ST. PAUL (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment to require a photo ID for Minnesota voters is part of a surge of similar legislation nationwide.

Much of it comes from a conservative organization that's well-known to politicians but operates largely out of public view: The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. ALEC offers lawmakers a range of model legislation on a variety of topics.

The Minnesota representative sponsoring voter ID, Mary Kiffmeyer, is the state chairwoman for ALEC. But she says voter ID is a common-sense idea that she had long ago, and ALEC has played no part in it.

In at least five states that passed photo ID requirements last year, lawmakers key to the process had confirmed or reported ties to ALEC.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.