Senate Republicans pushed a controversial voter suppression bill through another committee this week which could reduce turnout in Minnesota elections by tens of thousands of voters. The proposal, which passed the Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, requires all voters to possess either a driver’s license, Minnesota identification card, or voter identification card with an updated address and photo and must present this ID at the polls in order to vote.
Minnesotans already rejected onerous voter ID restrictions in 2012 by voting down a Republican-supported constitutional amendment with 52% of Minnesotans opposed. The Senate Republican majority is actively thwarting the will of voters by attempting to impose voter ID through statute instead of a constitutional amendment.
Minnesota prides itself on consistently having the highest rate of voter turnout in the nation. This proposal will put that distinction in jeopardy and will disenfranchise many voters. Voter ID laws have also been found to disproportionately disenfranchise minorities because voters of color are less likely to possess a photo ID and the required documents to obtain an ID.
The bill also creates a second tier of ‘provisional’ ballots for those that lack required identification at the polls. Typically, over a quarter of all provisional ballots in other states never get counted based on the failure of voters to preregister or update their residence.
Burdensome voter ID laws across the country are a solution in search of a problem and a cynical attempt by Republicans to suppress voter turnout in order to help their chances in elections. The Senate DFL will reject any effort to undermine your right to vote and fight to stop the voter ID restrictions proposed by the Senate Republican majority. (SF 3571)