The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 13, 2012

Your View: New legislature will work out details of voter ID

Helen Baumgartner, St. Peter

— Whether or not the ballot question on Photo ID passes is probably going to depend on how many voters take the time to really study the issue. People need to dig deeper than the sparse wording on the ballot, to which a quick response tends to be “Why not require proper identification to vote?”

All that appears on the ballot is one sentence: “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?”

The actual wording of the amendment contains five sections, all of which raise questions about implementation, costs, groups of voters who will be adversely affected, and so on. (Go to to find a printable chart about the proposed amendment.)

The devil is in the details, which have not been spelled out and will not be worked out until after the new legislature is seated in January.

With all seats in the House and Senate up for grabs, it is not inconceivable that the balance of power in the Legislature could shift. It would be incumbent on new and old legislators of both parties to come to agreement by May so that the law could take effect in July.