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August 29, 2012
Between the Lines
Voter ID amendment
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- This fall there will be two constitutional amendments on the election ballots. One is to define marriage, and the other is to require Voter ID.
I really donít want to talk much about the marriage amendment, but I do want to talk about the Voter ID amendment.
But first I want to talk about how these amendments came about. Both amendments derived totally in a partisan fashion. Both amendments were introduced and supported solely by the majority GOP legislators, and both amendments were opposed by the DFL minority.
Hmm . . . it seems to me that something as important as changing our states constitution should have at least some bi-partisan support. However, that is not the case. It seems odd that a gubernatorial veto can only be over ridden with a two thirds vote of both houses. But for something as important as a constitutional amendment it takes only a simple majority of both houses.
On the surface it seems the Voter ID amendment would be a good thing. But not so fast ó there are a lot of unintended consequences of such a law. The law would cost tax payers millions of dollars in additional costs and would prevent very little voter fraud.
This to me seems like a pure political ploy by the GOP to limit voting in certain demographic areas. I presume they feel that the majority of blacks, disabled, age 18-24, low income, and seniors (who tend to have the highest lack of photo IDís) will vote with the DFL. It also is obvious why the DFL opposes this amendment.
Aside from the politics of the issue, there are some very strong reasons not to pass the voter ID amendment.
Disenfranchising up to half a million voters would be number one on the list.
According to the League of Rural Voters, between 2000 and 2010 there were 649 million votes cast in general elections.
There were 47,000 UFO sightings (I thought there would have been more).
441 Americans were killed by lightning (again I thought there would have been more).
But only 13 credible cases of voter impersonation in the entire country! (Whereís the problem?)
I donít know if the study included cases of voter fraud, but this amendment will not avoid that issue, as the ID will only say you are who you say you are.
Talking with a local election judge, there already are rules in place to qualify for voting. Such as: someone vouching for another voter, example - if a person recently moved and not yet had their address changed; or having a couple months of utility bills.
What about college students, many do not upgrade their address status.
Also it would put a burden on those having to get IDís that donít currently have one. The ID will be provided by the state, however getting the proper credentials needed will be at the expense of the voter. In some cases that could amount to over $100. Lets not forget the majority of those needing to do this are among the poorest people in the state.
Small remote rural counties will face the biggest burden, with some counties estimating cost of implementation to be more than $730,000. Thatís a huge amount for a county of 3,000 population.
The League of Rural Voters has sent out a fact guide in the mail, however it was only sent to media outlets. I would urge anyone who wants more information to go to GREATERMNCOUNTS.ORG for complete information.
I seldom make political recommendations, but in this case I highly recommend you to vote no on the Voter ID amendment. It is a huge financial boon doggle that will not do anything except cost a ton of money to the tax payers. I kinda thought the GOP was against raising taxes.
Have a great week and do good!
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