To the editor:
Minnesota has a proud history of clean elections and a system that encourages voting. The photo ID amendment doesn't directly affect we privileged people who have a valid driver's license or other government sanctioned photo ID, however if this amendment passes, a significant number (more than 200,000 Minnesotans) would not be able to vote.
Recently I saw a friend's mother living at the Minneota Manor Nursing Home who just celebrated her 94th birthday. If the amendment passes she would be denied access to voting. The public is told that she would "simply" need to do a provisional vote which would give her time to obtain the necessary government ID. That requires a birth certificate and because her married name does not match the birth certificate, a marriage certificate is required.
Unfortunately traveling back to South Dakota where she was married is difficult because it is too painful to ride in a car. Even with that information collected she would need to bring the documents into the courthouse and get her picture taken, another painful trip. This is just one example.
Many young people in college, soldiers in Afghanistan and disabled will have voting access compromised. When fewer people vote it makes it easier for powerful special interests to game our system of government. The amendment calls for a whole new costly election system that is poorly designed.
If this issue is of no concern to you, I ask that you think about those American citizens who want to vote but would be restricted.
The amendment says getting the photo is free. Is it free when people are excluded because they are unable to get the additional documents?
Such an amendment has a devastating cost to democracy. This type of amendment has no place in the Minnesota Constitution.