LETTER: There is more to voter ID than you think
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 5:03 AM
The November ballot reads, "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification (ID) to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013? Yes or No."
The specific change to Article VII, Section 1 of the constitution reads, "All voters including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted."
Voting yes on the amendment will initiate major changes in Minnesota's voting process and goes far beyond requiring a photo ID to vote. The amendment is an unfunded mandate.
A University of Minnesota study found that almost 90 percent of the revenue needed to implement the amendment will come from local governments and will result in increased property taxes. In the first year costs are projected to be $70 million. Expenses include a computerized voting system, maintenance and replacement of equipment, pay for additional election judges, a provisional balloting system, public education, and free photo IDs for voters.
More than 500,000 Minnesotans use the same-day voter registration system and more than half of all Minnesotans have used it in their voting history. Minnesota has one of the highest voter turnout rates in the country due to the same-day system. The provisional balloting system will end the same-day voter registration.
Our right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. No qualified citizen should be disenfranchised from voting because a photo ID is not easily obtainable or available. Ballots are cast via mail by soldiers away from home, by native Americans living on Indian land, by citizens living in isolated communities, by residents in nursing homes, and by the disabled who can't leave their homes or don't drive. In the Amish community photographs in which they can be recognized violate their civil and religious rights.
Voter fraud is a stated purpose for the Voter ID Amendment. Should a permanent amendment to our constitution be adopted when the evidence of voter fraud due to unverifiable same-day registration in 2008 was 0.221 percent?