A new law proposes a constitutional amendment that would require Minnesotans to present a government-issued form of photo ID at their polling place and requires that all voters be subject to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification before a ballot is cast or counted. A question will appear on the November 2012 ballot asking voters to approve the measure. It reads as follows:
“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?”
A majority of voters voting at the election must approve the amendment in order for it to take effect.
Republicans have traditionally supported a photo ID law, saying it’s needed to ensure the integrity of the state’s elections. Most DFLers oppose it, arguing it could make voting more difficult for groups like students, the poor and the elderly.
Under the proposed amendment, the state would be obligated to provide a free photo ID card to any eligible voter who needs one. It also calls for a provisional balloting system, whereby a voter who is unable to present photo ID on Election Day could cast a provisional ballot. Their ballot would only be counted if the voter certifies the ballot following procedures that would be enacted by law at a later date. If voters ratify the amendment this year, next year’s Legislature will be tasked with passing an enabling law that spells out additional details of how the photo ID requirement will be implemented.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) and Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) are the sponsors.