Even as Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature were advancing a voter ID constitutional amendment on to the November ballot last week, DFLers were predicting court challenges. In 2011 Republicans passed a statutory photo ID requirement in both chambers, but their bill was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. This year the GOP-controlled House and Senate regrouped to pass the measure as a ballot question shortly before the Easter/Passover recess. The constitutional route, if successful, carries the twin benefits of bypassing Dayton and codifying the policy in a way that’s very difficult to reverse. Legal challenges are nothing new in states that have advanced voter ID proposals. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a photo ID law in Indiana. In other states — most recently, Wisconsin and Missouri — voter ID has stumbled in the courts for different reasons.
One group that’s mulling legal action is Common Cause Minnesota. The Minneapolis-based election and campaign finance watchdog’s executive director, Mike Dean, declined to talk about legal strategy or whether his group would take the lead in filing suit. But he said he expects the ballot question will be challenged in court. “What I can tell you is we believe the question is deceptive and misleading to voters,” Dean said.
Any challenges based on people’s voting rights probably could not occur unless voters pass the ballot measure, said Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. At this stage, plaintiffs would have to argue that the ballot question being presented to voters is technically flawed. “Completely separate from voter ID and its constitutionality or lack thereof, in the world of ballot measures, this [approach] is a very common tactic,” Bowser said. “Courts are generally not willing to consider the constitutionality of a proposed policy until it is policy. They don’t usually weigh in on things that are on the ballot but haven’t been voted on yet.”
Full Article: Voter ID battles often land in court – Politics in Minnesota.