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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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Friday, March 16, 2012
ST. PAUL – State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Nelson Township) said a bill that will let Minnesotans decide whether or not identification should be provided prior to voting will soon make its way to the House floor. “This is a measure that will ensure the integrity of our elections,” Torkelson said. “The Legislature approved a similar measure last year but Governor Dayton vetoed it, so this new proposal would place the issue on the ballot and give voters the opportunity to amend the state’s Constitution in order to make voter identification a reality.” Torkelson said the bill requires an election judge to confirm the voter’s name, address, and date of birth and requires the voter to provide a picture ID. It also requires a photo ID to be issued to people at no cost who do not have a driver’s license or state issued ID card. More than twenty states have voter photo ID laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in by upholding an Indiana law requiring voters to show photo identification, determining that the requirement was justified and the burden minimal. Some polls show that 80 percent of Minnesotans believe photo ID should be required at the polls. Torkelson said there is no evidence that voters are disenfranchised in the states where photo identification is required, and nearly every eligible voter in Minnesota is already carrying the needed voter identification in their wallet or purse. “You need identification at the grocery store, the bank, and the gym,” Torkelson said. “Most people these days are surprised when they arrive at the polls and don’t have to prove who they are. Requiring photo identification at the polls is just common sense, and it would make it easier for election judges to ensure every vote is legally cast.”