Commentary: What ballot question says and what it meansThe proposed voter ID amendment states "All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic identification before receiving a ballot."
By: Clare Larkin and Pat Tieskoetter, The Republican Eagle
The proposed voter ID amendment states "All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic identification before receiving a ballot."
This means when you vote on the ballot question you will not know what kinds of ID will be valid. That would be determined by the 2013 Legislature, if the amendment passes.
"The state must issue photographic identification at no charge to an eligible voter who does not have a form of identification meeting the requirements of this section."
Taxpayers will pay for the required IDs. Would-be voters will pay for the documents they need to apply for the voter ID. They need to take those documents to a Department of Motor Vehicle office during business hours to finish the application. Time and transportation are the citizen's expense.
"A voter unable to present government-issued photographic identification must be permitted to submit a provisional ballot."
The amendment would create a new system of provisional voting in Minnesota. What does provisional voting mean? It's never been done in Minnesota. Costs for this provisional balloting will fall on local governments.
"A provisional ballot must only be counted if the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by law.”
If would-be voters have cast a provisional ballot, they will have five to 10 days to get their valid ID to the local elections office to prove that the ballot should be counted. In other states (with less restrictive ID laws), up to 80% of provisional ballots are not counted.
"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."
There can be no exemptions, even for specific kinds of absentee voters.
Citizens for Election Integrity has researched photo ID laws in other states and found that all provide exemptions for certain categories of voters. Minnesota's proposed amendment would not allow exemptions for any voters.
For instance, persons who have religious objections to being photographed will not be allowed to vote. Other states allow residents of a nursing home facility, for instance, to vote at that facility if it is designated as a polling place, without the required voter ID. Minnesota allows no exemptions.
Some other facts to consider:
Approximately 11 percent of the population does not have a current government-issued photo ID bearing their current address. In certain groups, a greater percentage of people is without a valid ID. This includes the elderly, disabled, younger adults, minorities and people who are low-income.
Minnesota is recognized nationally for the integrity of its election system, which was put to the test in two high-profile, state-wide recount elections in the last four years. Our election system makes it easy for a citizen to register and vote, and almost impossible to cheat.
If Minnesota requires a valid ID to cast a vote, many people who haven’t heard, or who have procrastinated, every year, will fill the halls of the county offices and motor vehicle offices at the last minute, or not vote. Not a good idea, but is this the punishment we want to use for them? To disenfranchise them?
People should be welcomed to the voting booth.
Is this the way to get people out to vote? Do we really want only a certain segment of the population to vote?
The League of Women Voters is adamant about protecting the rights of every citizen to vote. We know our history. We know what it means to fight for the right to vote. And we want all citizens to exercise that right.