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Minnesota Voter ID Amendment heads to the ballot

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April 9, 2012

Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota: On Wednesday, April 4, the Minnesota Voter Identification Amendment moved to this year's November ballot after it passed through the state Senate on a 35-29 vote. The amendment passed through the state House the day before with a vote of 72-57.[1]

Oddly, this is the second time the amendment has cleared the state Legislature. This is because this newly passed amendment is actually a "compromise" version of the bill. Though labelled a compromise by the all-Republican conference committee that drafted it, the Minnesota Secretary of State called it "worse" than the original measures that moved through the Legislature.[1][2]

Supporters focused on the aspect of the measure that would end the state's so-called "vouching system" which allows for one registered voter to vouch for the eligibility of another voter when registering on election day. According to state Senator Scott Newman, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, "It is our intent to eliminate the vouching system in Minnesota. Which I believe is ready-made for voter fraud." Opponents, however, believe that the effects of the amendment are much more reaching that the ballot summary lets on. Senator Linda Higgins commented on this very issue saying, "I think this question is a sham. If voters knew what the other changes to be made were ... this would be soundly defeated." Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause, expects the measure to be challenged in court on the basis of a discrepancy between the ballot language and the actual changes to be made to the state constitution.[1]

Recently, a court in Missouri ruled on a similar case and struck the ballot question from the Missouri Voter ID Amendment after the judge determined that the question's language was unfair and insufficient.

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