A Minnesota House panel has advanced a bill requiring Minnesotans to show photo identification before voting. The Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the measure Tuesday on a 9-to-6 vote.
Under the bill, voters who don't have a driver's license would receive a free, government-issued identification card. The measure also eliminates the practice of vouching as a way for people to prove their residency on Election Day. Republican Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake said the danger of vouching is that it relies on honesty.
"We're putting a lot inside this polling place with our election judges," Kiffmeyer said. "Using technology and using provisional ballots, I think we structure the process to treat the voters on election day in the same sort of way that anybody else that registers before election day goes through."
DFL opponents of the bill, including Gov. Dayton, have said it's a solution looking for a problem. They claim voter fraud is almost nonexistent in Minnesota.
Dayton said shortly after the committee vote that he would rather see a blue ribbon commission study ways to improve the election system.
"So if we could fine tune that and make it even better to assure voters as we must that every vote is counted and counted properly, then I'm all in favor of that," Dayton said. "But to just cast aspersions on the system and try to do some drastic overhaul runs the risk of A) being a lot more expensive, and B) just making the situation worse, not better."
Dayton stopped short of threatening a veto. He said he wants to see the bill move through the process.
Eight states currently require people to show photo IDs before they can vote.