House approves voter ID bill
Considering the predictable party-line vote, couldn't legislators have skipped nine hours of debate and just voted on the darn thing?
Early this morning, following nine hours of debate, the House approved a voter ID constitutional amendment in a party-line 72-62 vote. The Senate could vote on a companion bill as soon as Friday.
The bill would require all voters to show government-issued ID while voting, but would allow those who forget or don't have ID to cast a provisional ballot. Republicans insisted the new system will still allow for same-day registration, absentee voting, and mail-balloting, though the specifics would be sorted out by next year's legislature.
That means it's possible House Democrats will ultimately be charged with working out a voter ID system not a single one of them supported in committee or during this morning's floor vote.
During the debate, Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, said the fact Minnesota and more than 20 other states don't require IDs at the ballot box is "outrageous":
Peppin: Voter ID is a "no brainer."
Frankly most people are shocked when they go to the polls and they pull out their drivers license or ID, and the election judge says 'oh you don't need that. That's not required.' And I've spoken to a lot people, I'm sure many of you have. They think it's outrageous. Bipartisanly they think it's outrageous.
Democrats, meanwhile, focused their attacks on the fact that the bill leaves many vagaries to be sorted out by future legislatures. Furthermore, Rep. Steve Simon, D-St. Louis Park, made an impassioned case that the state constitution is not the place to be implementing policies like voter ID.
Simon said (sorry, couldn't resist):
Simon: Constitution not the place to implement policy proposals.
Amending the constitution should only be done when absolutely necessary to accomplish a goal. Not because you can. Not because it feels good. Not because you have the votes. No because you feel passionately about an issue. That's not good enough, and that's not the standard that we've had in Minnesota.
Later, suggesting that Democrats will now feel emboldened to follow the GOP's precedent and pursue policy aims via amendments, Simon said Republicans "are launching a missile in a constitutional amendment arms race."
Polling indicates voter ID is supported by a vast majority of Minnesotans. Will it still be supported by a majority of the legislature when the time comes to work out the specifics of the system? That's up to voters, some of whom presumably won't have IDs when they cast ballots this November.
-- Voter ID advances to House floor
-- Minnesota Majority uncovers evidence of voter impersonation, claims ACLU's $1,000 bounty
-- Minnesota ACLU places $1,000 bounty on voter-impersonatin' "rascals"
-- Minnesota Majority scrubs race-baiting imagery from website
-- Minnesota Majority, pro-voter ID group, blasted for using race-baiting imagery
-- Keith Ellison on voter ID approval: "Today is a sad day for democracy"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.