MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The Minnesota Senate has approved of a bill that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls.

Republican Sen. Scott Newman, of Hutchinson, earlier this year framed his bill as being aimed more at increasing voter confidence in election results than at preventing voter fraud.

“There is a reason that voter ID is so overwhelmingly popular: it is a common-sense, easy way to restore credibility, integrity, and security in the elections process,” Newman said. “Millions of Americans are now lacking trust in our system. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways we can restore their faith and protect the rights of all legal voters.”

The bill would allow those without valid photo ID to submit a provisional ballot. It would also make identification free of charge to those who can’t afford it.

Earlier this year, Democratic Secretary of State Steve Simon blasted Newman’s bill as unnecessary. He said voter fraud is “miniscule” in Minnesota and that the ID requirement could disenfranchise “hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” particularly older people.

Minnesota voters, in 2012, voted down a constitutional amendment that would’ve OK’d voter ID in the state, by a nearly 54-46 margin.


Thirty-six states have some form of voter ID law. But the bill is unlikely to become law this year, due to the traditional Democratic opposition to anything that might make voting harder and suppress turnout. The Minnesota House is currently DFL-controlled.

The competing proposals highlight how the deep divide between Republicans and Democrats over whether the November presidential election was free and fair has not narrowed, even in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and despite the fact that former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said before leaving his post that there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn the result.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)