Dayton urges voters to reject voter ID
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday he will urge voters in the coming months to reject the proposed voter ID constitutional amendment that will appear on the ballot in November.
"I'm available to do whatever I can outside the scope of my responsibilities in this office," Dayton said.
Dayton issued a symbolic veto of the amendment, though he has no legal power to stop it from appearing on the ballot. The GOP-controlled Legislature signed off on the amendment last week.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Dayton's gesture would confuse the public.
"The governor's action today misleads voters by suggesting the governor has the authority to override the legislature's right to place a question on the ballot," Senjem said in a statement. "Governor Dayton acted today as an obstruction to the democratic process by undermining this important legislative measure."
The voter ID amendment would cripple Minnesota's election system, Dayton said, by curbing same-day voter registration, absentee balloting and mail-in voting. He echoed concerns of DFL lawmakers who have said that same-day registrants without the appropriate photo ID would have to cast a provisional ballot that would only count if they return to prove their identity.
Backers have argued requiring voters to prove their identity is an election integrity measure. Many said that a photo ID is often required for bank transactions or making purchases.
Dayton also said the amendment is politically motivated, pointing to seniors and others he said who tend to vote Democrat that would be disenfranchised.
"If you look at who's adversely affected by this and the way that might till the close election, it seems to me that's probably more what's behind this than anything else," Dayton said.
The governor said he doesn't think there is a way to prevent the voter ID amendment from going to voters. He symbolically vetoed another amendment last year: One defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.
If voters approve the voter ID amendment, lawmakers must produce enabling legislation to implement it. Dayton, who will then have veto power, said this legislation will have to meet a standard.
"I'll make the same requirement regardless of whether it's a Republican majority or a DFL majority in the House or Senate," Dayton said. "It's got to be broadly bipartisan. It cannot be used for partisan advantage."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.