Mendota Heights Legislators Remain Cool to Voter ID as Debate Heats Up
Proponents of voter ID laws are pushing for a constitutional amendment.
A proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to present photo identification drew nearly five hours of testimony last week in a Senate hearing.
Meanwhile, on the House side, District 39A Rep. Rick Hansen (D-South St. Paul) said he received 78 emails as of last Thursday night opposing the initiative.
“That makes opposition to that the number one thing I’ve heard from so far this year,” said Hansen.
If the Legislature passes the initiative, voters will decide in November whether to add a fourth criteria to determine voter eligibility into the constitution. Referendums bypass the veto pen of the executive branch.
Not having sat on the Local Government and Elections committee that heard testimony last Wednesday, Sen. Jim Metzen (D-South St. Paul) said he needs to research voter ID, but said he’s more resolved against the idea of using the constitution to pursue the measure.
“”Philosophically, I don’t think we should go down the road of putting everything on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. I think we’re going to end up like California. … I just don’t think it’s the right way to govern.”
Hansen voted against putting voter ID laws in statute last year, and said the constitution should be used to expand, not limit rights or enfranchisement.
“When there are problems with voting, it’s not because someone is impersonating someone else. That’s what requiring a voter ID would solve,” said Hansen.
He said the most common violation of election law occurs when felons who have not had their rights restored still turn out to the polls. “A photo ID would not do anything with that.”
The Legislature is taking a break Monday and Tuesday to allow for outstate legislators to return to their districts for party caucuses on Tuesday evening.
Check out our District 39A caucus roundup for more information.
Sen. Jim Metzen
A list of all legislation authored by Sen. Jim Metzen this biennium is available on the Minnesota Legislature's website.
Rep. Rick Hansen
A list of all legislation authored by Rep. Rick Hansen this biennium is available on the Minnesota Legislature's website.