise to massive voter fraud, the vast majority of it committed by voters casting votes for Democrats. Every fraudulent vote disenfranchises, effectively, one legal vote. Emmers and Coleman have nothing to do with this with the exception that there was massive voter fraud (proven!) in both races. Coleman was not a conservative. You can’t be a conservative and get elected in Minnesota. But Coleman would have won if the Democrat machine hadn’t rigged Al Franken’s election through massive voter fraud. You can’t get on an airplane without a photo ID. You can’t rent a fooseball game without a photo ID. What is so outrageous about requiring a photo ID when the integrity of the electoral process, the foundation of our democracy, is in jeopardy?

      • Tom

        @ John Frykman

        Do you have proof of that? Or are just doing what conservatives do best and that is make accusations without any evidence to back up their nonsense. And once again the State Supreme Court does not agree with you.

        And the other thing is the only reason why Coleman won the first time around was because of the sudden death of Paul Wellstone. And if Coleman would have faced Wellstone instead of Mondale the results may have been different.

    • T Emmer

      If Emmer had won, this would already be a law.

    • Balanced Beam

      @Tom, Actually we have not had the same voting system for years. It has been made progressively (pun intended) looser with same-day registration and a near preference for absentee balloting. When we have U.S. Senate races with millions of votes decided by 300 votes, it is statistically significant if as few as 100 activists with an interest each vote at three precincts by memorizing an address.

      • Tom

        @ Balanced Beam

        Conservatives have only been crying foul in the last two elections and not in previous elections. They cried foul when Coleman lost and when Emmers lost. And both those cases the courts ruled 7-0 in each of their rulings when Coleman and Emmers tried to make claims! When Coleman and Emmers brought up wide spread voter fraud the court voted 7-0 and said they found no evidennce of voter fraud. So are you saying even the conservatives on the State Supreme Court got it wrong?

      • Progressive Populist

        Mr. Beam. Absentee balloting is very much used by the military and the elderly, also by students. I can tell by your remarks that you have never been an election judge or engaged in putting on an election.

  • Swamp Rat

    Well, political sports fans, Big Brother is soon coming to the MN election process. I must admit some better ID procedures should be in place but another Legislative enactment to place this issue for a state Constitutional amendment is ludicrous.

    The legislature isn’t doing its mandated job of enacting beneficial legislation for Minnesota; and, the Legislature has more pressing issues like getting the state’s economy back on an even keel and getting Minnesotans back to work. Here again is another legislative by-pass political play that wastes time and money. Also, did anyone in the Capitol political circus look at the reasons the US Supreme Court is overturning multiple voter ID laws?

    The MN GOP controlled Legislature is so worried about its political job security that the state still doesn’t have a balanced budget or workable economic recovery program. The GOP, this time, can’t blame the Democrats for creating gridlock over social issues that can wait until the state is fiscally more healthy. This makes one ashamed to admit to being a Republican.

    Maybe, it is time to head for the hills and Mother Earth. What ever happened to Minnesota independence and MN enlightenment in government? Somehow the state government has turned into a reality comedy show of errors, scandalous steamy ethics, and a lackadaisical view that elected legislators just want to collect a paycheck. This is while by-passing the more urgent state government business to constitutional amendments and political hell-raising among themselves.

    Something or someone has to give &/or lead getting things going in St.Paul. Unfortunately, those that can are abandoning the ship of state. Well, folks you get what you vote for and want in government. So far the electorate is the loser.

    Photo IDs to vote? Who needs IDs to vote for a state government accomplishing nothing, at present, for its broad constituencies? Why vote or who is going to vote for a state government accomplishing/doing nothing? Now that’s something to think about!

    • sue

      @Swampy What world do you live in? The mother ship called, it’s time to come home

  • Kelly

    Regarding airport relevance to this issue — when was the last time you got on an airplane without first showing a photo ID? It only makes sense to have proper ID to vote!

    • Tom

      @ Kelly

      They werent that strict until after 9-1-1! If you rememeber before that you were allowed to walk threw the airport and greet your party at the gate and you didn’t have to show your ID doing that. Now you can’t even do that! And we never heard conservatives cry foul about voting in previous elections, but all of a sudden in last 2 elections they claim wide spread voting problems.

    • Huh

      Being denied the ability to fly based on race would be a violation of one’s rights under federal law. If the Democrats want to argue that requiring IDs is racially discriminatory, then the requirement is illegal at an airport. But it isn’t discriminatory, and Democrats know it. But it’s the only argument they have.

      • Huh

        No one said anything about race. Show us which law, state or federal, says we have a right to fly.

    • Matt

      I agree. having an ID not only protects the government it protects your vote. When I go vote all they do is ask for my name and street and no proof that I live there. Anyone could easiliy go say they are someone else and vote.

      • Linda Conroy

        I have seen it done-some one going in to vote for someone because they could not make it. Everyone should have a ID in the United States and of course the ones that don’t have one are the illegal ones in our states.

  • Progressive Populist

    Everyone, please keep in mind that an ID is not proof of US or State citizenship–only a passport is that proof. Plenty of nonresidents have photo IDs that state where they live and drivers’ licenses, but that doesn’t mean they can vote. Green-card-carrying immigrants and illegals both get these IDs. By its very nature, any ID is just a snapshot in time of that person and where that person lives. None state “official U.S. or (insert name of State here) citizen pursuant to birth certificate and background check. Unless it is a U.S.-issued State Department passport which has been purchased with a U.S. birth certificate, an ID is just a picture with an address. And a lot of IDs are faked.

  • Balanced Beam

    Agreed. Wait. Are you talking about the DFL “Ethics Complaint” against a retiring Republican Senator who used the term “recently” to describe “a couple months ago”? I assume that’s what you mean, because election integrity seems like a fundamental principal. Political grandstanding by DFL Senator Pappas? Not so much.

  • Sumyung Guy

    One more thing. This state used to be very progressive and people from around the world knew it was a great place to be from. With great pride, I used to love being able to tell others where I was from because people would often envy me for living here. Not so much anymore. Ever since the rise of these right-wing nut jobs, our state is no longer a place of pride. It has become a national laughing stock. No wonder our state is quickly going down the drain. And it is because of this type of “legislation” (I call it partisan politics) that has gotten us here. All the Republicans seem able to do is try to legislate how the rest of us live our lives. It seems to be beyond them as far as how to propose any real meaningful legislation that has a positive effect on our state. Such a pity.

  • James 4:14

    Puttting Mark Ritchie and the word integrity in the same sentence is as funny as that clown Franken.

    • Tom

      @ James 4:14

      Conservatives are just not used to people who can speak common sense, speak in complete sentences. That is what happens when you and people like you have listened to people like Bachmann and Palin talk!

  • jimmy

    Stupid conservatives, you are changing the constitution and not even knowing what you arew voting on.
    Vote yes now we will tell you what you voted for in 2013. This would allow the congress critters to change the voting laws every 2-4 years.

  • Dini

    Why is everyone having such a fit about this? YOU HAVE to have an ID to use a credit card to purchase products in a store. You have to have your ID when you go to a hospital to register. You have to have an ID to buy cigarettes or alcohol. Why then it is not required for voting?? C’mon!! People just have to complain about something. How many people out there really don’t have a photo ID?? If you don’t, I don’t understand how you can purchase certain things or get certain accomodations, or drive for that matter!!??!!. THEN, I have to wonder why you don’t have and ID or don’t want to get one?? Voting is a right given to American citizens. If you are not an American citizen, you shouldn’t have the right to vote. If you are a citizen, a small plastic ID can help verify this. If you don’t have ID freakin’ get one!! I’m sure they will gladly give you one.

  • G Dog

    Conservatives – we fix problems that aren’t there and ignore the problems that do exist.

    Kinda catchy, isn’t it?

  • angelcarver

    when the voters vote this bill into law, the democrats won’t be able to cheat anymore. republicans will win every election now. sssaaaweeet!!!

  • Exp

    I consider this of very little import. I have no problem in showing an ID at polling time and I consider myself more left than right. An ID is not that expensive, even my non-driving mother in law has one. You need one to get medical care. You need one often in daily life if you use credit or debit cards or checks. If these people are too poor to afford one they’re likely to already be on welfare assistance programs and would need ID to get that help. The only others that couldn’t easily obtain one are illegals, who I wouldn’t want voting, whether they vote right or left.

  • VoteIDSupporter

    So, how does an ID restrict someones ability to vote? If you live where you say you live, if you are indeed a citizen of the state of Minnesota, you should have to prove that with a state issued DL or ID card. Oh…the Lib’s want me to take their word on that. Sounds like an opportunity to stuff ballet box’s to me. Actions speak louder than words and after the last recounts in this state I’m not in much of a mood to simply “take your word on that”. Voting is indeed a right we all have, but we also have the responsibility to make sure the vote is accurate and honest and honesty is not something that most politicians are very good at.

  • Fred Hayek

    80 percent of Minnesotans support voter ID. Democrats don’t.

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