Yesterday, in another stunning example of misplaced priorities, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate signaled their intent to pursue a constitutional amendment for Voter ID. This announcement came while the state is still facing a $5 billion budget deficit with no budget agreement in place, and an almost total government shutdown looming on July 1.
Republicans promised Minnesotans that this session was about the budget and the economy, but instead they have constantly pursued a social agenda meant to divide the people of this state. This session, Republicans have pushed bills to ban abortion, a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, a repeal of equal pay for women, and have continually attacked our hard-working public employees.
Now they’re back to pursuing a Voter ID initiative that has a huge price tag to combat a tiny problem. Despite no evidence of voter impersonation in Minnesota, this proposal would require a photo ID to vote, threatening voting rights of more than 100,000 Minnesotans who do not carry a government issued photo ID or possess an ID with their current address. Seniors, students and people with disabilities are likely to be the most adversely affected. The Republican proposal doesn’t even solve the problem a felon voting that the GOP rails against. The Voter ID amendment as currently written would also eliminate absentee balloting and would prevent our soldiers from voting. That is simply unacceptable.
Governor Dayton vetoed the original Voter ID proposal because it did not receive strong bipartisan support and I agree with his decision. We all support meaningful election reform that will continue Minnesota’s tradition of high voter turnout and clean elections, but we’ll only truly achieve that through the legislative process, with members of both parties working together.
Right now however, it’s time to finish our work on the budget. It’s time for the Republicans to keep their promise to the people of Minnesota, get their feet out of cement and sit down with Governor Dayton to work out a compromise.
As always, please feel free to send me your suggestions, questions, comments or concerns. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-3751, by email at email@example.com, or by sending mail to my office: 229 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155.