Hoping to boost what they view as flagging confidence in the state’s election system, Senate Republicans approved a bill on Thursday that would require Minnesotans to present photo ID at the polls. The measure passed on a 37-26 party-line vote after two hours of debate. It would impose new identification requirements, eliminate vouching for most Election Day registrants and create new provisional ballots for voters whose eligibility is challenged.
DFL senators said the new provisions would create significant obstacles for seniors, blacks and college students — groups less likely to have an authorized ID. “I believe [the bill] sets the state back,” said Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport. “Sets the state back to the days of poll taxes and denying the right to vote to certain Minnesotans.”
Minnesota law does not require voters to present ID to vote if they have already registered. Under the bill, people without an authorized ID could obtain a free voter identification card after proving their citizenship and providing a “photographic identity document.”
Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation would “bring integrity back to the state election system.”