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Minnesota Legislative Leadership Defends Voter ID in Court

During this biennium, the Minnesota Legislature proposed a new constitutional amendment:

Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require that all voters present an approved form of photographic identification prior to voting; all voters be subject to identical eligibility verification standards regardless of the time of their registration; and the state provide at no charge an approved photographic identification to eligible voters?

If voters approve, the constitution would be amended (see complete change here). The amendment has been controversial throughout the last two years, but opponents have taken new steps of late.

On May 30, the ACLU of Minnesota, the League of Women Voters and other groups filed suit with the Minnesota Supreme Court, arguing that the proposal “is misleading and fails to inform voters of changes in election laws that could compromise people’s fundamental right to vote.” The groups also calls the question “unreasonable and misleading.” They want the amendment struck from the ballot.

Nominally, the lawsuit is against Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who is responsible for overseeing election laws. But Ritchie is also in agreement with the anti-ID argument.

So it’s encouraging to see that the leaders of the government body that put the question on the ballot is taking some steps to defend it. (For one thing, if you propose an amendment, you ought to at least defend in court its placement before the people.) So the Minnesota Republican legislative caucuses “announced Friday that they will file paperwork to request to intervene in litigation brought forth by special interest groups in an effort to remove the Photo Identification Constitutional Amendment from the ballot.”

As far as “good government” ideas go, securing the integrity of the voting process has got to be near the top of the list. Click here for previous commentaries on the topic from staff and scholars at the Center of the American Experiment.