If voting yes on voter ID and the marriage amendment is “common sense,” then it’s time for Minnesota to be uncommon
“It’s common sense,” declare billboards encouraging Minnesotans to support voter ID in the upcoming election. Presumably supporters of the marriage amendment also regard it as “common sense” to define marriage as being “solely between one man and one woman.”
From a political standpoint, I can understand why supporters of voter ID are using the “common sense” line. It resonates with many Minnesotans’ impression of themselves as being responsible, down-to-earth citizens. With its explicit appeal to the common denominator, though, the “common sense” logic is alarmingly similar to the kind of logic that might have been employed to defend previous American injustices.
“Of course women aren’t suitable for voting or holding public office. Their realm is the home! It’s just common sense.”
“Naturally one must be able to read and write if one is to be informed enough to vote. That’s simply common sense!”
“There’s nothing wrong with separate but equal schooling—it’s equal, right? Of course it’s best to keep people of different races separate when it comes to education; that’s plain common sense.”
You know who was uncommon? Harriet Tubman. Susan B. Anthony. Martin Luther King. Harvey Milk.
There are some proudly uncommon names in Minnesota history too.
It was uncommon for Roy Wilkins to lead the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People through the hardest days of the Civil Rights Movement.
It was uncommon for Eugene McCarthy to stand up to President Johnson and declare the Vietnam War an atrocity that needed to end.
It was uncommon for Hubert Humphrey to take the podium at the 1948 Democratic National Convention and make a passionate speech insuring that his party would take a stand in favor of civil rights.
“To those who say,” Humphrey declared, “that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, I say to them we are 172 years late! To those who say, this civil rights program is an infringement on states’ rights, I say this: the time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights!”
If it was late then, it’s far later now. If it’s now “common sense” to turn back the clock and disenfranchise a group of disproportionately poor, minority voters in the name of solving a fictional problem, if it’s now “common sense” to amend our state constitution to reinforce a discriminatory law that’s already in effect, then the time has come for Minnesotans to remember the lessons of our proudly progressive legacy and to be uncommon once again.
- Jay Gabler
"In truth this is not about voter ID but ‘electorate cleansing.’ The effort is insidious, implicit, ubiquitous and amorphous. A serious probe of the depths of the well-orchestrated campaign exposes Minnesota as more of a pawn than a player. Showing an ID at the polls is not much of a bother for the have’s—until we see it as the tip of an iceberg that shuns the sunshine of an open process."
Mary Treacy, “Erosion of voters’ rights—a slowly rising tsunami”
Lawsuit claims that Photo ID Amendment language is misleading
Here are what is misleading:
- The ballot language says all voters would be required to present valid IDs to be able to vote, but not all voters would be required. For example, absentee voters would not be required to present valid IDs.
- The ballot language says that the state would provide free IDs to all eligible voters when the law would only provide IDs to people who don’t already have government issued IDs.
- The ballot language only talks about Photo ID being required when the bill would actually institute provisional balloting.
Here is what the ballot language omits:
- Fails to disclose that it would institute provisional balloting. The next legislature would have to set it up.
- Fails to disclose that only government-issued IDs are valid.
- Fails to disclose that it would end same-day registration.
"A constitutional requirement that ‘all voters must be subjected to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification’ places barriers to voting on our seniors who no longer drive, our soldiers who vote overseas, and our students who attend colleges and universities away from home. It will make voting much harder for thousands of other eligible voters, who will find it difficult or impossible to attain government-issued photo identifications in order to prove their identities. Verifying eligibility will negatively affect any voter who has utilized same day registration (over 500,000 in a presidential year), absentee voters (195,000), Military and overseas voters (11,500), and our mail balloting voters (45,000). Virtually no class of voter is left unscathed by these extreme alterations in our citizens’ access to their elections."
Gov. Mark Dayton, symbolically vetoing Minnesota’s proposed Voter ID amendment.
The specifics of Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington involved strip searches of a man arrested for an unpaid traffic fine. The odds someone arrested for a traffic fine is planning to sneak anything into jail seems vanishingly small, but is it absolutely impossible such a person would not have hidden something in a body cavity? No. Might never happen, but could. So the thinking is it’s OK to remove any risk, even at the cost of strip searching people arrested for any petty offense. The thinking seems to be that removing a risk, however small, justifies any problems caused thereby.
Sound at all like voter ID?
OPINION | Protect your right to vote: Proposed photo ID amendment is a woman’s issue
The photo ID amendment (HF2738), which at press time is pending in the Minnesota Legislature and may be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot, would require a government-issued photo ID with a current address. The implications for Election Day registration, vouching and absentee ballot issues are unknown. The League of Women Voters believes that the impact of the photo ID issue disproportionately affects women in a negative way.
Who will be affected and how?
- Elderly women—Women are the majority of the elder population. Some have never had a driver’s license and many who no longer drive do not have a current license. In order to get a “free” voter photo ID, a woman would need to travel to a Vehicle Services office—a problem for those with disability issues and limited transportation. She would have to bring a certified copy of her birth certificate, and if her name has changed, a copy of her marriage certificate—at a possible financial expense.
- Women in emergency shelters—Women escaping domestic violence, relocating because of divorce or struggling to provide for their families because of the loss of their home would all be unable to vote because they would not have a photo ID with a current address. Often voting is one of the few things these women can do to feel like a valued citizen in our democracy.
- Young women—Those attending school and relocating for jobs and internships often do not change their driver’s license to reflect their dormitory or student housing until they are settled permanently. Student IDs are not considered a valid photo ID under the proposed legislation.
- Women in the military—Military IDs were not considered a valid photo ID under the legislation proposed in 2011. Often women who have served our country suffer from physical and emotional barriers upon their return and don’t have IDs showing their current address. There are also many unanswered questions surrounding absentee ballots for those serving abroad or somewhere else in the country.
- Women with disabilities—In addition to the challenges mentioned above, these women would have to coordinate with their personal care attendant, schedule transportation and incur expenses for documentation.
Brave women fought for years for the right to vote and many never had the opportunity to exercise that right! Honor their memory and take an active role in our democracy to ensure that all people have equal and open access to voting. Voting is a right, not a privilege.
- Sue Hnastchenko
"We will have very little choice but to eliminate same-day voter registration as a result of this legislation."
Sen. Patricia Torres Ray on the Voter ID legislation that has passed the Minnesota Senate; if the Senate and the House can iron out their differences, amending the Minnesota constitution to require Voter ID will be on the ballot in November.
- 18 percent of elderly citizens do not have government-issued photo ID.
- 15 percent of people earning less than $35,000 a year do not have photo ID.
- 18 percent of citizens 18-24 years old do not have a government-issued photo ID with their current name and address.
- 10 percent of voters with disabilities do not have a photo ID.
- 25 percent of voting-age African American citizens do not have a current, government-issued photo ID.
Are the “unintended consequences” of Voter ID laws really that unintended?
"Approximately 11% of the voting population does not carry a photo ID that meets these rigid requirements. The percentage is higher among certain groups: the elderly (18%), younger adults (18%), minorities (25% of African-Americans) and people who are low-income (15%)."
The Minnesota League of Women Voters, arguing that the GOP’s proposed Voter ID law should not be passed. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has proposed an alternative. Can it pass?
Are Minnesota Majority’s pro-Voter-ID ads racist? Blogger Eric Pusey says yes.