Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-District 44) slammed Republican voter ID proposals, saying the GOP is pushing for the measures in order to create barriers for groups likely to vote for DFL candidates.
Latz—who represents Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Golden Valley—scoffed at claims that the measures are intended to prevent voter fraud. He doesn’t see any problems with the current voting procedures that need to be fixed.
“There are almost zero instances of someone trying to impersonate another voter—almost zero,” Latz said.
The voter ID proposal has become the latest issue to divide Republicans and DFLers. Numerous people testified for hours Wednesday in a Senate hearing about a proposed constitutional amendment that would require photo ID.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-District 16B), of Big Lake, who authored the House version, said earlier that the measure is simply a sensible way to better regulate the voting process and ensure no one votes fraudulently.
A poll done by Marquette University–Wisconsin indicated that the majority of the registered voters they asked (a sample size of 701 registered voters) said they favored the law.
But Latz and other voter ID critics say it creates obstacles for many residents—including seniors, students, members of the armed forces and the poor.
Beth Fraser, who represented Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s office at Wednesday’s hearing, said the changes could hurt more than 700,000 Minnesotans—noting that 215,000 eligible Minnesota voters aren’t registered to vote and as many as 500,000 people register at the polls on election day.
Lawmakers , but Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed it—sparking this year’s push for a constitutional amendment that would bypass the governor and take the issue straight to voters.
The tactic is one that Republicans are doing with other issues—and it’s something that has frustrated DFLers. Latz said Republicans are making an end run around the normal checks and balances just because they lost the gubernatorial election.
“I think that’s obnoxious what they’re trying to do with this and other amendment,” he said.