DFL: GOP Won’t Say What Photo ID Language Means

Minnesota Democrats are upset that Republicans are being evasive about what a voter photo ID constitutional amendment would do to the state’s absentee balloting and other voting systems. The bill which requires a state issued photo ID or a “substantially equivalent” ID to vote will be debated on the House floor this afternoon. Republicans support it. Democrats do not.

Representative Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park) says the author of the bill, Representative Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) opposed Minnesota’s same day voter registration system when she was Secretary of State and is “skilled” at avoiding answering questions about what voter photo ID would do to same day registration.

Representative Ryan Winker (DFL- Golden Valley) says Representative Kiffmeyer has refused to say what voter photo ID could do to absentee ballot voting. In committee Representative Kiffmeyer walked around direct questions about the constitutionality of her suggestion of requiring absentee ballot voters to provide just the number of their drivers license instead of presenting a photo ID to vote. Historically, absentee ballots tend to favor Republican voters. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen says that voter photo ID could disenfranchise US soldiers who can not present a photo ID in time when they are deployed overseas.

No definition of what the key words in the amendment mean

Representative Winker says no one knows what the words “substantially equivalent” mean in the bill. Representative Kiffmeyer says they mean “equivalent, substantially,” but provides no other definition. Representative Winkler says the only thing we know about voter photo ID is it will result in a lawsuit. Representative Simon calls it an “engraved invitation” to a lawsuit, but doesn’t know if one would be filed to keep it off the ballot.

Representative Simon called the Republican practice of using constitutional amendments to enshrine certain policies the beginning of “an arms race” and said that Republicans will regret “launching a missile” with a yes vote today.

Full video of DFL news conference on voter photo ID


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