Editor's Note: following information was released by Senator Ann Rest's office.
Voter ID Proposal
Governor Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie unveiled an alternative to the Voter ID proposal being discussed in the legislature. The plan would bring electronic poll books into every polling place, instead of requiring voters to present a photo ID. This procedure would ensure the integrity of elections, without making it harder for eligible citizen to vote. When voters enter the polling place, they would give their name to a poll worker, who would look it up in an electronic database. A picture of the voter would pop up on the screen, and the poll worker would be able to check that the person trying to vote matches up with the picture in the database. The database would come from the Division of Vehicle Services and include driver's licenses and state ID cards. It could also be adapted to include college IDs, and poll workers could take on-the-spot photos of those not in the system. This plan would also be more cost-effective than the Voter ID proposal, and it would prevent someone from using false identification to vote. Senator Rest supports the electronic poll book proposal, and hopes that it will advance through the legislature this session.
Shutdown Bills Advance
On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee approved four bills that would leave many government services active in the event of any future government shutdown. The bills, crafted in response to last year’s shutdown, would continue government projects such as road construction, electrical inspections, campsite operation, lottery ticket sales and would assure continued access to funding for Minnesota state colleges and universities. Similar “lights-on” legislation was attempted after the 2005 government shutdown, but was objected to by Governor Tim Pawlenty who opposed “institutionalizing gridlock,” saying it didn’t make sense to make it easier for lawmakers to avoid making decisions. Senator Rest opposes the bills.