This is a guest post by Vic Rosenthal, Executive Director of Jewish Community Action.
In November, Minnesotans will vote on a constitutional amendment that would require a narrow form of government photo ID to vote. This amendment would be one of the most restrictive in the country. “Photo ID” would make it hard or impossible for over 700,000 Minnesotans to vote. It affects all of us.
Minnesota has one of the cleanest and best election systems in the country. This amendment would radically restructure a system that works, ending mail-in absentee voting and same-day registration as we know it. This is not simply an issue of “Photo ID.” This is a about our right to vote, at a time when we should be making sure that every Minnesotan’s voice is heard. Minnesota’s Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, has come out firmly against this amendment. The language in the amendment is vague enough that it will require action by the State Legislature in 2013 to determine exactly how to implement this new requirement and local communities are very concerned about the cost of the complying with this new amendment.
Jewish Community Action is beginning the work of building our base right now. At a press conference in February, Richard Chase, JCA’s board chair said,
Legislators have real problems to solve, such as rising childhood poverty, foreclosures, and homelessness, not made up problems about voter fraud in a state with a highly successful voting system. The amendment discriminates against the poor and elderly who are the most likely to lack picture IDs with a current address and have difficulties obtaining the documents they need to overcome this barrier to vote.
The constitution should be to protect the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, not to create more disenfranchised. Our state constitution is no place for restricting any rights or anyone’s ability to vote. The constitution is set up to protect this right, not strip it away.
In sum, the voter ID amendment lacks a legitimate purpose, it is fundamentally unjust, and has no rightful place in our voting rules and policies, in our laws and regulations, and especially as an unholy blemish in our Constitution.
Please click here to commit to voting against the Voter ID amendment. More information will be available at our June 3rd event.
We will be working in partnership with a statewide coalition of community organizations to defeat this amendment. Visit Our Vote Our Future to learn more about the Voter ID/ voter suppression amendment and what it would mean for Minnesota. For more information, contact Vic Rosenthal, at (651) 632-2184 or [email protected].