GOP candidates running for Minnesota governor support voter ID

Published 5:37 pm Monday, October 9, 2017

ST. PAUL — Four Republicans running for governor in Minnesota all support requiring voters to show identification at the polls, despite the idea being rejected during a 2012 statewide vote.

The candidates —Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, former Republican Party chair Keith Downey, state Rep. Matt Dean and state Sen. Dave Osmek — say the 2012 vote isn’t the last word on the issue.

Only 46 percent of voters supported the proposed state constitutional amendment on voter identification. The candidates said they believe most Minnesota residents favor photo ID voting requirements and that the ballot issue was defeated because of an unsuccessful campaign.

Email newsletter signup

Dean said that while there hasn’t been a case of voter fraud in the state, the only way to know for sure is with tighter voting regulations. Johnson said adding such a requirement would help restore people’s faith in the election system.

“Because there are a lot of people that believe cheating is going on, if there’s way to address that without disenfranchising people, we ought to do that,” Johnson said.

Osmek added that people who want to exercise their right to vote should be serious about the matter and willing to present identification.

Opponents argue that such rules discriminate against the elderly, poor and minority voters who are less likely to carry identification.

Dan McGrath, the executive director of the group TakeAction Minnesota, helped run the campaign against the amendment in 2012. He said the results of that vote are enough evidence to show that the state’s residents don’t want the measure put in place.

“I’m hard pressed to believe restricting the right to vote increases voter turnout,” McGrath said.