By Mike Kaszuba

Barely a week into the legislative session, House Republicans introduced a plan Thursday that is likely to draw battle lines with the DFL minority – requiring photo identification for Minnesota’s voters.
The issue has long been championed by Republicans, who in November seized control of both the House and Senate. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Mike Benson, R-Rochester, a first-term legislator, and is being co-authored by several other Republican first-term House members.
“There were many of us that ran on the need for election reform, and photo ID being an important element of that. It’s really important to the [Republican] caucus,” said Benson. “I think that [now] was the appropriate time. I know there are a lot of critical things that need to be passed for the state, budget-wise.”
Benson said he was not cautioned by House Republican leaders to delay the bill’s introduction. “There was no cautioning at all. It was, 'Go for it,' ” he said.
Under the proposal, voter ID cards would be valid as long as the voter remained at the same address. In order to get a voter ID card, the proposal said, the voter would have to have proof of their current voter registration, documentation “sufficient to prove residence in Minnesota” and documentation that contains their name, current address and date of birth.
Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, immediately criticized the move, saying that “Tea Party conservatives in the legislature” were continuing their “assault” on the state’s election system. “Before offering any solution to the $6.2 billion shortfall, Republicans are instead focused on denying some Minnesotans the right to vote,” he said.

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