(Video by Jeremy Griffith)
History of the Voter ID Debate in Minnesota
In November, Minnesotans will vote on election day for or against a controversial pair of amendments, one upholding the definition of traditional marriage and the other on requiring photo ID at the polls. We will be examining the photo ID constitutional amendment.
The voter ID law has been an issue since the heavily contested election of Al Franken as senator over the incumbent Norm Coleman. The election was so tight that voter fraud was alleged and recounts and legal challenges mounted. In the end Franken was elected, but a need had arisen in the eyes of many to clean up the Minnesota election system.
Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority has led the charge to require voter ID laws since the 2008 election. He has turned up instances of voter irregularities and fraud and has helped draft voter ID legislation.
In 2010, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the law that was approved largely on a partisan basis. He says the law would disenfranchise many voters who cannot afford an ID.
In an effort to get the matter into law, the Minnesota Majority and protectmyvote.com people have sought the make the issue into a constitutional amendment that would have the power to bypass the governor’s veto. This puts the matter directly in the hands of the voter.
Over 80 organizations in the state oppose the voter ID amendment saying it would serve to restrict voter turnout and disenfranchise voters unable to obtain ID.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie who opposes the law, changed the name of the ballot initiative without the consent of the legislature. The issue was taken to court and the supreme court of Minnesota ruled that the Secretary did not have the right to change the name of the initiative on the ballot where the legislature had already done so.
Opposition of the law includes the Secretary of State, The Governor, and the League of Women Voters, and most recently OurVoteOurFuture. On Thursday Dan McGrath debated OurVoteOurFuture’s Doran Schrantz on public television. Local legislators who support the bill includes former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, who authored the bill, Rep. Mike Benson, and Sen. Carla Nelson, to name a few.
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal has written a book on the issue of voter fraud entitled “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk”. He supports the Minnesota Voter ID amendment and has visited Minnesota often to talk about this issue. Recently he spoke to amendment supporters in Minnesota and debated Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
For more information on this issue, follow American Millennium Online.com.
(Below see a the most recent poll regarding Voter ID from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.)
(Visualization by Jeremy Griffith based on statistics from the Star Tribune Poll.)