Photo ID Constitutional Amendment - 04/06/12
As the co-author of the Photo ID Constitutional Amendment, I am please to let you know that it has passed both the House and Senate. Minnesotans will be asked the following question on their November ballot: 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. Since 1858, our Minnesota Constitution has been amended over 120 times most recently in 2006.
If passed by the people, Minnesotans will be required to use their photo identification in order to vote, as is the case in dozens of other states and was upheld by the US Supreme Court. The amendment would add integrity and keep same-day voter registration, absentee balloting, voting by mail and also allow for provisional ballots for those who show up on election day and do not have their photo ID.
Currently, 43 states use provisional ballots. Minnesota is one of only 7 states that do not. In Wisconsin, a state with similar voting laws and population to Minnesota, there were only 271 provisional ballots cast statewide in 2006. In Tennessee on March 12, 2012, with a new photo ID law, there were 285 provisional ballots cast statewide which was .004% of voters.
Minnesota is one of only two states in the nation that allow vouching, and it is the only state that permits a single voter to vouch for up to 15 unidentified voters, and in some circumstances, an unlimited number of voters. Even in third world countries they use a strong identification system to vote.
In addition, Minnesota has more voter fraud convictions than any other state in the country. It is time for Minnesota to protect honest voters with a photo ID requirement.
In every court where Photo ID was challenged, not one case of voter disenfranchisement was documented so we can have confidence that with this policy every eligible voter will be able to vote.
As we legislators had the opportunity to have our say on this issue, now every voter will have the opportunity to have their say on the Photo ID constitutional amendment on this November's ballot.
Our efforts on this legislation are meant to add integrity to our voter registration system making sure we continue to keep it easy to vote, but making it harder to cheat.
As always, I welcome your comments.