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After Kahn complaint, a new GOP photo ID push

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The Republican candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State says concerns about improprieties in a Minnesota House primary election campaign validate his call to change the voting system.

The Hennepin County Attorney's office is investigating whether a private mailbox center in Minneapolis is being improperly used as an address for more than 100 voters. The complaint was made by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis.

“The Democrats are really giving this to us on a silver platter,” Republican Dan Severson told a group of Republicans at the opening of a party campaign office in Eagan.

Severson, who is making a second run for secretary of state, is a strong backer of requiring people to show a photo ID before they can vote. He says Kahn’s complaint proves the photo ID requirement is needed.

“When she turns around and requires a photo ID to have people endorse her, you have to say, ‘what’s up, how come all of a sudden?’ And then when the early voting starts and she’s complaining that there are 130 people that are voting from one particular address and she doesn’t think that’s right, she’s starting to sound like a Republican," Severson said.

Kahn’s attorney says there's no need for a photo ID requirement. He said his complaint proves the current election system works.

"I voted against the photo ID law. I contributed to that campaign. I knocked on doors to oppose that," Brian Rice said. "I'm glad I did. I've got no regrets about it. It's the right thing to do."

Kahn is running in the DFL primary against Mohamed Noor.

Noor said while it’s true that some people may be improperly registered at the address, it’s not part of a “massive attempt to violate Minnesota election laws,” as the Kahn campaign petition alleges.

“They’re trying to create a narrative that my campaign was behind it,” said Noor, who said the allegations are a distraction to the real issues of the district. “It’s time to move on beyond the mischaracterization,” he said, and focus on homelessness, poverty, and education.

MPR News reporter Laura Yuen contributed to this report.