A controversial constitutional amendment that would require voters to show a photo identification at the polls has cleared one of the last hurdles on the way to the fall ballot. An all-Republican conference committee hammered out a compromise version of the House and Senate voter identification proposals and passed it unanimously Monday night, over the vocal protests of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, which described the compromise as “worse” than either of the original plans. Proponents were more pleased with the committee’s work. … The compromise plan now returns to the House and Senate for a final vote. Both chambers had earlier approved slightly different versions of the amendment on straight party-line votes. Gov. Mark Dayton can’t veto a proposed amendment, as he did with a photo identification law passed by legislators last year.
Both the House and Senate versions of the amendment had three main elements: A requirement that all voters at the polls show some form of photo identification; a requirement that all voters meet “substantially equivalent” eligibility standards, and the creation of a new system of provisional ballots for those without proper ID or eligibility verification. The amendment also would commit the state to providing free IDs if requested.
All sides admit that the amendment language lacks detail. If voters approve the amendment, the 2013 Legislature would have to determine its effect on absentee and mail-in ballots, the popular system of Election Day registration, and provisional ballots.