A bill that would require people to show a photo ID before they can vote is moving again through the Minnesota Senate.
The Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday approved a change that would make state license agents issue identification. Previous versions of the bill had county auditors and other local officials issuing ID for voters who did not have a drivers license or other form of state ID.
State officials said about 144,000 voters would need ID. Lawmakers have been arguing about the financial impact of the photo ID plan. The original plan would have cost up to $62 million. A new plan is expected to cost about $8 million in the first year and $4 million each year after that.
"We want to make sure that we make it as available as possible and streamlined as possible, [and that] with this new system of requiring a photo ID that we do not impede anyone's right to vote," Republican Sen. Warren Limmer said. "We want to make it as easy as possible, and that's why we incorporated the driver license agents today."
The Transportation Committee sent the measure to the State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee. Both the Minnesota League of Women Voters and the state's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said that photo ID would hinder voting, rather than help.
"Conservatively, League of Women Voters believes that close to 300,000 Minnesota citizens of voting age do not have a valid drivers license or government issued ID card, and would been in need of a voter identification card," said Sherry Knuth of the Minnesota chapter of the League of Minnesota Voters.