The Minnesota Supreme Court will decide next month whether or not the proposed voter photo ID constitutional amendment stays on the ballot. At issue is whether the question, as worded on the ballot, omits important information voters need to know before voting it up or down. That wording is simple enough, to wit: “Shall the constitution be amended to require all voters to present photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters?” Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, the former Secretary of State who was chief author of the voter ID amendment in the Minnesota House, defends the wording. “This really changes the system from an after-the-fact check-you-out, to a before-you-cast-your-ballot let’s verify,” Rep. Kiffmeyer said. “This is a very modest one section, and the core of the whole constitutional change is requiring photo ID.”
Kiffmeyer and others envision it will work something like that trial run the republican party did in Stillwater the night of the GOP caucuses in February. That night, voters appeared at a registration table and volunteers scanned their Minnesota drivers licenses to obtain their current addresses and names.
But the idea has prompted a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and other voter advocacy groups, who contend that the ballot question omitted several key changes that will be made to the constitution if the ballot question succeeds. “We’re hoping the Minnesota Supreme Court can clarify that by really sort of deciding whether the question is misleading and deceptive,” Mike Dean, of Common Cause MN, said. Common Cause is among the groups that fought against the photo ID amendment in the legislature, out of a concern it will inadvertently strip voting rights from elderly, students and highly mobile low income voters — people who don’t often update the addresses on their ID cards.