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Voter ID amendment contains more than the question states

July 19, 2012
The Journal

Is the Voter ID amendment on the state ballot this fall deceitfully written?

The question the Legislature voted to place on the ballot states simply, "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?"

But if voters approve the question, the amendment will put much more language into the state constitution, including requirements that the photo ID must be government-issued, that voters without government-issued ID be allowed to cast provisional ballots that will be counted after the voter certifies he or she is qualified,, and that absentee voters be subject to the same identification requirements.

The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments from attorneys for and against the amendment this week and will mull what, if anything, the court can do about it.

The question on the ballot does seem to fall short of describing what is actually in the amendment, but the state constitution clearly gives the Legislature the power to write the ballot questions for constitutional amendments, and the court may be loath to interfere.

This question points up the importance that voters should know what they are voting for.



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