“Do you support the voter ID amendment and why?” asked moderator Rob O’Neil at the recent state senate and house district candidates forum.
The Brookwood Community Church Pastor posed the question to State House District 55A candidates Mike Beard (R) incumbent and Chuck Berg (DFL). The house candidates participated in a debate separate from the senate candidates. Berg responded first.
“I want good honest elections and I want people to feel that the vote they have is going to be honored, and it’s not going to be spoiled by people that cheat the system,” he said.
While Berg said that he is in favor of some form of a voter ID system, he does not support the amendment. He argued that Governor Mark Dayton and the state legislature should work together to create a law that addresses voter reform.
“This is where some of the gridlock comes in. We need to get them talking and finding ways to bring forth solutions that are going to work for everyone. I will vote no on this amendment because I believe that it’s time to go back to the state, do it the right way, make it a law, and have good open debate and discussion on it.”
Beard countered, saying that he supports the voter ID amendment. Governor Dayton vetoed a voter ID law in 2011, Beard said. While he would have preferred the law over the amendment, Beard argued that the governor will not support voter reform.
“And so it seemed to make the best sense just to take the concept to the people,” Beard said.
It is the people who write the constitution, Beard said, and the legislature must listen to the voice of the people.
In the next debate, State Senate District 55 candidates Kathy Busch (DFL) and Eric Pratt (R) also gave their positions on the voter ID amendment. Pratt argued that he did not want votes to lose their importance due to fraudulent voting. Busch disagreed, saying that she did not see voter fraud as a problem in Minnesota.
The Shakopee Chamber of Commerce hosted the forum in partnership with Shakopee Public Schools on Oct. 23. The debate was held at Shakopee High School and students from Shakopee Schools had the opportunity to present some of their own questions to the candidates.
Videos of the state house and senate debates are available on the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce YouTube Channel:
As the election nears, what is your opinion of the voter ID amendment? Share in comments.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described State Senate candidate Eric Pratt as a Democrat. Pratt is a Republican.)
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