The Minnesota Senate on Friday night approved a proposed constitutional requirement that all voters show a photo ID at the polling place, ending a week of in which both houses of the Republican-controlled Legislature endorsed the historic and partisan change in state voting law. The Senate approved the measure 36 to 30 after a lengthy and emotional debate Friday evening. One Republican, Sen. Jeremy Miller of Winona, joined the DFLers in voting no; all the yes votes can from Republicans. The version approved by the Senate was slightly different from one the House passed earlier this week. It includes a change designed to give future legislators the freedom to use new technology for identification purposes. “I willingly admit there is some burden that will be placed on some of our citizens,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. But, he said, the requirement is needed to prevent fraud and give voters confidence in the system. “On balance, I believe this amendment is the right thing to do,” he said.
The change is proposed as a permanent amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. The two houses eventually will have to agree on the same language and repass a final version. If that is successful, the proposed amendment will go to Minnesota voters for their consideration in November. As the Senate debate began in late afternoon, anti-photo ID demonstrators held signs, chanted slogans and sat and lay in the halls outside the Senate. But by the time the debate wound down in late evening, the demonstrators had cleared away. At issue in Friday’s debate was not just the requirement to produce an ID, but how the proposed amendment would affect the way the state registers voters. DFLers claimed that a proposed constitutional requirement that all voters be subject to “substantially equivalent state eligibility verification” before their ballots are counted would essentially end same-day voter registration, a popular established practice in Minnesota. Full Article: Minnesota Senate approves voter ID amendment proposal | StarTribune.com.