Voters To Decide Whether To Require IDs At Polls

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Voters will decide in November whether government-issued photo identification should be required when voting in Minnesota, after lawmakers approved the ballot measure Wednesday and ended a years-long dispute.

Republicans pushed though the proposal despite uniform opposition from Democrats, who argue that the requirement would put an undue burden on a basic right and especially hinder students, the poor and elderly residents. Supporters say it would help build integrity in the voting process, noting that Minnesota has seen a handful of extremely close elections in recent years.

The Senate approved the measure Wednesday afternoon on a 35-29 vote, with only one Republican voting against it, following the House’ 72-57 vote shortly after midnight. Lawmakers had been fighting over the issue for at least five years.

Gov. Mark Dayton cannot veto proposed constitutional amendments, which need only majority support from the Legislature to get on the ballot, but the governor said Wednesday that he would campaign against it.

Many Democrats take issue with the amendment’s new provisional ballot system. A same-day registrant without a proper photo ID would have to cast a provisional ballot that would only count if the voter returned to prove his or her identity. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has said Minnesota has about 500,000 same-day registrants during a presidential election year.

“Provisional balloting is like putting in place a ‘maybe’ pile,” Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, said during debate. “It’s not counting who you voted for … provisional ballot means maybe your vote is counted, maybe it’s not.”

Republicans said the amendment would only require voters to fully engage in the democratic process.

“The right to vote is a right,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. “There is an element in your right to vote of personal responsibility. You have to actively participate.”

The ballot will ask voters: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?”

Dayton, a Democrat, vetoed legislation last year that would have made the ID requirement state law, which prompted Republicans to pursue the constitutional amendment. Advocacy groups fought back, saying it would make it harder to vote for poor, elderly or disabled residents, students, and others who are less likely to have IDs or who would be unduly burdened to get an ID.

Now, the issue is with voters — and activists on both sides are already preparing campaigns.

Amendment opponents see fundraising and organizing as an uphill climb, noting that the photo ID requirement has registered strong support in polls. Also, a more prominent amendment on the November ballot to ban gay marriage will likely generate more heat and potentially drain fundraising resources.

Likely leaders of “vote no” campaigns said the groups would probably focus on the provisional balloting system and fears of voter suppression.

“We see the polling numbers and we know that there’s a lot of people whose minds we need to change on this issue,” said Laura Fredrick Wang, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the League of Women Voters. “Once they’re able to understand what the different consequences are we’re able to change peoples’ minds on it.”

Greta Bergstrom, communications director of TakeAction Minnesota, said the progressive advocacy group would help lead a statewide coalition of nonprofit, labor and senior groups to hold local events and advertise that the amendment would “make it harder to vote.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has registered a state ballot committee called Vote No 2012, intended to fund the group’s effort to defeat both the voter ID and gay marriage amendments. Executive Director Chuck Samuelson said that while arguments are already crystallized on both sides of the gay marriage debate, the political landscape for voter ID is still taking shape.

“We didn’t get into the conversation on this voting amendment until relatively recently,” Samuelson said. “This has been a one-sided conversation for a very long time.”

He said the group would ask its 20,000 members and donors in the state to initiate conversations about voter disenfranchisement. He said a personal approach is needed because large-scale events such as rallies “just aren’t going to be effective on a fairly complicated issue.”

Fredrick Wang said opponents have been galvanized by recent court defeats of voter ID requirements in other states such as Wisconsin, but she predicted fundraising would be “an uphill battle.”

Supporters of the amendment see an easier path.

“It’s a pretty easy sell really,” said Dan McGrath, executive director of Minnesota Majority, a conservative group that’s backing both the photo ID and gay marriage amendments.

“The primary mission would be to counter the misinformation that’s coming from opposition to the bill. The point that we’re going to try to get across is that voter ID is just common sense,” he said.

McGrath said his group is planning for a potential rally and speaking events, along with lawn signs, bumper stickers, and television and radio advertising. But he said the fight over voter ID won’t come close to consuming their resources.

“I don’t think it’ll be nearly as expensive as the marriage amendment,” McGrath said. “We’re not going to have to spend a lot of money to keep people of the opinion that they already have.”

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

  • keel

    My grandmother gave up her drivers’ license at age 80…because she was no longer a safe driver. She had no other ID. So…after voting in every election since God knows when…all of a sudden she wouldn’t be able to vote? How cool is that!

    • See BS

      Why don’t you get her a passport?

      Passports are good for 10 years — seems like you are working harder playing dumb.

      • keel

        great idea! Of course she lives 120 miles from me and I have a job to support my wife and kids…and a home to care for…but yes…I’ll drop what I’m doing, drive up there, convince her, now age 86, to go get a passport. Piece of cake. It’s a good think that you’re a young dimwit.

        • Just saying

          If you care for your Mom 120 miles is nothing. It is your PARENT. She took care of you now live up to your end.

          • keel

            Well…some of us can read…some of us cannot. I was talking about my Grandmother and the difficulties faced by older people who may not necessarily understand why these changes are important. As a matter of fact, that’s the only thing I was trying to point out. There was no mention of political leanings or whining of any kind. Evidently, most of you haven’t had to deal with older people who have lived their entire lives in small towns. And why the political rants? You don’t know anything about me yet you classify me as some kind of left-wing beggar. For your information, after college I joined the Marines and served in combat. Don’t say “thank you for your service”…I don’t need it or want it. I did it because I considered it my duty as an American. After the Marines, I went into the business world and eventually became the COO of an international electronic device manufacturing company. My family has lived in Minnesota since around 1840…I believe that’s about 18 years before it became a state…and to the best of my knowledge…not one of us has ever taken a dime from the government. Yet, everything I say which is contrary to what you believe, leads to a political rant. What’s wrong with you? Are you nuts?

            • Just saying

              Grandmother or Mother does that really matter? They are family. I took care of my parents when they needed it. It was not pleasant but you do it because they need it and deserve it. So suck it up and maybe your kids will do the same for you when that time comes.

        • @keel

          Or… could be a typical left-wing guy who whines when things don’t go their way. Then, when people present solutions, you whine that it isn’t good enough. “It’s not that I CAN’T help my mom, but it’s a pretty big chore. I think I’ll just go on ‘cco blog and whine because the government won’t help her.”

          P.S. She doesn’t need a driver’s license. There’s a magical little thing called a state-issued ID card. Get a clue.

          • keel

            Right…from another wanker…see my reply to dimwit above…same goes for you

        • See BS

          No — I think you are just playing dumb.

          Socialism is a reward system for people who play dumb.

          “me dumb me no have time to help Mom = me go buy $260 worth of tombstone pizza with food stamp credit now”

          • keel

            Heh! So now I’m a socialist? I’m on food stamps? What a silly twit you are. How about this proposal then, mister supreme capitalist…how about the only picture ID acceptable at the voting place is a Military ID indicating that the bearer is a true American Patriot…willing to put his/her life on the line to protect the liberties that a wanker like you enjoy. I’d qualify…would you?

          • Tom

            @ See BS

            We are “socialist” so just get over it! And if you want to talk about dumb why would a 86 year old go get a passport! Leave your bubble!

        • Al

          Minnesota does have State ID cards for non drivers.
          (A) If there is a financial concern she could apply for a reduced fee ID Card.
          (B) If she does not have the and existing ID there are workarounds, but since she already had a license I am sure this will not be an issue
          (C) If there is religious concern around showing her face she can petition the identification card image
          *The costs without discounts are:
          Under Age 65 $18
          Age 65 and Older $11
          Physical Disability, Developmental Disability or Qualified Mental Illness $.50

          I respect your opinion but if none of these options are viable I suggest you contact the state and provide a suggestion as it seems they have covered all ‘
          their bases in making the process of obtaining an ID as painless as possible

          Best of luck

          Refernce: (2012, April 5). Driver and Vehicle Services Drivers License Fees.
          Retrieved March 5, 2012, from

          • Al

            Sorry, my reference was incorrect, Retrieved April 5, 2012, not March 5, 2012.

          • notimeforyou

            I believe also written into this amendment is that the state will provide FREE ID cards to anyone who requests them ……

      • Nate

        It’s the same right as my right to bear arms too so I think everyone should have to show and ID to purchase firearms, wait a minute… We already have to show picture ID to purchase firearms.

        You see there’s a difference, a Muslim going to a Catholic church is not a crime, but voting twice is.

      • christine

        Passports are not free. That would be like charging her vote. My grandpa is in the same situation – he hasn’t driven for about 7 years; lives in assisted living; and fought in WWII. Why should he be denied his CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to vote?

        I will be VOTING NO on both amendments.

    • notimeforyou

      The state DOES issue ID cards and they cost less than the license ever did ……it’s not that complicated if granny really wants to vote

    • rentacop

      The State will issue her one for FREE

      • chester

        and who is going to cover the cost of these cards ? NOT THE REBUBLICANS with ALL the cuts they want of the goverment VOTE NO TO BOTH AMENDMENTS they are aginst our rights as AMERICANS !!!!!!!

  • Fred Hayek

    Anybody can easily get an ID. Democrats are against this because they will lose voters.

    • Eagan

      True, we will lose voters, and so will GOP. That’s the travesty of it all. Voting is a right. My mother-in-law is in a nursing home with no “government-issued” ID. She will either be forced to pay the transport to get an ID, or have someone come out and issue her one (details to be worked out next year, according to GOP). Neither of these options will come free. The line “anyone can easily get an ID” is ignorant at best, costly at worst! I cannot comprehend anyone supporting this, knowing they are disenfranchising their own family and friends.

      • feebleexcuses

        My handicap older sister is in a nursing home also and she does not pay for transit they arrange for her to go places and she has always gotten a ride to get her id when needed, food etc. There are ways that don’t cost a thing, call her church, social services, etc and talk to someone there These are just feeble excuses and they don’t hold water their is always a organization who is willing to take the elder, handicapped places to get things done. If she can’t leave the nursing home than how can she leave to go vote?

      • notimeforyou

        I hear a LOT of whining ………….it’s not like these people have to go out WEEKLY to get an ID card, it’s once every few years at best and if they can’t get out to get that done,how is it they can get out to vote ?

    • Tom

      @ Fred Hayek

      You are oviously delusional. The GOP is going after a group of people who normally vote for the Dems! So maybe we should have the Social Conservatives take a test to see if they are SANE enough to vote. Not to many would pass! And by the way is happening because their two candidates lost close eletions and if there guys would have won we would not be talking about this non-iissue. So the GOP look like sore losers!

  • Swamp Fox

    Hey Folks!
    The real issue here is not whether we should have have IDs to vote but why is the Legislature legislating by state constitutional amendments? This whole matter could have been enacted in the Legislature. If the Governor vetoed it then override the veto! Then if the law has Constitutional issues the State Supreme Court could make a ruling etcetera. That’s the way the system is supposed to work! It’s in the US and MN Constitutions.

    Constitutional amendments are supposed to be for dire, far reaching, last resort issues that can not be decided, normally or practically, in the Legislative branches of government. In light of all the issues and problems that state government and the Legislature must tackle a Voter ID amendment doesn’t pass the urgency or last resort tenets for a constitutional amendment at this time.

    This is another way the MN GOP is trying to avoid more crucial issues at hand. Meanwhile the MN Democrats are not doing their jobs either, by not raising Holy Hell over GOP antics and political posturing. We, Minnesotans, still do not have a balanced state budget or a comprehensive economic jobs recovery program before us. Why then are we more worried about voter ID issues that are secondary to the “Major” problems facing us?

    Voter IDs and Constitutional amendments can wait. The Legislature has to do its mandated and constitutional duties by doing its job! The legislature should be united us for common goals not dividing us over secondary issues and political chicanery. Does anyone else feel the way I do?

    • Live and Let Live

      Swamp Fox:
      I take issue with the statement “Constitutional amendments are supposed to be for dire, far reaching, last resort issues that can not be decided, normally or practically, in the Legislative branches of government. In light of all the issues and problems that state government and the Legislature must tackle a Voter ID amendment doesn’t pass the urgency or last resort tenets for a constitutional amendment at this time.”

      Ok; The legislature did pass this amendment and the Governor vetoed the measure because of “political concerns’ and playing to his “liberal Base’ completely ignoring the other voters in this state that support a vote with integrity. Yes, voting is a right…a very serious one. Frankly I don’t want someone with a serious mental illness voting for something a liberal or conservative will tell them to vote for. So lets see if your theory is right…if you are, you have no worries because the measure will not make it. Isn’t democracy wonderful

  • RJ

    these are exactly the people the GOP wants to keep away from the voting booth, the elderly, the poor, students, the ones that are more likely to vote democratic. It is so plain to see! People have died for the right to vote, we have gone to war for these freedoms, now the GOP wants to take it away to further their own agendas, which is dismantle Medicare etc. There is so little voter fraud in this country and this state that this should not even be a issue!! The GOP claims to want “smaller” government but yet they want more regulations etc, what a irony

    • Live and Let Live

      RJ: Ha! you have found us out!!!! Yes, I do not want elderly folks with serious dementia, Alzheimer, or other seriously mentally ill people voting. If you cannot speak our language you should not be able to vote, if you are not a resident of this state, student or otherwise, you should not be able to vote. Yes, people have died to protect the right to vote…you are correct sir! But lets have a vote with integrity and not the ballot stuffing that ACORN is so famous for.

  • RJ

    where does it say “you are not an American if you do not speak english” ? When your forefathers arrived in this country did they all speak english? These immiigrates that have become citizens know more about the constition than you as a naturilized citizen know, I bet you could not even pass the test. If you reside in this state for over half the year I see no reason why should not be able to vote here. And YES I have found you out .

    • desert eagle .50

      Legal citizens of American should be allowed to vote. Somaliopians on welfare, no.

    • Live and Let Live

      Once again: What are Liberals worried…If you are correct and also believe that others think the same way and “like” you; want voting to be open to everyone who is capable of breathing, that would include mentally ill, non-resident students, criminals and people with no way of proving their identity. If that is the case then you should have no worries because this measure you so fear will indeed fail. If not and it succeeds…you were wrong.

    • notimeforyou

      If you don’t speak/read English, how the h*ll do you know who you’re VOTING for ?? Stay HOME !!

  • ICUP

    If voter fraud is the issue, how can they trust us (the public) to vote on this issue without having any fraud?

    • Gdon221

      Great comment! If the very thing we’re afraid of – voter fraud is the issue, than what happens when we vote on this issue? Hum, something smells here.

  • Commonsense

    Why is this such a big issue – you show your i.d. to cash a check, or to open up any kind of checking account, savings account etc. If you want to cash your pension check you need i.d – if it’s direct deposited you need i.d. to get cash out. I’m sorry this just makes sense to most of us and shouldn’t be the issue it is unless you are the ones that are committing the fraud or are just to plain lazy to get your i.d’s updated when you move.

  • not quite

    Liberals are che@ters or che@ting enablers. At this point it seems we have the party of tax payers and the party of freeloaders. Sadly liberals are the freeloaders who want to take more and more and more from the tax payers to hire more and more government workers to administer the charity intermediary. To do that, the liberals need to enable the largest amount of freeloaders to get on the dole and become dependent and to voting illegally. The excuses as to the opposition of this ammendment are so thinly veiled, it is almost annoying.

    • chester

      and the rebublicans are boot lickers of the rich and are against all commonsence by real people the rebublicans CHEAT AS MUCH AS ANY DEMOCRATE

  • Jack M

    How dumb are you to think this is a bad thing?

  • Jack M

    Protect your country, vote yes!

    Do you need an I.D. to but cigaretts and alcohol? Of course!

    Why does this have to be such an issue if everybody is playing fair?

    • chester

      VOTING ISA RIGHT FOR ALL CITIZENS OF MINNESOTA buying cigs or alcohol is a choice they you make A TOTALLY DIFFERENT SITUATION !!!

  • Jack M


    Get educated, and get a life!

  • Murph

    More bad news! The Russians have developed a gun that turns adversaries into zombies it was announnced today.Temporarily we hope,turning their brains to mush! But since Faux News junkies and other GOP voters wll obviously be immune.It bodes very darkly on sophisticated non radicalized demoocrats!

    • Live and Let Live

      See…more personal attacks…”Sticks and stones may break my bones…but, names will never kill me”. Just keep running your pie hole, because it makes you sound…stupid. And not a good idea mentioning the Russians, we’ve all heard the latest open mike comments by single term President Obama about our relations with the Russians.

  • John H

    With all the voter fraud in MN how do you repubs think this is going to pass?

    • chester


  • Alan

    Instead of fighting the mandate, the opposition should focus on getting everyone an ID that needs one. It would be a lot cheaper and more rewarding in thenend.

  • Live and Let Live

    When you can’t win an intellectual debate, just switch to the Liberal standby argument, personal attacks and it’s for the children. What are you worried about? Pray tell us all, maybe we can help you get over your fears.

  • j speedbag64

    i’ll keep my vote i dont want to throw it in the garbage…..dems or the gop can go to hell…

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