Dayton slams voter ID, marriage amendments at State Fair

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton in a file photo.
Derek Montgomery for MPR

Gov. Mark Dayton says Minnesota doesn't need a voter ID requirement because there is already a lot of integrity in the state's election system.

Dayton took aim at the constitutional amendment that will be on the statewide ballot in November, during an MPR News interview Friday at the State Fair.

The DFL governor said he's concerned the proposed requirement would make it harder for disabled voters, nursing residents and college students to cast ballots. Dayton said he's also worried about the cost of the changes.

"The estimates, guesstimates are between $40 million and $100 million to put this in place," Dayton said. "Everyone wants to look at the cost of programs versus the benefits, and by that measure I would say this one will badly fail the test. But if people vote for it, we'll put it in place."

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Dayton said he will do whatever he can to campaign against the voter ID amendment, along with the separate constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. He said the two ballot questions are "tragic" for Minnesota.


Voter ID amendment coverage
Marriage amendment coverage

The governor also continued his staunch defense of the state employee contract settlements that Republican legislators rejected earlier this week.

A House and Senate panel voted against the negotiated agreements Thursday on a party-line vote. Dayton repeated his charge that most of the provisions in the contracts were similar to those in contracts approved during Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's years in office.

"This is a continuation basically of what they'd signed off on for eight previous years," he said. "Sure it's going to be a political issue. They going to try to divide public sector employees from private sector. The real problem is that the rich in this state and country aren't paying their fair share of taxes."

This week's subcommittee vote means the 2013 Legislature must take up the contracts. Dayton said he looks forward to that discussion.