Voter ID Bill introduced in MN Senate

New Voter ID Bill Introduced in MN Senate

Senator Scott Newman (R – District 18) is the chief author of an elections bill introduced in the Minnesota Senate Today. SF3571, which will eliminate voter vouching and require photo identification to vote is coauthored by former secretary of state, Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (R – 30) and Senators Utke (R- 2), Jasinski (R – 24) and Pratt (R – 55).

It is by no means a comprehensive election integrity bill, but it effectively accomplishes it’s main purpose of requiring Photo ID. Notably absent is any attempt to verify the eligibility of Election Day registrants. Non-citizens and ineligible felons, for example would not be prevented from voting as long as they have ID. However, because their identity will have been verified, prosecution of ineligible voters after the fact will be made easier. In that respect, It’s not 100% ideal, but it’s far better than the system we have now.

The bill allows a wide swath of government-issued IDs to be used to vote, including military, student and tribal ID cards. Under the proposed legislation, a free Voting-Only ID card will be provided to those lacking acceptable ID at no charge to the voter. Any supporting documents needed to obtain the ID, such as a birth certificate will also be provided at no charge if the applicant needs them for voting purposes.

The bill has been referred to the Senate State Government Finance, Policy and Elections Committee for it’s first hearing. The hearing will take place in Room 1200 of the new Senate Office Building on Thursday, February 27th at 1:00 PM.

Given the traditional opposition to voter ID by the state’s DFL party, the prospects of Newman’s bill passing look grim at first blush, since the DFL controls both the House and the Governor’s mansion, but there is likely a bargaining strategy in mind. Senator Newman and his cohorts probably didn’t put the time and energy required into developing this bill while being certain it would languish for no reason.

SF3571 is a step in the right direction and a bill to watch.

Take a look at the video on 21st Century Voter ID to see how a future Voter ID system can be improved using systems and technology that are already in place.

Important Update: Amendment Waters Down Newman’s Voter ID Bill

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