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Minnesota lawmakers pass ID verification bill

May 14, 2011 Brian Bradley

Identity verification is an important issue facing both businesses and governmental bodies. When a person has his or her identity stolen by a criminal element it can often cost both the targets and businesses valuable dollars in the end. In some states, lawmakers have been trying to tackle the issue of ID theft in what some say is a growing issue - voter fraud. The Minnesota Star-Tribune reports that a Republican-sponsored bill in Minnesota, which would force voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot, passed the state House of Representatives. The passage by the House comes after the state Senate passed the bill 73-53, but it is expected to be vetoed by Governor Mark Dayton. Under the bill, people without proper forms of picture ID would be given free voter identification cards after proving that they were citizens of the United States. According to bill sponsor Mary Kiffmeyer, a state representative from Big Lake, the current ID verification system is simply inadequate and could result in people voting in an illegal way. "When you have a system that has no ID, vouching and same-day voter registration - plus other issues that have been brought to light - it is clear that the front of the system ... needs some improving," said Kiffmeyer in an interview with the paper. However, those who oppose the bill say that it will make it more difficult for some segments of the population, including college students, minorities and the elderly, to take part in the process. Democratic State Representative Ryan Winkler said that it came down to restricting voters who were likely to vote for Democrats. "Legal voters in certain groups will be turned away from the polls," Winkler told the newspaper. "You think those voters vote for Democrats and so do we. And that's why there's a partisan split on this issue." Republicans in other states have been moving ahead with plans to increase the ID verification requirements on voters. In Wisconsin, the legislature's budget committee is expected to pass a similar bill that would require anyone voting to show an ID. However, unlike Minnesota, the bill has the support of the state's governor, Scott Walker.