On Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton symbolically vetoed the bill that will ask Minnesota voters whether photo IDs should be required at polling places.
Dayton acknowledged his action won't stop the amendment from appearing on the general election ballot in November, because a constitutional amendment doesn't require his signature.
"This amendment is a proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing," Dayton wrote in a letter to Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove).
The amendment "goes far beyond its stated intention to require Photo ID's. Instead, it dismantles Minnesota's Best-in-the-Nation election system" by ending same-day voter registration and requiring new system of provisional ballots, Dayton wrote, adding that it "would severely restrict absentee voting, mail-in voting, and balloting for members of our Armed Forces and others overseas."
Senate Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester) derided Dayton's move as a "mock veto" that "misleads voters," in a statement quoted by MinnPost:
Governor Dayton’s mock veto today of the Voter ID constitutional amendment is completely misleading and intervenes with a constitutional process allowed our citizens. ... The Governor’s action today misleads voters by suggesting the Governor has the authority to override the legislature’s right to place a question on the ballot.
In an interview with Patch last week, the bill's House author, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), said she is confident the measure can cut down on voting fraud in Minnesota.
"There's a lot more going on than we probably know ... Because of Minnesota's laws, a person has to actually admit to voting fraudulently before he or she can be charged. When confronted, only about one in five admit," she said. "Who's to say you don't get a friend to come with you, go to the poll and say you're someone you know in your building? You have people there to vouch for you. Without ID, you can't really double check that. So that's my concern."
Senate District 44 legislators Reps. Steve Simon and Ryan Winkler, and Sen. Ron Latz—all DFLers—voted against House and Senate versions of the bill.
"This is a really big deal. For the first time in Minnesota history, we are putting policy preferences into the constitution on a whim, because one party can," Simon said after the bill passed the House. "This isn't necessary. Amending the constitution should only be done when absolutely necessary."
Both he and Winkler said the ballot question is an invitation for a lawsuit.
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