With the state Legislature’s recent passage of the voter ID constitutional amendment, the future voting process for college students rests on many factors. And while both sides agree it’s too early to tell what the implications of the law would be if it passes on the November ballot, some worry about its affect on students. If the majority of Minnesota voters vote to mandate valid photo identification at the polls, details of how the amendment will work will be left up to the next Legislature. How it will work will also be dependent upon the makeup of the new Legislature — all 201 state legislators are up for re-election in November. On Wednesday, the Senate re-passed the bill to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. All DFLers voted against the amendment, and all but one Republican voted in favor. Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, who represents the University of Minnesota’s district, said she worries about the potential impact on students and same-day registration. Although proponents of the amendment say that same-day registration will remain, Dziedzic said it’s unclear how it will work for students and may make voting more of a hassle.
The bill would create a new provisional balloting system, in which a voter would be allowed to cast their vote without an ID, but would need to verify their identity to the state afterward. Dziedzic said that extra step could create another hurdle and decrease student voting. “It will definitely change the way students vote and might even dissuade some,” said Mitch Menigo, a student member of Minnesota Public Interest Research Group. “It’s another obstacle. It isn’t really necessary.”
In the voting precinct that includes the Superblock area, 86 percent of voters in the 2010 election were new registrants, according to data from the Secretary of State. Dziedzic also said students tend to move around frequently and requiring an ID that contains their current address could be troublesome. It’s unclear whether the voter ID law would require an ID with a current address.