Opinion pieces question amendment
In amendment author Scott Newman's district, yet another respected editor calls the Hutchinson lawer out. In the Litchfield Independent Review, former editor and publisher Stan Roeser writes in Newman’s Voter ID solution in search of a problem:
My take on this amendment is that here we have a classic example of a solution looking for a problem.
Incidentally, while Senator Newman has contributed markedly to the divisiveness in state politics, which stifles good legislation through his constant castigation of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, his area colleague in the legislature, Representative Dean Urdahl, as he matures in office, seems to be drifting away from divisive partisanship. While they are not exactly political bedfellows, Urdahl and Ritchie have developed a strong friendship while serving as co-chairs of the committee in charge of the state’s official observance of the l50th anniversary of both the Civil War and the Indian Uprising.
In a recent news release, Senator Newman criticized the Hutchinson and Glencoe papers for their less that enthusiastic editorials of his pet project, the voted ID amendment. He urged citizens to “get the facts” on the issue.
Now it struck me that one of the ways Senator Newman himself could get the facts on the impact and implementation of the amendment would be from the people in the trenches at voting time — the auditors in the three counties he represents.
These county auditors have conducted recent elections at the county, state and national levels flawlessly.
I called Meeker County Auditor Barb Loch. She has not heard a word from Senator Newman relative to the ID amendment.
I called Wright County Auditor Bob Hivala. He had not heard a word from Senator Newman on the amendment.
I also called McLeod County Auditor Cindy Schultz. She had not heard a word from Senator Newman relative to the amendment.
The only facts Senator Newman wants citizens to get about the ID amendment it seems are those of his own making.
Read the entire piece in Litchfield's paper. Across the state, Fillmore County Journal Karen Reisner writes in Voter ID, anticipated consequences for local government should it pass:
When you cast your ballot in just a few short weeks, you will be asked to vote Yes or No on the proposed voter ID amendment. On the face of it this seems like it is reasonable for voters to show a photo ID. However, there are many who believe its implementation will be expensive and make voting cumbersome for some who don’t have an acceptable photo ID. Obtaining an ID will impose transportation issues, especially for the elderly. There are are many unknowns, because the enabling or supporting legislation has not been written and won’t be until the 2013 legislative session, if the amendment passes. What photo IDs will be accepted as a valid ID has not been clearly established, or at least there is disagreement among supporters of the amendment and those against it. However, the language in the amendment says “valid government-issued photographic identification.” . . .
Reisner's column is a long but thoughtful analysis of the consequences of passage; go check it out.
Down in Marshall, the Independent reports in Advocate for the disabled says voter ID would create barriers:
Voter ID has become a love-it-or-leave-it issue in Minnesota. And a political one, too.Read the rest at the Marshall Independent.
Most Republicans say it would address voter fraud issues in the state. Democrats say there are no voter fraud issues, that this is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
Then there are the groups in-between - organizations like the Arc of Minnesota that believes stricter voting requirements, as proposed in a Constitutional amendment, will deal a significant blow to qualified voters who are disabled.
"We're very concerned this amendment will create barriers for them to vote," said The Arc of Minnesota Communications Director Mike Gude. "We've estimated there are 27,000 people with disabilities who will not have the proper ID to vote if the amendment passes as is."
The Arc of Minnesota is a private, non-profit group that works to protect the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Gude said the Arc's stance has nothing to do with politics.
"It doesn't matter who you support as far as political parties go, our concern is people with disabilities having the access to the voting booth," Gude said. "Whether they vote Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, that's their decision, and they should be able to have as easy access to the ballot as anyone. It's not a partisan issue, it's a voter's rights issue." . . .
In Worthington, Harvey Van Top of Edgerton wrote in No vote is urged on Voter ID amendment:
In the Duluth News Tribune, Thomas J. Heinonen writes in Voter ID could lead to more requirements:
. . .If this amendment passes, it will be up to the Minnesota state legislators to decide how to answer these questions. This will take up valuable Legislature time that would be much better spent addressing other Minnesota issues.
I am certainly not in favor of voter fraud, but we have virtually no evidence of voter fraud in Minnesota. Our voter system has come under severe scrutiny with two high-profile recounts in the last two elections. The recounts have overwhelmingly pointed to a clean and fraud-free election system.
The Voter ID amendment is an attempt to solve a problem that does not exist. Vote “no” to save our legislators valuable time. Vote “no” to save taxpayer money. Vote “no” to protect the voting right of all our registered voters in the state of Minnesota.
. . .Fundamentalist Christians need to be careful before voting on the voter ID law. You could be laying the groundwork for the mark of the beast: a state-required ID to participate in state and commerce.
In the debates, those voters with various exceptions were completely and arrogantly ignored. The ID may be free to voters while costing taxpayers greatly, but those far away or shut-in may not be able to obtain the birth certificates, etc., necessary to get the IDs. So have some empathy for your neighbors.
If one longtime voter or newbie loses their franchise, our democracy is over. This would negate all that has been fought for, turning America into a show-me-your-papers state. . . .
In the Alexandria Echo Press, Kathleen Pohlig writes in Examine facts; understand implications:
Minnesota is recognized nationally for the integrity of its election system. In two recent statewide recounts, the system was closely scrutinized by lawyers and other observers from both major parties. They found no problems; they did find that Minnesota’s election system is remarkably sound and transparent.
There will be an informational forum on the Voter ID issue at the Alexandria Technical and Community College auditorium at 5 p.m. on November 1. The event is sponsored by the League of Women voters and includes experts from AARP, Citizens for Voter Integrity and a representative from the Douglas County auditor’s office, who can answer your questions.
Examine the facts, understand the implications and make an informed decision. I urge you to vote No on Voter ID on November 6.
In another letter in the Echo Press, Linda Capistrant writes in A poorly defined amendment:
Truth: Minnesota is number-one in voter participation (Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs).
Lie: Minnesota is number-one in voter fraud (“How Much Voter Fraud is There?” Slate.com, News21 - funded by Carnegie-Knight Initiative).
I have always been proud that in Minnesota, the polls are voter-friendly. Please prevent a poorly defined, unnecessary, cumbersome, partisan, bureaucratic, and expensive amendment from being added to the Minnesota Constitution . . .
And yet another Echo Press letter, Respect our Constitution, from Ken Howell, who writes:
The proposed change in our Minnesota Constitution requiring a government issued picture ID for voting is certain to create difficulties for some to exercise the most fundamental right as a citizen. Requiring a government issued picture ID with the correct current address will especially impact seniors, college students and the poor. . . .
. . .Although all objective election researchers have agreed that the last two closely contested elections in Minnesota showed no evidence of voter fraud, all accept that we can and should make our voting process as good as possible. This should be done by legislation, not by amending the Constitution. Legislation allows future revisions that amendments do not (except by a costly repeal effort), and includes participation by all three branches of state government.
Whether or not you agree that improvements are needed in our election system, vote No to protect the integrity of our Constitution.
Roger Vettleson writes the editors of the East Otter Tail Focus in ID would be money wasted:
If, as County Auditor Wayne Stein and others throughout the state have said, voter fraud is nearly nonexistent, why are we even considering a constitutional amendment to require voters to show government issued IDs?
It would be very a costly – in Otter Tail County up to $600,000 – solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. I’d call that REALLY wasteful government spending.
Now, if your goal is to keep some people from voting who are otherwise eligible, or if you do like wasteful government spending, maybe you should consider voting for the amendment.
But if you think that the amendment is a solution to a nonexistent problem that requires wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars to implement, you might consider a ‘no’ vote.
Waseca's Les Tlougan asks a series of questions in What don't we know about Minnesota's Voter ID amendment? and concludes that "No" is the better vote. Read it at the Waseca County News. Up in St . Cloud, Pat Krueger writes in Consider address issue for Voter ID:
. . .People may think that the use of passports, military IDs and student IDs should serve as proof of identity; they have photos. But without the address (not included) they might not be accepted. No more vouching for relatives, friends, or neighbors either, plus absentee voting as we know it would likely come to an end.
So, it seems harmless enough, but Minnesotans may come to regret passage of a potentially restrictive addition to our constitution – something that will not be easy to fix.
Anyone wanting to commit voter fraud will have ways to get around this requirement. It will be honest, eligible voters who lose their right.
Down in Winona, Mary Mueller of Utica tells the readers of the Daily News in Don’t restrict voting rights:
There has been much discussion on the proposed voter ID amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution. Recently former U.S. Congressman Tim Penny talked about the amendment.
One of Tim’s comments that really resonated with me regarded the U.S. Constitution which was written to guarantee people’s rights, not to take away or diminish rights. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been created over the years to give more rights to more U.S. citizens. . . .
. . The lingo that we need photo IDs for other things such as driving, so why not voting, is a bunch of malarkey. Voting is a constitutional right, driving isn’t. The voter ID amendment has absolutely nothing to do with voter fraud. It’s the ploy of one political party for its own political gain. I don’t care if you are an Independent, Republican, Democrat, Liberal or not affiliated with any political party, the voter ID amendment is just plain morally, ethically and “Minnesota” wrong. I am voting “no” to do my small part in saving the current constitutional right to vote and to continue our great legacy of high legal voter turnout in Minnesota.
Read the entire letter in the Daily News.
Photos: Senator Scott Newman, above. Mary Kiffmeyer, author of the House version of the amendment, conducts her War on Voters, below.More rural opinion pages heap scorn on vague, time-wasting voter restriction amendment Can Greater Minnesota afford the unfunded mandate that is the photo ID amendment?