As a Minnesota Senate committee approved voter ID legislation yesterday, more than 200 citizens lined the capitol building’s halls holding signs to oppose the measure.
“ALL Our Voices Count. No Voter ID Amendment” their signs read as they stood outside the Committee on Local Government and Elections hearing room, protesting the possible new requirement that citizens present certain forms of photo identification at the polls or be barred from voting.
Senate Republicans did not permit any citizens to testify on the legislation. It passed the committee along a party-line vote, 8-6, and now advances to the full Senate.
Though the Republican-controlled Minnesota legislature passed a voter ID bill last year, it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton (D). If the both legislative chambers succeed again in passing voter ID this year, it will appear as a constitutional referendum on the November ballot for all Minnesotans to consider.
Workday Minnesota has more on the voter ID bill’s ramifications:
According to the Secretary of State, the proposed constitutional amendment would disenfranchise 215,000 registered voters in Minnesota – mainly elderly, disabled and homeless citizens – who do not have a valid driver’s license or ID card with a current address on it. It would also deny the vote to 500,000 eligible voters who use Election Day registration
Minnesota has a long history of strong voting rights laws and an engaged civic culture. In 1973, it became the first state (along with Maine) to allow citizens to register on Election Day. The Gopher State has had astronomically high voter turnout rates ever since. In the past seven elections, it has lead the nation in voter turnout. The last time a state other than Minnesota led was 1994.
However, that point of pride would likely be a relic of the past if Minnesota Republican legislators successfully get the new voter ID bill enacted.