The Minnesota Senate approved a bill Tuesday, May 4 that would require Minnesotans to present valid photo identification for in-person, absentee and mail-in voting.
The bill also establishes a new voter identification card that would be available free to individuals who lack proper identification and can't afford it. The bill would make Minnesota the 37th state to require some form of identification to vote.
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, supported the measure.
“Requiring Minnesota voters to provide voter ID to authenticate their identity at the polling place enhances the integrity of elections and access to the voting process while reducing fraud and abuse,” Ingebrigtsen said in a news release. “Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our constitutional republic, and this is a great step towards ensuring that. I am happy to see this get passed by Senate Republicans.”
The bill, according to Ingebrigtsen, guarantees that legal voters would not be disenfranchised by the new requirement. Individuals unable to provide valid proof of identity or residence would be able to cast a provisional ballot, affording the voter a period to prove their identity.
If a voter then exhausts all options and is still unable to provide documentation, that voter would be allowed to sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury affirming they are a legal voter and would then have their ballot counted. Same-day voter registration would also remain intact.
Legislators who supported the photo ID bill cited a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case, Crawford v. Marion County, when the court held that an Indiana law requiring a photo ID to vote did not violate the U.S. Constitution. The court determined there are “legitimate state interests” in voting laws requiring photo ID, including deterring, detecting, and preventing voter fraud, improving and modernizing election procedures, and safeguarding voter confidence in elections.
The court also held that federal law authorizes states to use a photo identification requirement to determine an individual’s eligibility to vote.