The question of whether to require voters to produce photo identifications is in the hands of Minnesota senators. The Senate rules committee Wednesday advanced to the full Senate a bill similar to one the House passed earlier in the day. The Senate is to begin debate on the measure Friday afternoon. If the Republican-controlled Senate agrees with the House, which approved the measure 72-62, Minnesota voters will decide on Nov. 6 whether to amend the state Constitution to include the photo ID requirement. The House vote was partisan, with Republicans supporting the proposal. In the Senate committee, Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, asked bill sponsor Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, if he could point out any voter fraud his photo ID bill would have fixed in recent elections. “No, I cannot,” Newman said, adding that he will try to find some examples before the Senate takes up the bill.
Democrats dominated the House debate, failing to convince Republicans to amend the bill to fix what they called flaws. At midnight, Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, said the Republican-pushed proposal was a rash decision “made in the middle of the night.”
Democrats argued that there is no fraud and no need to require a photo ID. “Your word is your bond,” Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, said. “This amendment is wrong for Minnesota, it is wrong for America and it is wrong for who you are and for who I am,” Gauthier said.