Several groups are ramping up opposition to a constitutional amendment that would require Minnesotans to present a photo identification to vote. GOP legislative leaders say they want to put the issue to voters this fall. It’s an issue gaining momentum across the country. There are 15 states that require people show a photo ID to vote and another 26 states with legislation to create voter ID laws or strengthen them. Mississippi passed voter ID via constitutional amendment last year, but that state’s law requires approval by the U.S. Department of Justice before it can take effect. The Justice Department last month rejected a new South Carolina law that requires people to show government-issued photographic identification when they vote in person. Groups representing minorities, seniors, disabled people and others hope to convince Minnesota lawmakers to stop it here.
Supporters of the Photo ID legislation say the measure is a simple way to ensure that voters are eligible and are who they say they are. … But not everyone agrees. DFL Congressman Keith Ellison appeared at a Monday news conference with advocates for college students, disabled people, immigrant groups and senior citizens to voice opposition.
… Ellison argues that some people may be prevented from voting even though they have the right to do so. For example, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office said roughly 215,000 people who voted in the last election don’t have photo identification or have a driver’s license with outdated information. The office also said the 500,000 people who registered to vote on Election Day would not be eligible to vote under the requirement. Ellison believes supporters of the amendment are working to suppress voters who typically support Democrats.