Minnesota Senate Democrats announced a sweeping elections platform Monday and attacked their Republican colleagues for introducing “incredibly harmful” voter ID legislation.
“Over the past year, we watched as Republican leaders across the country and here in Minnesota helped spread the big lie that our elections are not fair,” Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, said at a Monday press conference, accusing Republicans of participating in a “voter suppression” campaign.
“The truth is that Minnesota Senate Republicans are putting forth incredibly harmful legislation that will affect our future elections, like requiring voter ID, a measure that was already rejected by Minnesota voters in 2012. We all see through the lies, the dangerous rhetoric, and the narrow-minded legislation that will make it harder for certain communities to be able to vote, particularly communities of color,” she continued.
The accusations come in response to a bill introduced by Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, which would require Minnesotans to present a valid photo ID before casting a ballot.
Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Audubon, claimed voter ID laws “really amount to a poll tax, which is unconstitutional.”
“Restrictive voter ID laws hurt seniors and those with disabilities and those with limited resources the most. Many seniors, especially those living in nursing homes, and those with disabilities do not have photo IDs,” he added. “Those with limited resources obviously will have a very difficult time affording it.”
Eken also thinks Minnesota should “expand and make permanent mail-in voting” and has authored a bill that would implement ranked-choice voting statewide.
Despite Eken’s claims, Newman said voters who can’t afford proper identification would be provided with a free voter ID card under his proposal.
“A handful of politicians want to take us backwards and silence the voices of black, brown, young, elderly, and new Minnesotans by making it harder to vote and creating barriers to register,” Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville, responded Monday.
Port is the chief author of the “Democracy for the People Act,” a “large, comprehensive bill” that includes automatic voter registration, felon voting access, longer early voting periods, permanent ballot drop boxes, regulations on independent expenditure committees, a new “independent commission” that would take redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature, and more.
In many ways, her bill mirrors the national “For the People Act,” a controversial bill passed by U.S. House Democrats earlier this month.
“Encouraged by their success in 2020, the left is now attempting to codify the corruption with the passage of H.R. 1, which hopefully will stall in the U.S. Senate,” Ned Ryun, CEO of American Majority, said of the bill in a Sunday op-ed for Alpha News.
According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, 75% of Americans support voter ID laws, including 69% of black Americans. Thirty-six states have enacted voter ID requirements, which would be abolished under H.R. 1, Rasmussen said.