A constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls is heading to the Minnesota House floor. The House Rules Committee passed the proposed amendment Monday, March 19, on a 13-9 party-line vote with all Republicans voting for it. If the House and Senate pass the amendment, voters would decide in the November general election whether to add it to the state constitution. Governors cannot veto amendments proposed by a majority of the Legislature, so Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton would be powerless to stop the GOP initiative. He vetoed a Republican photo ID bill last year.
House Rules Committee Chairman Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, said he did not know when the full House would vote on the amendment. A similar measure is pending in the Senate Rules Committee.
Republicans have been advocating a photo ID requirement for years, arguing it is needed to ensure the integrity of elections. Democrats blocked previous voter ID proposals, arguing voter impersonation is not a problem in Minnesota, and the new requirement would disenfranchise voters who are most likely to lack photo IDs, including seniors, college students and racial minorities.