Another OK for voter ID


A proposal to require all Minnesota voters to show photo identification at their polling place was green-lighted after opponents’ fiscal concerns were partially addressed.

Members of the House State Government Finance Committee voted 12-8 to approve HF210. Sponsored by Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), the bill would require voters to present a valid photo ID before voting. Other parts of the bill include a provisional balloting system and optional electronic polling place rosters.

During a previous hearing April 7, DFL committee members asked that the bill be laid over because the fiscal note estimating its cost was outdated. A new fiscal note was presented, and Kiffmeyer successfully amended to include $4.5 million in General Fund appropriations that she said would fully fund the bill’s provisions.

Opponents raised concerns that the new fiscal note did not cover the additional costs that would be incurred by local units of government. Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Mpls) tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to require the state to reimburse any locally incurred costs.

“I do think we owe some assurance to the local units of government that they’re not going to get hit with a bill that they are unable to pay,” Kahn said.

Committee Chairman Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead) said a new fiscal note on the bill’s local impact is currently being drafted, and that he hopes a way can be found for the state to reimburse local governments. He said the issue would be addressed at a future hearing.

Public testimony was taken at the April 7 hearing. Opponents argued the legislation is costly and could push certain groups of voters out of the polling place. Supporters denied this, and argued the cause of election integrity is worth the price.

The bill now goes to the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee. A companion, SF509, sponsored by Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.