Voter ID laws could make it harder for millions to cast ballots

A report from the Brennan Center says around one out of 10 voters does note have a state-issued ID card. Gov. Dayton earlier this year vetoed a Republican bill that would have required photo ID to vote in Minnesota.
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A report from the Brennan Center says around one out of 10 voters does note have a state-issued ID card. Gov. Dayton earlier this year vetoed a Republican bill that would have required photo ID to vote in Minnesota.

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Opponents take Wisconsin's voter ID law to court

The League of Women Voters has sued to try to stop a law that would require voters to show a photo ID before they can cast a ballot. The law is set to go into effect in Wisconsin in 2012. Republicans in Minnesota want to pass a similar rule but Gov. Dayton is opposed.

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Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a Republican-backed law last spring that would require voters to show ID at the polls. But now, a group of legislators has introduced a bill that would put the matter in front of voters later this year as a constitutional amendment. Dayton would not be able to override it if approved.

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Proposals for a constitutional amendment requiring photo IDs at polls are just a step away from reaching the House and Senate floors, MinnPost reports. Constitutional amendments, if approved by the Legislature, go straight to voters. They do not require Gov. Dayton's signature, so he cannot veto them.

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In a shocking upset, the voter ID amendment has failed, and by a sizable margin. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, the "no" votes led by nearly 8 percentage points, MPR says. The measure would have amended the state constitution to require voters to bring photo IDs to the polls.

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A group of Republican senators have introduced a bill that would have voters decide a controversial election reform measure this fall. Introducing a voter ID requirement as an amendment to the state constitution means the measure would bypass a threatened veto from Democratic Gov. Dayton.

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Passage of the voter ID constitutional amendment next month would require Minnesotans to bring a government-issued photo identification to the polls when they vote, beginning in 2013. But the devil is in the details. The Pioneer Press reports that critics say the specifics still aren't clear – what kind of ID, what happens if you don’t have one, how much it would cost and who pays? The 2013 Legislature could be left to sort it out.

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A court case challenging Wisconsin's voter ID law is scheduled for trial on April 16th. The judge's injunction means photo IDs will not be required to vote in the state's election on April 3rd. The judge also said there's a "very substantial likelihood" the plaintiffs will win their challenge of the law.

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