It was a ceremonial gesture only, but this morning Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Voter ID bill approved last week by the Republican-led Legislature.
The bill calls for a statewide vote in November on a proposed constitutional amendment that, if approved, will require all voters to show state-approved photo IDs.
But the measure will be on the November ballot anyway. The governor’s veto can’t keep amendments passed by the Legislature off the ballot, which is why the Republican majority went that route.
Polls show that Minnesotans like the Voter ID idea, because, hey, who doesn’t want elections decided by legal voters.
But opponents say it will make voting more difficult for those who don’t have the right ID, such as seniors who no longer drive, college students, soldiers overseas and homeless people. And they argue that there’s no evidence that voter fraud is a big problem, and that there are laws in place already.
In a press conference where he announced the veto, Dayton said the measure was not passed with bipartisan support, as he believes voting measures should be.
Dayton also said the amendment would end same-day voter registration and restrict absentee voting.
He accused Republicans of passing bills that poll well, to enhance their electability in November.
And in his veto message [PDF], Dayton said:
“This amendmentis a provervial wolf in sheep’s clothing. It goes far beyond its intention to require Photo IDs. Instead, it dismantles Minnesota’s Best-in-the-Nation election system.”
He said he’ll campaign this fall against both the Voter ID amendment and the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.