Even if the Legislature approves the measure as a constitutional amendment, opponents vow to try and keep it off November ballot. The turmoil and contention surrounding voting rights and election integrity does not cease when a state adopts the type of photo ID requirement Minnesota is moving toward. It just moves into the courtrooms. Two Wisconsin district court judges blocked the state’s strict, new ID requirement this month, after just a single election. One judge said a government that limits the right to vote “imperils its legitimacy.” The state is appealing. In Texas and South Carolina, concerns dating back to the Civil Rights era have caused the federal government to block ID laws, fearing minority voters will be disenfranchised. Those states are appealing. Even Indiana and Georgia, two states with the longest history of using strict photo ID requirements, had to battle multiple legal challenges, culminating in a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the Indiana law as being in “the interest in deterring and detecting voter fraud.”
The far-flung cases are important for Minnesota, where Republican legislators are expected to pass photo ID this year as a proposed constitutional amendment. Case by case, relying on state and federal constitutional protections, and with memories of the poll taxes of the Jim Crow era, the courts are drawing the boundaries for ID requirements. It will take time.
Common Cause Minnesota, which opposes photo ID, is prepared to fire the first legal shot. If the Legislature approves it, the group will sue to keep it off the November ballot. “It’s just an endless morass of court challenges,” said Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, a lawyer and leading opponent of photo ID. Responded the sponsor, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, formerly the state’s chief elections officer as secretary of state: “The integrity of elections is always worth fighting for.”
Full Article: Court fight inevitable for voter ID | StarTribune.com.