Senate State Government and Elections Committee approves voter ID requirement

The Minnesota Senate’s committee on State Government and Elections today approved a bill that would require Minnesotans to present a valid photo identification for in-person and absentee voting. The bill establishes a new voter identification card free-of-charge to individuals who lack proper identification and cannot afford it. The bill was referred to the committee on Transportation for a hearing next week.

“Millions of American citizens have lost faith in our elections,” said Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), the bill’s author. “This is a common-sense, easy way to restore credibility, integrity, security, and trust in the elections process. A voter ID rule promises that every single Minnesotan who wants to participate in the process will be counted and protected — no more, no less.”

The legislation would require voters to produce valid, government-issued photo identification when voting in person, by absentee or mail-in ballot. Individuals unable to provide valid proof of identity or residence would be able to cast a provisional ballot, affording the voter a period of time in which they could obtain valid identification. Same-day voter registration would also remain intact. 

In the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Crawford v. Marion County, the Court held that an Indiana law requiring a photo ID to vote did not violate the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the Court held there are “legitimate state interests” in voting laws requiring photo ID, including deterring, detecting, and preventing voter fraud, improving and modernizing election procedures, and safeguarding voter confidence in elections. Finally, the Court also held that federal law authorizes states to use a photo identification requirement to determine an individual’s eligibility to vote.