Comparison to Crow laws a stretch at a minimum

First off, I greatly appreciate Paul Perovich’s military service to his country. I also applaud his and his wife’s willingness to become foster parents. However, I firmly disagree (and candidly I am shocked) with his stance on the proposed voter ID amendment (Saturday, April 14).

Comparing the voter ID amendment to pre-1960s Jim Crow laws as Perovich did, is at a minimum a reach and in my view a desperate attempt to portray this potential law as racist or ageist to gain votes.

Perovich is quoted in the article as saying “It’s (the amendment) designed to disenfranchise an entire group of people.” My question to Perovich and anyone opposing the voter ID amendment is which group exactly will be deprived from voting because they do not have a valid state-issued photo ID?

When the NAACP sued the state of Georgia to roadblock a new voter ID law based on claims of disenfranchisement, the judge upheld the law. In his ruling, he said that the League’s failure to uncover anyone “‘who can attest to the fact that he/she will be prevented from voting’ provides significant support for the conclusion that the Photo ID requirement does not unduly burden the right to vote.”

While it’s true that some eligible voters currently lack valid photo ID, there’s nothing stopping them from obtaining one. It is written into the amendment that Minnesota will provide one at no charge. Please also note that the amendment is written for valid state issued photo ID and not driver’s licenses only (valid state ID cards work for non-drivers).

The amendment also makes provisions for people who have recently moved and don’t have their current address on their drivers license or state-issued ID (generally college students). It allows a voter to present their ID with their former address along with a renewal slip showing the voters’ current address in the precinct. That renewal slip can be obtained immediately and on election day if needed.

The last objection people who oppose the voter ID amendment use is that voter fraud does not exist. This is not true — Minnesota actually leads the nation in convictions for voter fraud with 200-plus recent convictions of ineligible voters. Minnesota’s statewide voter registration system contains thousands of challenged entries due to undeliverable official election mail (postal verification cards). Over 5,000 Election Day registrants provided names or addresses that could not be verified after their ballots were accepted and counted in the 2008 election. The most concerning fact is that the majority of voter fraud is nearly impossible to detect and prosecute because you can’t identify the actual voters without photo ID.

In conclusion, we voters will have a choice to make come November — “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?” The common-sense answer is yes. Does it really make sense to not require photo ID to vote for the president of the United States, but do require photo ID to get a library card, fly on a plane, open a bank account, buy cigarettes, rent an apartment, get a fishing license and buy a house or car? — Russell Salisbury, Rogers

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