Ellison: Don't Make Voting Harder by Requiring Photo ID

Minnesota's Fifth District Representative opined on Voter ID in Star Tribune.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) wrote an opinion piece in the Star Tribune Wednesday about the effort to require voters to show photo ID at the polling place:

"I went to war for this country, but now I can't vote in this country," said 86-year-old World War II veteran Paul Carroll.

Last week, Mr. Carroll was turned away from his polling place in Ohio because his driver's license had expired in January and his new government-issued Veterans Affairs ID did not include his home address.

Mr. Carroll risked his life to protect our freedoms from the worst evils our world has ever known, but because of a restrictive photo ID law, he could not exercise the very freedoms he fought to protect.

That's just plain wrong.

On March 4, thousands spoke out against restrictive voting laws as they marked the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday—when voting rights organizers were beaten and tear-gassed as they tried to march from Selma, Ala., to the state capitol at Montgomery.

Speaking about the violent struggles many Americans endured to attain the right to vote, my friend and colleague, Congressman John Lewis, who was beaten on that frightful day, rightfully reminds us that "it's important for those that were not even born, not even a dream, to look what happened, know the price that was paid."

Here in Minnesota, a photo ID constitutional amendment is advancing through our state Legislature despite the growing, vocal opposition of Minnesotans from all walks of life.

Just as Mr. Carroll experienced in Ohio, a photo ID amendment in our state would put unnecessary burdens on Minnesotans to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

It would also cost our state millions and drive up local property taxes as cities pay for the new restrictions. This is at a time when thousands are still out of work.

What would photo ID really mean for Minnesotans? Let me put it into perspective.

The number of people affected by this amendment would fill Target Field over 17 times. That includes 215,000 registered voters who don't have a Minnesota driver's license or ID card with a current address on it as well as 500,000 Minnesotans who use same-day voter registration, which would end as we know it.

From its founding, America has always moved in the direction of greater inclusion when it comes to voting rights. Photo ID goes against the very freedoms for which people like Paul Carroll and John Lewis risked their lives.

Our country has gained far too much to turn back and make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans to vote.

One vote denied would be one too many. And that's a stain on Minnesota that no state legislator should support.


Kaiser Soze April 06, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Dave, you're implying only those who support Democrats cheat; that's a false position to take.
Kevin O'Donovan April 06, 2012 at 03:01 AM
An NBC local affiliate showed approximately one hundred non-citizens registered to vote in Lee and Collier counties. People are called to jury duty based on voter registrations. They claimed to not be citizens in order to escape jury duty. The news clips are at Right Scoop .com. Please note that not all of the voter fraud suspects speak English, some not at all!!! Comprende? lol
Brie Shultz April 07, 2012 at 01:26 AM
How will Voter ID be paid for? You're looking at expanding government and increasing government cost to provide all of these "free" IDs. If it does pass, the legislature will refuse to increase taxes to pay for it, which is fine, but then my property taxes will have to go up to pay for it. Gross.
Brian Anderson June 02, 2012 at 06:23 PM
What's more disgraceful than one veteran being ill affected because of a failure of govt. bureaucracy is countless people taking advantage of the very system that his fellow service men and women died to protect and promote. The problem in that case is the govt. bureaucracy, not the ID requirement. And what's this deal with costing the govt. millions of tax dollars? Do that many people really not have any form of identification? If that's true, first off, since when did democrats ever care about spending money. We can go in debt all we want and now something they don't like and all of a sudden their concerend about the tax payers? What's the deal with that? Going back to the ID thing, if it really will cost millions and dems really care, then how bout we cut spending on numerous entitlement programs and use the money to provide identification.
Mike Marr October 24, 2012 at 01:20 AM
AMENDMENT 2 PHOTO IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?" I not here to tell you what to do - but I urge you to actually read the proposed amendment. Please also be mindful of the fact that only one other state, Mississippi, has changed its constitution to require voter ID. Full text of proposed amendment, House File 2738, can be found here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H2738.3.html&session=ls87


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