With Minnesota legislators appearing nearly certain to send a photo ID constitutional amendment to voters, some political groups are already vowing to take legal action to prevent it from even reaching the November ballot. The measure was headed for a likely Senate floor vote Friday night, with a friendly Republican majority, after earlier passing the House. Mike Dean, executive director of the liberal group Common Cause of Minnesota, said his organization has been working with state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters to coordinate efforts on a lawsuit that goes after the ballot question’s wording. “The language being provided to voters is extremely confusing and it’s unclear what it really means,” Dean said.
Laura Fredrick-Wang, executive director of the League of Women Voters Minnesota, said they are concerned with the “wording of the amendment not necessarily addressing the scope of what the law could do.” Fredrick-Wang said that the amendment question doesn’t address what types of photo IDs would be permissible at the polls. She said it also doesn’t mention the use of provisional ballots, which a voter without ID could cast, though it wouldn’t count until the voter returned to prove his or her identity.
Pro-voter ID groups have dismissed those complaints as frivolous and politically motivated, and have pointed out that the Legislature would ultimately work out details that aren’t in the amendment. Dan McGrath, executive director of Minnesota Majority, said the complaint of vague wording wouldn’t hold up in court. “If you look at previous constitutional amendments in the state of Minnesota, the ballot question essentially has to be one sentence, you can’t really explain in great detail,” McGrath said. “I don’t think it’s a legitimate complaint.”