A bill that would require people to provide a photo ID before voting is making its way through the legislature, but two St. Louis Park legislators have been making their opposition very clear.
The House version of the bill, authored by Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-District 16B), cleared a key committee on Thursday and appears to be getting closer to a floor vote. A Senate version has been gaining traction as well.
Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-District 44B), who represents St. Louis Park and Golden Valley, said in a recent interview with the UpTake that he thinks the bill is an unnecessary expenditure that would hurt the democratic process.
"(Republicans) are making it more difficult for certain groups of people to vote," Winkler said.
Kiffmeyer said the idea behind the bill is to simply ensure that Minnesota elections are conducted fairly.
“In the end, photo IDs strengthen the integrity of an election and there is a sizable majority of Minnesotans who support it,” she said.
Kiffmeyer —Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-44A)—on the issue last month. Like Winkler, Simon said he thought the bill would restrict some eligible voters—such as the disabled, those in the military serving overseas and college students living away from home—from voting. He also said the bill would be an unnecessary expense during a time when the state's budget is hurting.
“If I had a bumper sticker slogan for this it would be ‘tiny problem, huge price tag’ at a time when we are struggling financially," Simon said.
With Republicans in control at the legislature, the bill likely will have enough support despite concerns from DFLers like Winkler and Simon. Minnesota Public Radio reported that Gov. Mark Dayton has not said whether he would veto a voter photo ID bill if one got to his desk, but a veto might not resolve the issue—Kiffmeyer has said she will put the issue to the voters in the form of a constitutional amendment if Dayton vetoes
Here’s what happened this past week with other bills authored or co-authored by your legislators:
Rep. Steve Simon
- HF0448, or the "," received a favorable hearing in the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee Wednesday. The bill will likely be included in an omnibus liquor bill later this month.
Sen. Ron Latz
- Authored a bill that would grant the state's commissioner of transportation subpoena power. SF1219 will be introduced Monday and referred to the Transportation Committee.