The Big E over at MN Progressive Project got ahold of a fund-raising email from a righty group called the Minnesota Voters Alliance indicating that the MVA is taking steps to ask the Legislature to put a state constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot to require photo ID’s for voters.
I’ve heard both sides argue the merits of that idea for years, and I don’t find either case overwhelming. But it’s pretty obvious that Republicans think it will help them win future elections, which is why the idea never passed when the DFL controlled the Legislature and why (presumptive?) Gov. Dayton would probably veto any legislation imposing such a requirement unless it was part of some grand bargain.
Maybe voter photo ID would be on the list of bills that the Repubs could rush through in January if they have a few extra days of the Pawlenty term. He would sign it. But if that scenario doesn’t come to pass, recall that a proposed constitutional amendment can get on the ballot without a guv’s signature. All it has to do is pass by majority vote in both houses.
As I’ve mentioned before, assuming we end up with the Repub Legislature facing a Dem governor, a lot of long-standing Repub ideas are liable to be pushed as constitutional amendments.
The incoming Repub leadership has said they have no such plans, especially on social issues. They want to send a strong signal that they’re focusing on budget and economy issues, which is smart — for 2011. But 2012 will be a non-budget session and I would be surprised if a whole bunch of pent-up social issues and very likely some kind of constitutional amendment making it harder to raise raise state taxes get pushed toward the 2012 ballot.
Bear in mind that once one of those things gets into the Constitution, it’s hard to get it out.
Republicans might consider it advantageous to have several such amendments on the ballot even if only as a tool to rally conservative turnout.
Although the governorship and the rest of the state constitutional offices won’t be on the ballot in 2012, the entire Legislature will be up for reelection, the Klobuchar seat will be on the ballot (as well as all U.S. House seats and the first shot for the DFL to try to reclaim the 8th District. And there could be a raft of proposed constitutional amendments. That could be quite an election.