Republicans ramp up push for photo ID at Minn. polls

Republicans in the Minnesota House and Senate are making a big push this session to pass a bill that would require people to show a photo ID before they can vote.

Supporters of the legislation highlighted the Wednesday during a state Capitol news conference. They say the bill is modeled after an Indiana voter-ID requirement, which the Supreme Court has upheld. Republican Sen. Warren Limmer of Maple Grove said the bill will ensure election integrity in Minnesota.

"A photo identification, when presented at the time of voting, would satisfy and verify that the individual casting the vote is the person that they in fact are claiming to be," Limmer said. "And the second is also to verify that the individual is voting in the precinct where they belong."

DFL Representative Steve Simon of St. Louis Park said the bill could prevent thousands of eligible Minnesotans from voting, and do little to address voter fraud. Simon said there were just 38 cases of voter fraud in the last election cycle, and all of those were cases of felons voting.

"How will voter ID at the polls impact felon voting when felons have drivers licenses, felons have passports and felons have ID cards?" Simon said. "So there's no guarantee that even that miniscule problem will be addressed, much less solved."

The GOP bill would have the state purchase electronic ID card readers for local governments and provide free photo IDs to those voters who can't afford them.

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