It’s about time that the ECM Editorial Board got it right (Oct 13, page 4) on the voting restriction amendment that will be on the ballot on November 6th.
In addition to costing a lot of money to implement, it’s a classic case of bait and switch. What is listed on the ballot isn’t the same language as the actual explanation of the amendment. There is three times the wordage or verbiage as the case may be, on the actual amendment. It also allows the future legislature to fill in the blanks. It’s a lot like handing a blank check over to someone to fill in the amount later.
Hamline University Professor David Schultz released a report that factored in the cost to local and state governments. The price tag for both would be between 33 million to 67 million. It added that individuals who lack an ID would have to spend as a group between 16 and 73 million to obtain the documents necessary to obtain a state ID even if the state ID was issued at no cost. Also a state issued ID or state drivers license does not prove U.S. citizenship, any foreign national can get a Minnesota drivers license as long as they have an address and pass the drivers test.
The only document with a photo ID is a passport book or a passport card. Which cost with the photo 160 dollars for a passport and 65 dollars for a passport card. Is the State of Minnesota going to pay for those also. What is that going to cost us.
Voter fraud and voter impersonation is not a problem in Minnesota. We have had 2 recounts in the last 2 elections and no fraud was found. These are the facts, Minnesota and 16 other states have no voter ID laws. Minnesota and 7 other states have same day registration. California and Connecticut are changing to same day registration as of next year. North Dakota is the only state that has no registration and they have never had a problem. These states tend to have a better voter turnout by as much as 7 to 10 percent.
As for ex-felons voting in mass numbers, that doesn’t happen either, and they don’t loose their right to vote permanently. After serving their prison term, parole and probation they get their right to vote back.
The new amendment would lead to provisional ballots which changes a one day voting process to a 2 day voting process by requiring a person to return with additional documents to prove they can vote. The problem with this is, on election day your employer has to give you time off with pay to vote. After election day there is no protection, you are on your own. Also between 25 and 50 percent of provisional ballots are thrown out due to the voter not getting the time off to go back to verify their vote.
It also would end vouching for voters without proof of residence or a photo Id. There was a case in Stillwater, where a soldier after returning from a 12 month deployment in Iraq was denied the right to vote since his military ID did not have an address on it. A next door neighbor went with him to vouch for him and he was able to vote. I also have vouched for two young men that had just turned 18 a few days prior to the election of 2004. I have known them since they were 8 years old from Cub Scouts and later from Boy Scouts, because of vouching they were able to vote for the first time. What could be more Minnesota nice than that, a sense of community, neighbor helping neighbor.
This amendment change doesn’t address the problem of fake photo ID’s which can be made so well that it takes an expert to tell the difference. If this was such a good idea, both sides of the legislature would have made it a better law, and the governor would have signed it.
This change to the Minnesota constitution will create more problems than it solves.
Many groups are against this change, like ARRP, The Minnesota League of Women Voters, The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota and The Minnesota Council of Churches to name a few.
It is estimated that between 200,000 and 700,000 people would have a harder time to be able to cast a legitimate ballot if this was passed. I urge you to vote no on election day to defeat this poorly written and poorly thought out ballot question to change the Minnesota Constitution. Thank you. —Ken Turner, Elk River