Letter: Photo ID law would be burdensomeLegislation to ask voters this fall to put a photo ID requirement in Minnesota’s Constitution appears headed for the Minnesota Senate floor. Amending the Constitution is a serious matter, and all legislators need to examine the photo ID proposal closely.
By: Buff Hennessey, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Legislation to ask voters this fall to put a photo ID requirement in Minnesota’s Constitution appears headed for the Minnesota Senate floor. Amending the Constitution is a serious matter, and all legislators need to examine the photo ID proposal closely. It raises many unanswered questions and could create real barriers to voting.
What kind of photo ID would be acceptable? The proposed amendment doesn’t specify, and its proponents want to leave the details up to future legislators. If last year’s legislation on photo ID had become law, an estimated 11 percent of Minnesotans wouldn’t have the proper ID to vote, according the League of Women Voters Minnesota. This would mean that at least 27,000 Minnesotans with disabilities ages 18-64 would not have the correct ID.
The proposed amendment said the state will pay for the IDs. But it doesn’t say how to cover other costs.
If you need a birth certificate to prove your identity to get the state-issued ID, you will have to pay $26 in Minnesota if you don’t already have a copy. Also, what if the agency issuing IDs is miles away from you, and you don’t drive or have easy access to transportation?
The Arc Southeastern Minnesota is an agency that protects the rights of people with developmental disabilities in Goodhue and other southeast Minnesota counties. We don’t want to see unnecessary hurdles like these placed in front of our citizens to keep them from exercising their fundamental right to have a say in whom their leaders will be.
State Sen. John Howe said in a recent radio interview that he and other legislators want to try and address any problems with our elections systems and processes through legislation, not through an amendment. I agree that legislation would be the proper course.
I also urge him to reject solutions like photo ID, which will jeopardize the legal rights of Minnesotans with disabilities.