MN GOP Wants Voter ID on November Ballot

By KBJR News 1

January 31, 2012 Updated Jan 31, 2012 at 10:50 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Minnesotans may soon decide whether voters must show a valid photo identification before casting their ballots.

Republican leaders in Minnesota's legislature are once again taking up the issue of Voter ID this time presenting it as a constitutional amendment.

But as LeAnn Wallace reports some say the bill would do more harm than good.

Minnesotans head out in droves to the polls each November to exercise their right to vote.

But that right may soon require a little extra work for some if lawmakers in St. Paul pass a Voter ID referendum.

"Basically Voter ID is about suppressing voters, about suppressing voter turnout. It's designed to make sure certain kind of people don't vote," said Wy Spano, political analyst.

If the bill passes all voters would be required to present a valid government issued photo ID at the polls.

"Basically what we're saying is senior citizens who can't drive anymore for instance and don't have drivers license can't vote."

Republicans introduced the bill last year, saying it's a simple concept that'll ensure voter integrity.

"Very simple, very easy, you walk in, take out your wallet, you produce your photo ID, you say I am who I am, and then you vote," said Rep. Kurt Zellers, R - House Speaker.

Last year, Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill. But the governor is not allowed to interfere with a constitutional amendment.

If the measure passes the legislature, a voter ID amendment would show up on ballots this November for Minnesota voters to decide.

"If we're going to do constitutional amendments, let's do constitutional amendments that help people and not attack people," said Rep. Tom Rukavina DFL - Virginia.

The American Association of Retired People has come out publicly saying Voter ID legislation puts older people's right to vote at risk.

Another constitutional amendment already set to appear on ballots this November is whether to constitutionally define marriage as only the union of a man and woman.