Media  Coverage    

February  Week  of  Action:   Our  Voices  Count!  

     
 

Minnesotans  for  a  Fair  Economy  
www.mnfaireconomy.org  

Day  One:  Ellison  Press  Conference    

U.S  Representative  Keith  Ellison  was  joined  by  a  number  of  constituents  opposed  to  the   photo  ID  amendment  for  a  press  conference  at  the  State  Capitol.    

 

 

 

 

             2/6/12  

"The  biggest  problem  that  we  have  is  sort  of  easy  assumption  that  'Oh  everyone  has  an  ID,  don't   they?'  That's  the  problem  —  because  we've  got  to  sensitize  the  population  about  the  needs  of   the  one,  two,  three  percent  of  the  population  that  doesn't  have  an  ID  but  that  very  same  person   may  be  your  mother  or  your  grandmother."  –  U.S.  Rep.  Keith  Ellison  

Star  Tribune  |  Ellison  leads  opposition  to  voter  photo  ID  amendment   Minnesota  Public  Radio  |  Rep.  Ellison  speaks  against  Voter  ID  amendment   WCCO  TV  |  Minnesota  Prepares  For  Voter  ID  Battle   The  Uptake  |  Rep  Ellison,  Minnesotans  Speak  Out  Against  Voter  Photo  ID      

 

Ellison  leads  opposition  to  voter  photo  ID  amendment  
Jim  Ragsdale  |  Star  Tribune    
U.S.  Rep.  Keith  Ellison,  D-­‐Minn.,  joined  by  representatives  of  student,  senior  and  disabled  voters,   called  on  Minnesota  Democrats  to  unify  in  opposition  to  a  photo  ID  requirement  for  voting.    

He  said  that  while  most  Minnesotans  carry  an  approved,  government-­‐issued  photo  ID,  "that's  not   true  of  everybody.  And  this  democracy  has  got  to  work  for  everybody."  

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The  third-­‐term  representative  from  Minneapolis  is  circulating  a  resolution  for  DFL  precinct   caucuses  Tuesday  night  that  states  DFLers  "oppose  an  amendment  in  the  Minnesota  Constitution  to   require  an  otherwise  eligible  voter  to  present  a  government-­‐issued  photo  identification  as  a   precondition  to  casting  a  vote  in  a  Minnesota  election.''   Republicans,  who  control  the  Legislature,  have  introduced  photo  ID  as  a   constitutional  amendment  and  believe  they  have  the  votes  to  put  it  on  the   November  general  election  ballot.  If  approved  by  voters  -­‐-­‐  and  polls  show   strong  support  -­‐-­‐  it  would  likely  go  into  effect  in  the  2014  general  election.  

Opponents  like  Ellison  say  there  is  no  proof  that  there  is  a  problem  now  that  would  be  solved  by   photo  IDs.  They  view  it  as  an  attempt  by  Republicans  to  suppress  the  voice  of  elderly,  disabled  and   poor  voters  who  are  most  likely  not  to  have  a  current-­‐address  ID.   "Everybody  does  not  have  an  ID,''  Ellison  said.  "But  people  who  don't  have  them  are  as  fully   American  as  anyone."  

Republicans  say  that  requiring  voters  to  show  a  photo  ID  that  lists  the   voter's  current  address  in  the  precinct  will  discourage  fraud  at  the  polls  and   promote  confidence  in  the  voting  system.  They  point  out  that  photo  IDs  are   required  for  even  the  most  mundane  transactions  and  that  free  IDs  can  be   made  available  to  those  who  need  them.  

Speaking  for  disabled  Minnesotans  at  Ellison's  Capitol  news  conference,  Mai  Thor  said  people  with   disabilities  are  often  poor  and  more  likely  than  others  to  lack  an  up-­‐to-­‐date  ID.  "Our  vote  would   essentially  be  suppressed,"  she  said.  Cory  Baird,  a  student  at  the  University  of  St.  Thomas,  said  many   students  will  be  excluded,  particularly  those  from  other  states.   Sadik  Warfa  of  Minneapolis,  a  U.S.  citizen  who  came  to  the  country  from  his  native  Somalia,  said   many  eligible  immigrants  will  be  scared  off  by  the  idea  of  getting  a  government-­‐issued  ID  card  to   vote.  They  will  be  reminded  of  the  "governments  back  home"  they  came  to  the  United  States  to   escape.  Warfa  said  immigrants  respect  the  Minnesota  voting  system.  "We  have  one  of  the  most   flexible  voting  systems  in  the  nation,''  he  said.   Jim  Ragsdale  •  651-­‐925-­‐5042  

John  Martin  of  St.  Louis  Park,  who  is  active  in  the  DFL's  senior  caucus,  said  the  photo  ID  requirement   would  turn  "the  right  to  vote  into  a  privilege.''  

 
   

Rep.  Ellison  speaks  against  Voter  ID  amendment  
Tom  Scheck  |  Minnesota  Public  Radio  
St.  Paul,  Minn.  —  Opponents  of  a  proposed  constitutional  amendment  that  would  require  voters  to   show  photo  identification  at  polls  want  to  make  it  an  issue  at  Tuesday's  precinct  caucuses.    

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Minority  groups,  college  students,  senior  citizens  and  disabled  people  could  all  be  disenfranchised  if   the  so-­‐called  voter  ID  requirement  is  added  to  the  constitution,  said  Rep.  Keith  Ellison,  DFL-­‐ Minneapolis,  on  Monday.     "The  biggest  problem  that  we  have  is  sort  of  easy  assumption  that  'Oh   everyone  has  an  ID,  don't  they?'  That's  the  problem  —  because  we've  got   to  sensitize  the  population  about  the  needs  of  the  one,  two,  three  percent   of  the  population  that  doesn't  have  an  ID  but  that  very  same  person  may   be  your  mother  or  your  grandmother."    

Minnesota  Prepares  For  Voter  ID  Battle  
Bill  Hudson  |  WCCO  TV    
ST.  PAUL,  Minn.  (WCCO)  –  Minnesota’s  nearly  three  million  registered  voters  must  sign  a  registry   when  they  go  to  their  polling  place,  but  they  don’t  have  to  produce  photo  identification.  That,   however,  might  change  soon.     Recent  contested  elections  have  given  rise  to  concerns  about  imposter  voters  and  the  potential  for   fraud  at  the  ballot  box.   Kiffmeyer’s  legislation  passed  in  2011,  but  it  was  vetoed  by  Gov.  Mark  Dayton.    

 

Supporters  of  voter  ID  say  it  would  ensure  integrity  in  the  election  system.   GOP  legislative  leaders  are  confident  the  Legislature  will  vote  to  put  the   amendment  proposal  on  the  2012  ballot.    

The  Republican  controlled  legislature  is  currently  pushing  a  measure  that  would  leave  the  question   of  voter  ID  up  to  voters  on  the  November  ballot.   Rep.  Mary  Kiffmeyer,  a  Republican  in  support  of  the  measure  and  who  also  authored  its  legislation,   says  that  deterring  fraud  and  detecting  fraud  at  the  ballot  is  a  reasonable  measure,  according  to  the   courts.    

In  response  to  the  veto,  Republican  backers  of  a  voter  ID  law  requested  that  a  question  be  placed  on   the  fall  ballot  asking  voters  if  the  state  constitution  should  be  amended.   Democratic  Congressman  Keith  Ellison  is  now  getting  into  the  fray,  saying  a  voter  ID  law  will  only   suppress  turnout  and  make  voting  a  privilege,  not  a  right.     “This  is  truly  a  solution  in  search  of  a  problem,”  Ellison  said.      

Ellison  argues  that  even  free,  government-­‐issued  IDs  will  disenfranchise  too  many  voters  who  don’t   have  the  means  to  pay  for  documents  proving  their  citizenship.  

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“The  real  solution  they  are  looking  for  is  to  alter  the  outcome  of  elections  by  excluding  legitimate,   eligible  Minnesota  voters,”  Ellison  said.   Currently,  there  are  eight  states  with  laws  requiring  a  photo  ID  before  voting.  However,  some  of   those  states  still  need  federal  approval.   Wisconsin’s  law,  which  passed  last  year,  just  went  into  effect  this  month.      

Kiffmeyer  counters,  saying  that  in  all  the  cases  where  voter  identification  was  put  to  the  courts,  not   a  single  case  of  disenfranchisement  was  found.    

Rep  Ellison,  Minnesotans  Speak  Out  Against  Voter  Photo  ID  
Michael  McIntee  |  The  Uptake    
Congressman  Keith  Ellison  wants  Minnesotans  to  go  to  their  precinct  caucuses  Tuesday  night  and   demand  that  the  right  to  vote  does  not  carry  the  precondition  of  having  a  government  issued  photo   ID.     Minnesota  Republicans  are  backing  a  constitutional  amendment  that  would  require  a  photo  ID  to   vote.  While  it  sounds  like  a  simple  requirement,  Ellison  says  it  is  a  solution  in  search  of  a  problem   and  is  aimed  at  disenfranchising  thousands  of  eligible  voters.   Representative  Ellison  brought  forth  members  of  population  groups  that  would  be  have  their  votes   surpressed  if  the  amendment  were  to  pass.  One  of  those  was  Mai  Thor,  a  woman  who  was  in  a   wheelchair.  She  said  in  the  past  few  decades  barriers  to  voting  for  the  disabled  had  been  reduced   with  the  passage  of  the  American  with  Disabilities  Act  and  the  Help  America  Vote  act.  

But  Thor  said  that  voter  photo  ID  would  put  up  new  barriers  to  voting  for  the  disabled.  Many   disabled  people,  she  said,  live  in  poverty.  There  are  500,000  disabled  people  in  Minnesota.  About   10%  or  50,000  do  not  have  a  government  issued  photo  ID.  There  are  many  barriers  to  them  getting   an  ID,  including  basic  problems  such  as  no  transportation.   Others  spoke  out  against  the  amendment.        

Representative  Ellison  said  the  American  Legislative  Exchange  Council  (ALEC)  is  behind  the  sudden   push  in  states  to  require  a  photo  ID  to  vote.  He  called  the  push  a  deliberate  strategy  to   disenfranchise  voters  that  oppose  ALEC’s  agenda.   John  Martin  explained  how  photo  ID  affects  seniors  and  people  of  color.  Cory  Baird  talked  about   about  how  photo  ID  affects  students.  Sadik  Warfa  described  about  how  photo  ID  affects  New   Americans.  

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Editorial:  Voter  ID  Law  is  Unnecessary  
Albert  Lea  Tribune  |  February  7,  2012  
The  drive  under  way  at  the  Capitol  to  require  photo  identification  for  voters  is  a   solution  in  search  of  a  problem.  Whether  it  takes  the  form  of  a  constitutional   amendment  or  a  simple  law,  voter  identification  is  a  step  in  the  wrong  direction.   Sure,  voter  identification  supporters  can  point  to  a  handful  of  cases,  but  when   millions  vote  in  every  election  the  number  of  “bad”  votes  is  so  small  that  it  is   inconsequential.  So  where’s  the  problem?   There  isn’t  one.  

We  are  aware  that  polls  have  shown  most  Minnesotans  favor  voter  identification  and,   on  the  surface,  it  makes  some  sense.  Upon  closer  inspection,  however,  it  is  clear  that   the  change  is  not  needed.  Minnesota  has  historically  had  great  voter  turnout  and  very   few  cases  of  fraud  and  none  that  proved  significant.  

But  there  would  be  a  problem  if  we  continued  to  expand  the  list  of  places  and  times   when  Minnesotans  have  to  have  their  identification  on  hand.  It  furthers  an  air  of   mistrust.  And  excessive  requirements  of  that  sort  lead  to  ever-­‐growing  government   oversight  and  expenses.  

The  bottom  line  is  this:  If  there’s  no  significant  evidence  that  a  new  law  would  solve  a   real  problem,  there’s  no  need  for  the  law.       Albert  Lea  Tribune      
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Day  Two:  Religious  Leaders  Speak  Out    

A  group  of  religious  leaders,  coordinated  by  ISAIAH,  Jewish  Community  Action,  the   Stairstep  Foundation,  His  Works  United,  the  Minnesota  State  Baptist  Convention  and   Somali  Action  Alliance  held  a  press  conference  at  the  State  Capitol  announcing  their   opposition  to  the  photo  ID  amendment.  Following  the  press  event,  those  gathered  (more   than  25)  presented  a  letter  signed  by  clergy  and  lay  leaders  to  House  and  Senate  leadership.       “We,  as  people  of  faith  in  the  state  of  Minnesota,  urge  you  not  to  put  a  voter  ID  amendment  on   the  ballot.  People  of  faith  believe  that  all  human  life  is  sacred.    In  virtually  all  faith  traditions,   God   creates   humans   with   dignity   and   value.     God   intends   people   to   participate   in   the   human   community,  and  to  be  able  to  do  so  with  inherent  respect.      We  believe  that  democracy  is  most   complete—and  therefore  most  powerful—when  it  embraces  people  on  the  margins  of  society.     We  believe  that  democracy  at  its  best  engages  participation  from  the  most  diverse  and  gifted   gathering  of  God’s  whole  people.”  –  text  of  letter  presented  to  House  and  Senate  leadership       Star  Tribune  |  Group  of  Religious  Leaders  Urge  Legislators  to  Keep  Voter  ID  Off  Ballot   WCCO  TV  |  Voter  ID  Controversy  Brewing  at  the  Capitol   KSTP  TV  |  Faith  Leaders  Stand  Against  Voter  ID  Amendment   Politics  in  Minnesota  |  Religious  Leaders  Push  Back  on  Voter  ID   MinnPost  |  Keith  Ellison  Unveils  Voter  ID  Opposition  Effort  for  Tonight's  DFL  Caucuses   The  Uptake  |  Religious  Leaders  Jam  Senator’s  Office  on  MN  Voter  Photo  ID          

 

 

 

             2/7/12  

Group  of  Religious  Leaders  Urge  Legislators  to  Keep  Voter  ID   Off  Ballot  
 

Rose  French  |  Star  Tribune    

  Leaders  from  different  faiths  groups  gathered  at  the  Capitol  on  Tuesday  to  voice  their  opposition  to   a  proposed  constitutional  amendment  that  would  require  voters  to  have  a  photo  ID.         Close  to  20  Twin  Cities  area  religious  leaders  delivered  a  letter  to  state  House  and  Senate  leaders,   which  outlines  the  reasons  why  they  believe  such  an  amendment  is  a  bad  idea.         “Effectively,  this  gives  more  influence  to  a  smaller  number  of  wealthy,  privileged  and  primarily   white  voters,”  the  letter  states.     The  proposed  voter  ID  “seeks  to  reduce  the  number  of  people  who  participate  in  our  democracy.   Passage  of  the  proposed  referendum  would  primarily  reduce  voters  of  color,  the  elderly,  students,   poor  and  non-­‐English-­‐speaking  voters,”  according  to  the  letter,  which  was  signed  by  close  to  75   religious  leaders  and  dozens  of  others  involved  in  the  Twin  Cities  faith  community.      

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 “It’s  a  major  step  back,”  said  Richard   Chase,  board  president  for  the  group   Jewish  Community  Action.  “This   amendment  discriminates  against  the   poor  and  elderly.  Making  voting   harder  makes  no  sense.”    Republicans   have  introduced  the  photo  ID  concept   as  a  constitutional  amendment  and   believe  they  have  the  votes  to  put  it  on   the  November  general  election  ballot.   It  would  likely  go  into  effect  in  the  2014  general  election,  if  approved  by  voters.       State  Rep.  Mary  Kiffmeyer,  R-­‐Big  Lake,  and  Sen.  Scott  Newman,  R-­‐Hutchinson,  have  introduced  the   photo  ID  as  a  proposed  constitutional  amendment.  Kiffmeyer  argues  requiring  voters  to  show  a   photo  ID  will  discourage  fraud  at  the  polls.  She  also  believes  elderly  and  other  groups  will  not  be   disenfranchised  with  a  photo  ID  requirement.       Here’s  a  copy  of  the  letter  delivered  to  legislative  leaders:   Dear  Legislative  Leaders:       “It  doesn’t  disallow  anything,”  Kiffmeyer  told  the  Star  Tribune  on  Tuesday.  “What  it  adds  is  a  photo   ID  requirement.  This  is  not  an  undue  burden  to  have  this  requirement.  I  think  we  need  to  add  a   greater  level  of  integrity  to  the  voting  process.  It  will  strengthen  the  election  system  here  in   Minnesota.”       We,  as  people  of  faith  in  the  state  of  Minnesota,  urge  you  not  to  put  a  voter  ID  amendment  on   the  ballot.  People  of  faith  believe  that  all  human  life  is  sacred.  In  virtually  all  faith  traditions,   God  creates  humans  with  dignity  and  value.  God  intends  people  to  participate  in  the  human   community,  and  to  be  able  to  do  so  with  inherent  respect.  We  believe  that  democracy  is  most   complete—and  therefore  most  powerful—when  it  embraces  people  on  the  margins  of   society.  We  believe  that  democracy  at  its  best  engages  participation  from  the  most  diverse   and  gifted  gathering  of  God’s  whole  people.       In  face  of  these  values,  the  proposed  voter  ID  referendum  in  Minnesota  seeks  to  reduce  the   number  of  people  who  participate  in  our  democracy.  Passage  of  the  proposed  referendum   would  primarily  reduce  voters  of  color,  the  elderly,  students,  poor  and  non-­‐English-­‐speaking   voters.  Effectively  this  gives  more  influence  to  a  smaller  number  of  wealthy,  privileged  and   primarily  White  voters.    

Several  faith  leaders  spoke  during  a   news  conference  at  the  Capitol,   expressing  their  disapproval  for  the   proposal.  

Furthermore,  passage  of  the  referendum  would  effectively  eliminate  voting  as  a  right,   making  it  a  privilege  instead.  People  of  faith  recognize  the  proposed  referendum  as  an  attack   on  democracy,  reducing  participation  rather  than  expanding  it.  It  would  also  increase   government  expense  and  power,  requiring  an  expanded  system  to  evaluate  and  process  

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voter  IDs.      

A  deeply  troubling  implication  recognized  by  people  of  faith  is  that  the  proposed  referendum   would  reduce  the  number  of  people  of  color  who  could  vote.  One  of  the  primary  objectives  of   the  civil  rights  campaign  in  the  US  was  voter  registration.  In  its  attack  on  citizens’  right  to   vote,  the  proposed  referendum  seeks  to  increase  “white  power,”  and  would  dangerously   isolate  White  America  from  an  increasingly  diverse  and  gifted  world.  People  of  faith  see  the   proposed  referendum  as  profoundly  cynical  and  backward.        

Additionally,  the  proposed  referendum  would  reduce  the  number  of  poor  people  who  could   vote,  for  it  will  be  people  of  limited  economic  resource,  limited  time  and  limited  mobility  who   will  have  most  difficulty  obtaining  voter  identification  cards.  By  reducing  the  number  of  poor   who  vote,  the  proposed  referendum  seeks  to  increase  the  political  power  and  influence  of  the   wealthiest  and  most  privileged  classes  of  our  society.       It  is  for  these  reasons  that  we  urge  our  legislative  leaders  to  not  put  the  Voter  ID  amendment   on  the  2012  ballot  and  ensure  that  Minnesota  continues  a  proud  legacy  of  high  voter  turnout   and  participation  in  our  democracy.      

Voter  ID  Controversy  Brewing  At  The  Capitol  
Natalie  Kane  |  WCCO  TV    
  ST.  PAUL  (WCCO)  —  It’s  supposed  to  be  an  effort  to  make  sure  voters  really  are  who  they  say  they   are,  on  election  day.  But  now,  an  amendment  to  require  ID  at  the  polls  is   drawing  more  opposition.   Religious  leaders  of  various  denominations  gathered  at  the  State  Capitol   Tuesday  to  deliver  a  letter,  which  opposes  the  proposed  constitutional   amendment  that  would  require  all  voters  to  show  a  valid  photo  ID  in   order  to  vote  on  Election  Day.   Republican  lawmakers  say  this  voter  ID  law  is  necessary  to  prevent   voter  fraud.  

Religious  leaders  made  an  passionate  plea,  saying  this  amendment  would  limit  people’s   constitutional  rights,  rather  than  protect  them.  They  said  voter  fraud  is  simply  a  non-­‐issue.  

 “Put  the  evidence  forward  that  shows  this  is  an  issue,  a  problem,”  Elder  Alfred  Babington-­‐Johnson,   CEO  of  the  Stairstep  Foundation,  said.  “I  think  it’s  non-­‐existent.  There  is  no  voter  fraud  of  any   magnitude  occurring  in  the  state  of  Minnesota.”   The  secretary  of  state  estimates  this  would  prevent  700,000  to  800,000  eligible  voters  from  being   able  to  cast  their  vote,  including  people  like  seniors,  veterans  and  students.   “I  believe  in  a  Minnesota  in  which  all  people  have  a  voice,”  said  Rev.  Paul  Erickson.  “This   constitutional  amendment  to  require  a  photo  ID  would  take  away  the  voice  of  thousands,  if  not    

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hundreds  of  thousands,  of  Minnesotans.  And  that’s  wrong.”  

Eight  other  states  do  have  laws  like  this  in  place,  including  Wisconsin,  which  just  went  into  effect.  

 
 

Faith  Leaders  Stand  Against  Voter  ID  Amendment  
Naomi  Pescovitz  |  KSTP  TV  

  At  several  Republican  locations  for  Minnesota  caucuses  Tuesday  evening,  photo  ID  scanners  will   help  register  people  participating  in  the  caucus.  

Photo  identification  is  not  currently  a  requirement,  but  a  proposed  constitutional  amendment   would  require  voters  to  show  ID.  If  approved  by  the  legislature,  it  would  appear  on  the  November   ballot.  

Religious  Leaders  gathered  at  the  Capitol  Tuesday  morning  to  speak  out  against  the  amendment.   They  delivered  a  letters  to  Representative  Kurt  Zellers'  and  Senator  Scott  Newman's  offices.  The   faith  group  says  the  amendment  would  make  it  more  difficult  for  the  poor,  students,  senior  citizens,   non-­‐English  speaking  and  non-­‐white  voters  to  vote.   Supporters  of  the  amendment  say  it  would  limit  voter  fraud  and  point  out  that  obtaining  an  ID   would  be  free.  

"Not  having  identification  is  not  like  having  your  tonsils  out.  If  you  don't  have  your  ID  today,  you  can   still  get  one  tomorrow.  It's  not  as  challenging  as  re-­‐growing  a  body  part"  said  Dan  McGrath  with   Minnesota  Majority.        

"There  are  prerequisites  to  getting  a  voter  ID  that  some  people  can't  meet,  for  instance,  it  requires  a   birth  certificate  in  most  instances  and  many  people  who  are  from  the  south,  particularly  the  elderly,   don't  even  have  birth  certificates,"  said  Alfred  Babington-­‐Johnson,  CEO  of  the  Stairstep  Foundation.  

Religious  Leaders  Push  Back  on  Voter  ID  
Jake  Grovum  |  Politics  in  Minnesota  

More  than  a  dozen  religious  leaders  packed  a  Capitol  news  conference  Tuesday  and  delivered  a   letter  signed  by  hundreds  more  of  their  counterparts  to  legislative  leaders  as  they  hope  to  keep   Voter  ID  off  the  ballot  this  fall.    

  A  coalition  of  religious  leaders  representing  hundreds  of  organizations  and  thousands   of  parishioners  brought  their  case  against  Voter  ID  to  the  Capitol  Tuesday.  

“We  believe  that  democracy  at  its  best  engages  participation  from  the  most  diverse  and  gifted   gathering  of  God’s  whole  people,”  the  letter  reads.  “The  proposed  voter  ID  referendum  in  Minnesota   seeks  to  reduce  the  number  of  people  who  participate  in  our  democracy.”  

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So  far  this  session,  Republican  leaders  in  the  Legislature  have  made  clear  that  Voter  ID  is  almost   certainly  one  of  a  host  of  constitutional  amendments  that,  if  passed,  will  be  on  the  ballot  this  fall.  

At  the  same  time,  opponents  have  looked  to  ratchet  up  the  pressure  in  the  face  of  Republican   majorities  that  are  expected  to  pass  the  bill.  U.S.  Rep.  Keith  Ellison  spoke  out  against  Voter  ID  this   week  and  TakeAction  Minnesota  will  release  a  report  Wednesday  it  says  will  detail  “outlining   Minnesota-­‐based  financial  interests  behind  efforts  to  secure  a  photo  ID  amendment  on  the  state’s   November  2012  ballot.”   In  the  face  of  Republicans  pushing  forward,  the  religious  leaders  said  on  Tuesday  that  their  efforts   in  the  near-­‐term  will  still  focus  on  stopping  the  bill  before  it  passes  the  Legislature.  They  didn’t   discuss  what  kind  of  campaign  they  might  wage  against  the  bill  if  it  ends  up  on  the  ballot.   A  lengthy  Senate  hearing  late  last  week  included  a  litany  of  opposition  testimony  speaking  against   the  bill,  as  those  hoping  to  defeat  the  measure  turned  out  in  force.  No  vote  was  taken,  but  another   hearing  will  be  held  soon  and  the  bill  is  expected  to  pass.        

Senate  Majority  Leader  Dave  Senjem,  for  instance,  has  said  he  doesn’t  expect  there  to  be  more  than   three  total  on  the  ballot.  Along  with  a  move  to  ban  same-­‐sex  marriage,  he  has  said  Voter  ID  would   undoubtedly  be  the  second  amendment  on  the  ballot.   “Let  us  agree  together  that  this  devilish  enterprise  will  not  succeed  on  our  watch,”  said  Elder  Alfred   Babington-­‐Johnson,  Stairstep  Foundation  CEO  and  a  policy  board  member  at  His  Works  United.  

Keith  Ellison  Unveils  Voter  ID  Opposition  Effort  for  Tonight's   DFL  Caucuses  
James  Nord  |  MinnPost    
  U.S.  Rep.  Keith  Ellison  is  the  latest  public  figure  to  speak  out  against  a  proposed  Minnesota  Voter  ID   constitutional  amendment.   He  introduced  a  number  of  speakers  and  advocates  for  students,  the   disabled,  the  elderly  and  people  of  color  during  a  Capitol  press   conference.  

On  Monday,  the  5th  District  Democratic  congressman  enlisted  the  help  of   ordinary  citizens  who  would  be  most  affected  by  the  proposed   requirement  that  they  present  a  photo  ID  at  the  polls  before  being   allowed  to  vote.  

Republicans  support  the  measure  as  a  solution  to  voter  fraud,  while  DFLers  say  voter  ID  laws  are   aimed  at  disenfranchising  voters,  rather  than  at  stopping  what  they  say  is  non-­‐existent  fraud  in  the   system.    

Ellison  also  unveiled  a  resolution  that  will  be  introduced  at  tonight’s  DFL   precinct  caucuses  that  opposes  the  Voter  ID  constitutional  amendment.   11  

“What  is  the  whole  concept  of  trying  to  push  voter  ID?”  Ellison  asked.  “It  is  about  voter   suppression.”  

Sadik  Warfa,  an  immigrant,  said  that  voter  ID  would  be  a  problem  for  his  community  and  others   who  might  not  have  access  to  the  correct  documentation.   “This  amendment  is  really  a  suppression  of  their  votes,”  Warfa  said.  “You  don’t  have  to  fix   something  that  isn’t  broken.”   Speakers  at  Ellison’s  event  echoed  those  concerns.   Each  speaker  listed  ways  that  Voter  ID  would  hurt  people  in  their  communities:   •  Some  of  the  elderly  don’t  have  birth  certificates  required  to  get  an  ID.   •  Students  move  frequently  and  could  be  from  out  of  state.   •  And  mobility  issues  can  be  a  struggle  for  those  with  disabilities.   •  Transportation  and  documentation  can  be  expensive  and  hard  to  secure.  

Warfa  also  spoke  at  last  week’s  Minnesota  Senate  hearing,  joining  about  30  others  who  testified  that   implementing  such  a  measure  would  be  a  mistake.  

“To  be  quite  honest,  I  think  it  could  only  add  to  the  disenchantment  that  really  exists  already  in   younger  students  with  politics,”  University  of  St.  Thomas  student  Cody  Baird  told  reporters.  

Both  legislative  chambers  passed  a  Voter  ID  bill  last  session  through  the  regular  legislative  process,   but  DFL  Gov.  Mark  Dayton  vetoed  it  because  it  lacked  bipartisan  support.   That’s  why  supporters  have  turned  to  the  constitutional-­‐amendment  route,  which  bypasses  the   governor.   To  Ellison,  requiring  a  photo  ID  at  the  polls  won’t  solve  any  real  issues.             12   The  Voter  ID  measure  is  considered  a  near  certainty  to  make  it  onto  the  2012  ballot.  State  Senate   Majority  Leader  Dave  Senjem  said  on  Friday  that  he’s  confident  the  constitutional  amendment  will   pass  in  the  House  and  the  Senate.   “At  the  end  of  the  day,  dishonest  people  who  are  intent  on  being  dishonest  are  going  to  be   dishonest,”  he  said.  

Religious  Leaders  Jam  Senator’s  Office  on  MN  Voter  Photo  ID  
Michael  McIntee  |  The  Uptake  
Senate  Majority  Leader  David  Senjem’s  office  doesn’t  get  many  visits  like  this  says  his  assistant  Beth   Kleinboehl.  It’s  not  often  that  a  half  dozen  religious  leaders  come  calling  with  a  cadre  of  television   cameras  in  tow.     The  cameras  were  there  to  watch  the  religious  leaders  present  Senjem’s  office  with  letters  and   petitions  calling  to  keep  the  “voter  photo  ID”  issue  off  the  general  election  ballot.       The  leaders,  who  come  from  many  faiths,  said  the  Republican  backed  proposed  constitutional   amendment  would  disenfranchise  hundreds  of  thousands  of  Minnesotans,  many  who  are  too  poor   or  too  disabled  to  get  a  proper  government  ID.     Earlier  they  had  preached  to  the  press  about  the  dangers  of  the  amendment  which  one  religious   leader  called  “a  devilish  enterprise”.     Senator  Senjem  was  not  at  his  office  today,  but  will  be  back  Wednesday  when  the  legislative  session   resumes.  His  assistant  said  the  Senator  will  respond.      

 

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Day  Three:  The  1%  Takes  on  Democracy  

In  a  press  conference  at  the  State  Capitol,  TakeAction  Minnesota  released  a  report  outlining   the  funding  behind  the  photo  ID  amendment.  The  report,  titled  “The  1%  vs.  Democracy”  was   the  result  of  an  intense  research  and  communications  effort  conducted  by  TakeAction   Minnesota  and  Minnesotans  for  a  Fair  Economy.     "Minnesota's  democracy  is  under  threat  from  politicians  and  their  corporate  sponsors,  whose   aim  is  to  keep  wealth  and  power  concentrated  within  the  1  per  cent  and  make  public   institutions  less  accountable  to  voters,''  the  TakeAction  report  concluded.  "While  Minnesotans   face  foreclosure,  crumbling  infrastructure  and  unemployment,  the  very  people  who  should   represent  us  -­‐-­‐  state  legislators  and  senators  -­‐-­‐  want  to  reduce  our  ability  to  stand  up  for   ourselves  by  participating  in  the  democratic  process.''  –  Star  Tribune  report    

 

 

 

             2/8/12  

  Star  Tribune  |  Group  Opposed  to  Photo  ID  for  Voters  Criticizes  Business  Support  for  Issue   Minnesota  Public  Radio  |  Legislators  contentious  over  Voter  ID   Politics  in  Minnesota  |  TakeAction  report  looks  to  link  Voter  ID  to  bank  donations   MinnPost  |  Voter  ID  foes  target  business  groups'  campaign  contributions   The  Uptake  |  Banks  Backing  GOP  Attempt  To  Suppress  MN  Votes            

 

 

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  Banks  and  business  organizations  have  bankrolled  Republican  legislators  as  part  of  an  effort  to   require  all  voters  to  show  photo  ID  at  the  polls,  a  group  opposed  to  the  photo  ID  requirement  said   Wednesday.     TakeAction  Minnesota,  a  coalition  of  labor,  environmental  and  disability  groups,  said  campaign-­‐ finance  reports  show  strong  business  and  banking  financial  support  for  Republican  legislators  and   leaders  who  are  active  in  the  movement  to  require  photo  ID  of  all  voters.     "This  report  outlines  the  financial  interests  and  their  efforts  to  insert  photo  ID  into  the  state's   constitution,''  said  Dan  McGrath,  executive  director  of  TakeAction.  He  focused  on  the  state's  three   largest  banks  -­‐-­‐  Wells  Fargo,  U.S.  Bank  and  TCF  -­‐-­‐  for  backing  the  Republican  takeover  of  the   Legislature  in  2010,  saying  they  helped  "to  elect  many  of  the  same  legislators  who  are  now  pushing   the  photo  ID  amendment.''     "The  proposed  photo  ID  amendment  will  make  it  harder  if   not  impossible  for  hundreds  of  thousands  of  Minnesotans  who  are   eligible  to  vote,  to  cast  their  ballot,''  McGrath  said.       The  Republican-­‐controlled  Legislature  has  introduced  a  photo-­‐ ID  requirement  for  voters  as  a  proposed  constitutional  amendment,   and  believe  they  have  the  votes  to  put  the  issue  to  voters  in   November.  Supporters  cite  polls  showing  strong  public  support  for  the   requirement.  DFL  Gov.  Mark  Dayton  vetoed  the  requirement  when  it   came  before  him  as  a  bill  last  year,  but  the  Legislature  can  get  around   that  veto  this  year  by  putting  it  on  the  ballot  as  a  proposed   constitutional  amendment.     McGrath  listed  business-­‐backed  organizations  or  campaign  entities  such  as  the  Minnesota  Bankers   Association,  the  Minnesota  Chamber  of  Commerce  and  the  Minnesota  Business  Partnership,  saying   they  spent  $375,000  in  2008  and  2010  to  help  elect  legislators  who  are  pushing   the  voter   ID  amendments.    He  said  many  legislative  leaders  promoting  photo  ID  are  active  in  a  national   organization  of  conservative  legislators  known  as  the  American  Legislative  Exchange  Council,  or   ALEC.  According  to  TakeAction,  ALEC  "is  a  vehicle  for  the  country's  largest  corporations  to  directly   influence  state  legislation,''  and  has  developed  its  own  model  photo  ID  legislation  for  states  to   consider.     A  spokesman  for  the  Minnesota  Chamber  of  Commerce  declined  to  comment,  except  to  say  that  the   organization  has  not  taken  a  position  on  the  photo  ID  requirement  for  voters.   McGrath  agreed  that  the  Minnesota  business  contributions  flowed  to  legislators  based  on  a  wider   Republican  agenda,  of  which  photo  ID  is  just  one  part.  But  he  argued  that  the  ID  requirement,  by    

Group  opposed  to  photo  ID  for  voters  criticizes  business   support  for  issue    
Jim  Ragsdale  |  Star  Tribune  

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making  it  harder  for  elderly,  poor  and  disabled  people  to  vote,  is  part  of  an  effort  to  keep  power  and   wealth  concentrated.     "Minnesota's  democracy  is  under  threat  from  politicians  and  their  corporate  sponsors,  whose  aim  is   to  keep  wealth  and  power  concentrated  within  the  1  per  cent  and  make  public  institutions  less   accountable  to  voters,''  the  TakeAction  report  concluded.  "While  Minnesotans  face  foreclosure,   crumbling  infrastructure  and  unemployment,  the  very  people  who  should  represent  us  -­‐-­‐  state   legislators  and  senators  -­‐-­‐  want  to  reduce  our  ability  to  stand  up  for  ourselves  by  participating  in   the  democratic  process.''     The  report  is  available  at  http://www.takeactionminnesota.org/      

Legislators  contentious  over  Voter  ID  
Tom  Scheck  |  Minnesota  Public  Radio    
 

  St.  Paul,  Minn.  —  Several  groups  are  ramping  up  opposition  to  a  constitutional  amendment  that   would  require  Minnesotans  to  present  a  photo  identification  to  vote.       GOP  legislative  leaders  say  they  want  to  put  the  issue  to  voters  this  fall.       It's  an  issue  gaining  momentum  across  the  country.  There  are  15  states  that  require  people  show  a   photo  ID  to  vote  and  another  26  states  with  legislation  to  create  voter  ID  laws  or  strengthen  them.       Mississippi  passed  voter  ID  via  constitutional  amendment  last  year,  but   that  state's  law  requires  approval  by  the  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  before   it  can  take  effect.  The  Justice  Department  last  month  rejected  a  new  South   Carolina  law  that  requires  people  to  show  government-­‐issued   photographic  identification  when  they  vote  in  person.       Groups  representing  minorities,  seniors,  disabled  people  and  others  hope   to  convince  Minnesota  lawmakers  to  stop  it  here.       Supporters  of  the  Photo  ID  legislation  say  the  measure  is  a  simple  way  to  ensure  that  voters  are   eligible  and  are  who  they  say  they  are.       Many,  like  Sen.  Scott  Newman,  R-­‐Hutchinson,  Minn.,  suggest  that  photo  identification  is  required  for   all  parts  of  daily  life.  He  believes  most  people  would  want  the  same  standard  with  voting.       "They  really  want  integrity  in  the  voting  system.  There  is  simply,  in  my  estimation,  no  problem   whatsoever  in  going  forward  with  a  voter  identification  system  in  this  day  and  age.  Everybody  has   identification  on  them."       OPPOSITION        

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But  not  everyone  agrees.  DFL  Congressman  Keith  Ellison  appeared  at  a  Monday  news  conference   with  advocates  for  college  students,  disabled  people,  immigrant  groups  and  senior  citizens  to  voice   opposition.       "What  we're  really  up  against  is  the  prevailing  idea  that  so  many  of  us  have  that  'Oh,  everybody  has   an  ID.'  Everybody  doesn't  have  an  ID,"  Ellison  said.  "But  the  people  who  don't  have  them  are  just  as   American  as  anyone  of  us  and  they  should  be  allowed  to  vote."       Ellison  argues  that  some  people  may  be  prevented  from  voting  even  though  they  have  the  right  to   do  so.  For  example,  the  Minnesota  Secretary  of  State's  office  said  roughly  215,000  people  who  voted   in  the  last  election  don't  have  photo  identification  or  have  a  driver's  license  with  outdated   information.  The  office  also  said  the  500,000  people  who  registered  to  vote  on  Election  Day  would   not  be  eligible  to  vote  under  the  requirement.  Ellison  believes  supporters  of  the  amendment  are   working  to  suppress  voters  who  typically  support  Democrats.       "This  is  truly  a  solution  in  search  of  a  problem,"  Ellison  said.  "The  real  solution  that  they're  looking   for  is  to  try  to  alter  the  outcome  of  an  election  by  excluding  legitimate,  eligible  Minnesota  voters."       Groups  who  oppose  Voter  ID  have  been  getting  more  active  in  recent  weeks.  They  packed  a  Senate   Committee  hearing  and  have  organized  news  conferences  each  day  this  week.     Celester  Webb,  with  the  Churches  of  God  and  Christ,  said  his  84-­‐year-­‐old  mother  would  have   difficulty  obtaining  a  government-­‐issued  ID  because  she  doesn't  have  a  birth  certificate.  Webb  said   that  for  some  the  proposal  could  turn  the  clock  back  to  before  the  Voting  Rights  Act  was  enacted  in   the  1960s.       "We  call  that  generation  the  greatest  generation  America  has  ever  seen,"  Webb  said.  "What  a   tragedy  it  would  be  for  her  to  try  to  go  vote  and  because  she  does  not  have  ID  as  this  bill  would   require,  she  would  be  turned  away  just  as  she  was  when  she  lived  in  Mississippi."     Webb  and  others  say  the  only  instances  of  voter  fraud  recently  reported  in  Minnesota  have  involved   felons  voting  when  they  shouldn't  have.       Rep.  Mary  Kiffmeyer,  R-­‐Big  Lake,  Minn.,  worries  about  those  fraudulent  voters  who  aren't  getting   caught.       "How  do  you  know  that  someone  standing  in  front  of  you  as  an  election  judge,  who  they  are  without   a  photo  ID  requirement,"  Kiffmeyer  said.  "How  do  you  know  they're  not  impersonating?"       When  pressed  further,  Kiffmeyer  did  not  produce  any  specifics  to  document  her  allegation.       PROOF  OF  CONCEPT       At  a  Republican  caucus  event  in  Stillwater,  Minn.,  Tuesday  evening,  voters  presented  their  driver's   licenses  to  be  scanned  as  verification  of  identification.  The  scanner,  which  cost  roughly  $50,   collected  the  information  of  the  187  people  in  attendance.  The  information  obtained  instantly   determined  the  precinct  each  attendee  resides  in.     House  Majority  Leader  Matt  Dean  said  he  believes  the  caucus  night  demonstration  shows  that  the   system  works.         17  

"It  is  also  a  good  way  to  generate  the  discussion  about  photo  ID  for  voting  which  a  lot  of  people  here   are  very  interested  in,"  Dean  said.       It  is  uncertain  when  the  legislation  will  surface  at  the  Capitol.  A  Senate  Committee  delayed  a  vote  on   the  bill  last  week  and  has  not  yet  scheduled  another  hearing.        

TakeAction  report  looks  to  link  Voter  ID  to  bank  donations  
Jake  Grovum  |  Politics  in  Minnesota  
 

  Voter  ID  opponents  TakeAction  Minnesota  stepped  up  efforts  to  block  a   proposed  constitutional  amendment  on  Wednesday,  alleging  that  donations  from  a  few  Minnesota   banks  and  other  business  interests  are  behind  a  push  to  suppress  voting.     Releasing  a  report  it  called   “The  1%  vs.  Democracy  in   Minnesota”  TakeAction   Minnesota  looked  to  paint   political  contributions  from   banks  to  various  business-­‐  and   Republican-­‐aligned  political   groups  as  the  reason  behind   this  session’s  push  for  a  Voter   ID  constitutional  amendment.     “The  banks  absolutely  have  a   responsibility  and  are  the   drivers  of  this  amendment,”   TakeAction  Executive  Director   Dan  McGrath  said  at  a  Capitol   news  conference  releasing  the   report.  “It’s  an  attempt  to   fundamentally  change  the  rules  of  our  democracy.”     The  24-­‐page  report  that  McGrath  said  was  based  on  public  finance  records  connects  nearly   $500,000  from  banker-­‐led  or  banker-­‐funded  groups  to  more  than  two  dozen  Republican  lawmakers,   some  of  whom  are  specifically  co-­‐authoring  Voter  ID  legislation  this  session.  Specifically,  the  report   also  singles  out  House  Speaker  Kurt  Zellers  and  House  Majority  Leader  Matt  Dean  as  beneficiaries   of  the  business-­‐tied  campaign  funds.     McGrath  was  pressed  on  whether  there  was  any  evidence  that  the  campaign  donations  were   specifically  tied  to  an  effort  to  suppress  voting  as  opposed  to  a  more  general  business-­‐backed   agenda  favored  by  Republicans.  In  response,  he  said  the  lack  of  any  voter  fraud  in  Minnesota  shows   that  the  push  for  the  law  is  itself  unnecessary,  and  that  the  source  of  it  was  instead  the  interests  and   donations  of  the  organizations  singled  out  in  the  report.      

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“The  real  conversation  we  need  to  be  having  in  our  state,”  he  said,  “is  who  stands  to  gain  from  Voter   ID.”     TakeAction’s  report  comes  amid  a  week  of  increasing  opposition  from  those  opposed  to  Voter  ID   legislation.  Efforts  started  last  week  at  a  lengthy  Senate  hearing  during  which  a  opponents  gave   hours  of  testimony  against  the  bill.  On  Tuesday,  more  than  a  dozen  faith  leaders  brought  their  case   to  the  Capitol  and  Republican  leadership.  And  on  Thursday,  McGrath  said  opponents  of  the  bill  will   rally  and  hold  a  day  of  action  at  the  Capitol  against  the  bill.     Opposition  aside,  though,  by  most  accounts  Republicans  are  committed  to  pushing  ahead  and  have   the  votes  to  put  the  issue  on  the  ballot  this  fall.  The  increasing  likelihood  that  the  bill  will  pass   appears  to  have  focused  opponents,  but  whether  they’ll  ultimately  succeed  in  blocking  the  bill,  or   the  amendment  if  on  the  ballot,  remains  to  be  seen.     “People  have  really  woken  up  to  the  extraordinary  threat  that  Voter  ID  poses  to  our  democracy,”   McGrath  said.  “We’re  going  to  keep  up  a  steady  drumbeat.”      

Voter  ID  foes  target  business  groups'  campaign  contributions  
James  Nord  |  MinnPost  
  Voter  ID  opponents  continued  their  efforts  Wednesday  to  derail  the  proposal,   releasing  a  report   (PDF)  that  claims  Minnesota  bankers  contributed  to  state  GOP  campaigns  with  the  intent  of   disenfranchising  some  voters.  

TakeAction  Minnesota,  which  opposes  a  proposed  Voter  ID  constitutional  amendment,  said  its   review  of  campaign  data  links  financial  contributions  from  bank  executives  and  conservative  groups   to  candidates  who  support  the  controversial  amendment.   Dan  McGrath,  the  group’s  executive  director,  said  that  the  bank  executives  support  a  Voter  ID   amendment  in  order  to  suppress  voters  who  don’t  agree  with  a  low-­‐tax,  pro-­‐business  environment.   But  he  had  to  backtrack  when  reporters  pressed  him  to  prove  that  the  groups  simply  weren’t   making  contributions  in  support  of  the  overall  Republican  platform.   McGrath,  in  response,  said  the  groups  are  “moving  an  agenda  that  is,  in  part,  aimed  at  restricting   access  to  the  polls.”  

According  to  TakeAction,  executives  from  banks  —  through  conservative  political  organizations  —   supported  Republican  candidates  with  more  than  $360,000  in  independent  expenditures  in  2010.   “Wells  Fargo,  TCF  and  U.S.  Bank  executives  and  their  board  members  have  donated  hundreds  of   thousands  of  dollars  to  members  of  the  Minnesota  Legislature,  the  Republican  caucus,  to  make  it   harder  for  the  rest  of  the  99  percent  of  the  population  to  vote,”  McGrath  said.    

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The  report  also  said  that  House  Speaker  Kurt  Zellers  and  Majority  Leader  Matt  Dean  are  part  of  a   national  organization  that  is  pushing  Voter  ID.   McGrath  also  singled  out  at  least  three  business  groups  for  their  efforts:  the  Minnesota  Business   Partnership,  the  Coalition  of  Minnesota  Businesses  and  the  Minnesota  Chamber  of  Commerce.   Initial  calls  to  the  communications  departments  of  the  Coalition  and  the  Partnership,  which  have  the   same  spokesman  and  list  their  offices  at  the  same  address,  weren’t  returned.   The  Take  Action  report  builds  on  opposition  to  the  measure  from  DFLers,  faith  groups  and  elected   officials.  A  rally  is  planned  for  Thursday.   TakeAction  Minnesota  is  a  donor-­‐funded  group  also  supported  by  labor  unions  and  foundations.   It  appears  likely  that  Voter  ID  will  move  forward,  and  Senate  Majority  Leader  Dave  Senjem  has  said   he’s  confident  the  amendment  will  pass  and  be  put  on  the  November  ballot.  

 

Banks  Backing  GOP  Attempt  To  Suppress  MN  Votes  
Michael  McIntee  |  The  Uptake    
TakeAction  Minnesota  says  bank  executives  from  Wells  Fargo,  US  Bank  and  TCF  Bank  are  funneling   money  to  Republican  legislative  candidates  to  secure  a  photo  ID  amendment  on  the  state’s   November  2012  ballot.   Executive  Director  Dan  McGrath  gives  examples  of  how  the  money  flows  from  the  bank  executives   through  various  organizations  to  the  candidates.  McGrath  says  banks  may  have  a  broader  agenda   than  voter  photo  ID,  but  they  need  to  realize  that  is  what  they  are  funding.    

Day  Four:  Room  125  Isn’t  Big  Enough  for  This  One  

The  “Week  of  Action”  was  designed  to  grow  in  intensity  and  enthusiasm  as  the  week   progressed.  There  was  no  shortage  of  either  as  we  entered  the  Capitol  for  a  fourth  straight   day.  More  than  400  Minnesotans  joined  us  on  Thursday,  carrying  signs  with  anti-­‐amendment   messages.  Those  gathered  walked  in  silence  around  both  chambers  of  the  Minnesota   Legislature,  their  mouths  covered  with  one-­‐hundred-­‐dollar  bills  symbolizing  the  1%’s   attempt  to  silence  their  voices  and  votes.  Eventually,  the  silence  ended  and  our  voices  were   heard  loud  and  clear  near  the  entrance  to  the  House  Chambers.    

 

             2/9/12  

 

Following  the  rally  at  the  Capitol,  many  hopped  on  busses  and  headed  to  Wells  Fargo  Place  in   downtown  St.  Paul  to  remind  everyone  of  the  bank’s  connection  to  the  amendment  and  the   agenda  of  the  1%.    

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Star  Tribune  |  Protesters  rally  at  the  capitol  against  voter  ID   MinnPost  |  Anti-­‐Voter  ID  group  to  protest  at  St.  Paul  Wells  Fargo   Workday  Minnesota  |  Hundreds  rally  to  oppose  proposed  voter  ID  amendment   Care  Blog  |  Big  Banks  Behind  Voter  ID  Push  In  Minnesota   ColorLines  |  The  Wealthy  One  Percent  That’s  Behind  Minnesota’s  Voter  ID  Push   Fox  21  Duluth  |  Northlanders  Protest  Voter  ID  Law  at  Capitol   Mankato  Free  Press  |  Editorial:  Legislate  Voter  ID  Proposal      

Protesters  rally  at  the  capitol  against  voter  ID  
Jennifer  Brooks  |  Star  Tribune    
 

  State  senators  walked  into  the  chambers  this  morning  under  the  watchful  glare  of  hundreds  of   protesters  whose  mouths  were  covered  with  dollar  bill  stickers  in  protest  of  pending  voter  ID   legislation.     The  Republican-­‐controlled  Legislature  wants  to  place  a  constitutional  amendment  question  on  the   2012  ballot  that  would  require  anyone  who  votes  to  produce  photo  identification.   Right  now,  eight   states  require  photo  IDs  to  vote,  while  Minnesota  is  one  of  19  states  that  does  not  require  any  proof   of  identification  to  vote.     “Voter  ID  is  voter  suppression!”   protesters  chanted,  after  removing   their  dollar  gags.       Supporters  of  the  measure  say  it’s  a   common-­‐sense  precaution  against   voter  fraud.  Opponents,  like  the   protesters  assembled  in  the  Capitol   rotunda  Thursday  morning,  say  it   will  have  the  effect  of   disenfranchising  the  elderly,  the   disabled  and  student  voters  –  people   who  might  not  have  valid  driver’s   licenses  and  might  have  trouble   getting  the  paperwork  to  obtain  the   proper  photo  IDs.     People  like  the  Rev.  Celester  Webb’s   84-­‐year-­‐old  mother.     “She’s  never  had  a  copy  of  her  birth   certificate,”  said  Webb,  who  has  been  trying  to  get  a  copy  for  his  mother  for  years.  But  she  was  born   at  home,  in  rural  Mississippi.  He’s  been  told  that  the  courthouse  in  Grenada,  Miss.,  burned  down,   possibly  destroying  her  birth  records.    

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For  a  woman  who  grew  up  poor  and  black  in  the  pre-­‐Civil  Rights  deep  south,  and  who’s  never   missed  an  election,  the  idea  that  a  constitutional  amendment  could  take  away  that  right  is   horrifying,  Webb  said.     “It’s  almost  like  they’re  trying  to  take  her  back  in  time,  to  a  place  where  she  didn’t  have  that   freedom,”  said  Webb,  pastor  of  the  United  Church  of  God  and  Christ  in  St.  Paul,  who  spoke  at  the   rally.  “They’re  trying  to  set  her  back.  It  absolutely  hits  home  for  me,  and  I’d  hate  to  see  that  happen   to  her.”     But  Dan  McGrath,  executive  director  of  the  conservative  Minnesota  Majority  group  that  has   spearheaded  calls  for  voter  ID,  insists  that  disenfranchisement  fears  are  unfounded.  In  2008,  he   said,  6,000  apparently  ineligible  voters  voted  –  most  of  them  felons  on  parole,  or  people  whose   names  or  addresses  could  not  be  verified  afterward.  That,  he  said,  is  a  lot  of  suspect  votes  in  a  year   when  an  election  was  decided  by  a  few  hundred  votes.     “We  have  no  evidence  of  disenfranchisement,  but  we  have  the  evidence,  we  have  the  convictions,  for   vote  fraud,”  he  said.    

Anti-­‐Voter  ID  group  to  protest  at  St.  Paul  Wells  Fargo  
Joe  Kimball  |  MinnPost  
 

A  group  opposing  a  proposed  state  constitutional  amendment  that  would  require  voters  to  show   identification  is  rallying  at  the  Capitol  this  morning.  

The  protest  group,  led  by  TakeAction  Minnesota,  says  in  a  statement  that  it's  targeting  Wells  Fargo   on  the  Voter  ID  issue,  because:     The  group  claimed  Wednesday  that  bank  executives  and  conservative  groups  are  contributing  to   legislative  supporters  of  Voter  ID.              

The  group  then  plans  to  move  at  noon  to  the  Wells  Fargo  bank  building  on  Wabasha  Street  in   downtown  St.  Paul,  to  continue  the  protest.  Buses  will  take  people  from  the  Capitol  to  downtown.  

The  same  1%  forces  of  extreme  greed  that  crashed  the  economy,  including  big  banks  like  Wells  Fargo,   are  now  attacking  Minnesota’s  democracy,  including  the  most  fundamental  right  —  the  right  to  vote.  

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Hundreds  rally  to  oppose  proposed  voter  ID  amendment  
Workday  Minnesota    
ST.  PAUL  -­‐  More  than  300  Minnesotans  gathered  at  the  state  Capitol  and  at  Wells  Fargo  Place  in   downtown  St.  Paul  Thursday  to  raise  their  voices  in  opposition  to  the  proposed  photo  ID   amendment.  The  “Democracy  Day  of  Action”  took  place  following  a  week  of  growing  momentum  for   the  campaign  to  oppose  the  amendment,  which  is  being  led  by  TakeAction  Minnesota  and  its   progressive  partners.     Attendees  walked  in  somber  silence  around  both   legislative  chambers,  wearing  $100-­‐bill  stickers  across   their  mouths,  symbolizing  the  efforts  by  the  top  1%  to   silence  their  voices.  The  silence  eventually  ended,  as   members  of  the  99%  raised  their  voices  against  the   photo  ID  amendment.     Superintendent  Celester  Webb  of  the  Minnesota   Jurisdiction  of  the  Church  of  God  in  Christ  spoke  to  the   crowd.  He  noted  that  for  many  Minnesotans,  including   himself,  the  ramifications  of  the  amendment  would  be  personal.       “We  know  this  would  disproportionately  affect  those  that  are  already  disenfranchised,”  Webb  said.   My  mother  is  84  years  old,  part  of  what  has  been  called  our  greatest  generation.  She  was  born  in   Mississippi  and  does  not  have  a  birth  certificate.  If  this  passes,  she  would  not  be  able  to  vote.  I  say   no  to  this  amendment  —  and  say  that  we  need  to  question  the  motivation  behind  it.”     Dan  McGrath,  executive  director  of  TakeAction  Minnesota,  told  the  crowd  outside  of  the  House   chambers,  “There  are  far  too  many  here  in  this  place  who  have  been  told  by  the  1%  that  voter  ID  is   what  we  need.  It  is  not.  This  is  this  people’s  house  and  our  voices,  and  votes,  will  not  be  silenced.”     Following  the  Capitol  rally,  attendees  filled  buses  headed  to  Wells  Fargo  Place  in  downtown  Saint   Paul  for  a  public  action  taking  the  pro-­‐democracy  message  to  the  1%.  They  walked  into  the  office   complex  in  silence,  carrying  signs  and  again  wearing  the  $100-­‐bill  stickers.  Following  several   moments  of  silence,  the  crowd  called  on  Wells  Fargo  to  stop  funding  the  agenda  of  the  1%,  chanting,   “you  can  buy  politicians,  you  can  buy  lobbyists,  but  you  cannot  buy  our  voice!”     For  more  information   See  the  TakeAction  Minnesota  website            

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Big  Banks  Behind  Voter  ID  Push  In  Minnesota  
Minnesota  is  just  one  of  sixteen  states  facing  restrictive  Voter  ID  proposals  and  a  new  report  sheds   some  light  on  just  who  is  financing  the  battle  to  restrict  voting  rights  in  the  state.   Turns  out,  it’s  big  banking  money.  

Jessica  Pieklo  |  care2.com    

The  report  released  by  the  group  TakeAction  Minnesota  unwinds  the  financial  contributions  behind   the  push  for  Voter  ID  and  connects  them  to  the  CEO’s  of  Wells  Fargo,  U.S.  Bank  and  TCF,  Minnesota’s   three  largest  banks.   Dan  McGrath,  Executive  Director  of  TakeAction  Minnesota  told  reporters  that  “over  the  past  week,   we’ve  learned  a  lot  about  who  would  lose  if  photo  ID  becomes  law  —  over  700,000  eligible   Minnesota  voters,  including  seniors,  low-­‐income  persons,  students,  people  of  color,  disabled  and   rural  Minnesotans.    What  hasn’t  been  discussed  is  who  WINS  when  people  can’t  vote.  That’s  what   this  report  outlines.”  

The  report’s  key  findings  were  reduced  to  two  large  charts  that  shows  how  banking  executives  put   members  of  ALEC  (American  Legislative  Exchange  Council)  in  the  House  leadership  with  marching   orders  to  push  Voter  ID  legislation.  ALEC  member  Rep.  Mary  Kiffmeyer  dutifully  agreed  and   introduced  a  measure  as  soon  as  the  new  majority  took  office.  

The  first  chart  showcased  an  extensive  network  of  money  flowing  from  banks  down  to  bank-­‐led   political  entities  including  Minnesota  Forward,  the  Minnesota  Chamber  of  Commerce,  the  Minnesota   Business  Partnership,  the  Bankers’  Association,  and  the  Coalition  of  Minnesota  Businesses,  who   then  financed  independent  expenditure  campaigns  instrumental  in  electing  the  new  Republican   majorities.  Jon  Campbell,  Wells  Fargo  Executive  Vice-­‐President,  chairs  the  Minnesota  Chamber  of   Commerce.    Richard  Davis,  President  of  U.S.  Bank,  serves  as  President  of  the  Minnesota  Business   Partnership.   The  second  chart  detailed  banking  contributions  to  individual  House  and  Senate  candidates,  all  of   whom  are  backing  or  leading  photo  ID  legislative  efforts,  including  House  Speaker  Kurt  Zellers  and   House  Majority  Leader  Matt  Dean.   •        The  independent  expenditures  from  the  Coalition  of  Minnesota  Businesses  and  Chamber  of   Commerce  helped  elect  twelve  new  Republican  legislators  in  2010.   •        The  Coalition  and  Chamber  spent  an  average  of  $28,300  per  campaign,  an  average  of  34%  of  the   total  money  in  each  race.   •        On  average,  the  amount  of  independent  expenditures  from  the  Coalition  and  Chamber  were   almost  twice  as  much  as  the  total  contributions  raised  by  the  candidates  themselves.   The  battle  for  voting  rights  is  key  in  all  states,  but  especially  in  states  like  Minnesota  with  a  rich   tradition  of  high  voter  turnout  and  a  politically  engaged  citizenry.  If  Voter  ID  is  successful  in  a  state   like  Minnesota  then  voting  rights  across  the  country  are  at  real  risk.     24  

With  this  much  support  from  the  Big  Finance,  McGrath’s  question  is  one  that  demands  an  answer:   why  will  big  banks  benefit  so  much  from  restricting  voter  rights?  Just  what  do  they  have  planned?   Read  more:  http://www.care2.com/causes/big-­‐banks-­‐behind-­‐voter-­‐id-­‐push-­‐in-­‐ minnesota.html#ixzz1m1HBENyB    

The  Wealthy  One  Percent  That’s  Behind  Minnesota’s  Voter  ID   Push  
Brentin  Mock  |  ColorLines    
The  perennial  swing  state  of  Minnesota  is  the  latest  to  be  enthralled  in  debate  over  Republican-­‐led   efforts  to  create  new  voting  restrictions  that  civil  rights  groups  say  will  undermine  voter  access  for   low-­‐income  people  of  color,  the  disabled,  youth  and  immigrants,  among  others.  And  a  new  watchdog   report  argues  this  week  that  the  wealthy  one  percent  of  Minnesota  are  behind  those  efforts.     The  report,  by  the  group  TakeAction  Minnesota,  describes  how  Minnesota’s  wealthiest  finance   institutions  and  their  executives,  lobbying  groups,  PACs  and  the  chamber  of  commerce  have  been   pooling  funds  together,  sharing  resources,  and  in  some  cases  sharing  office  suite  space  in  a   collective  effort  that’s  at  least  partially  responsible  for  a  Republican  takeover  of  the  state  legislature   in  2010.  

The  group’s  report  shows  more  correlation  than  causation  when  it  comes  to  the  voter  ID  initiative.   But  it’s  instructive  in  detailing  the  way  serious  money  is  shaping  state-­‐level  politics  where  basic  civil   rights  issues  like  the  right  to  vote  are  at  stake.  

An  example  of  this  is  Wells  Fargo  executive  vice  president  Jon  Campbell  chairing  the  Minnesota   Chamber  of  Commerce,  the  state’s  top  lobby,  joining  together  with  the  Minnesota  Business   Partnership,  the  state’s  third  largest  lobby,  for  a  mega-­‐lobby  called  MN  Forward,  which  focuses  on   slashing  corporate  taxes  and  cutting  government  spending.  All  the  entities  —  the  Chamber,  the   Partnership,  MN  Forward  —  have  flooded  hundreds  of  thousands  of  dollars  over  the  past  few  years   into  the  coffers  of  Republican  candidates,  some  of  whom  are  architects  of  a  photo  ID  voter  mandate   that  Republicans  would  like  to  have  placed  on  a  referendum  ballot  in  November.    

 

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Says  the  report,  the  banks’  “executives  and  board  members  have  donated  hundreds  of  thousands  of   dollars  to  candidates  who  will  make  it  harder  for  members  of  the  99  percent  of  the  population  to   vote.”   What  TakeAction  Minnesota  is  asking  of  its  report’s  readers  is  to  accept  the  idea  that  voter  ID  rules   widen  the  disparities  between  those  with  power  largesse  and  those  with  power  limited  by   suppressing  the  one  democratic  franchise  all  citizens  possess:  voting.   For  Dan  McGrath,  executive  director  of  TakeAction  Minnesota,  the  issue  is  less  about  the  legal  and   policy  merits  of  voter  ID  laws  —  though  that’s  important  —  and  more  about  a  larger  problem  listed   in  the  report  as,  “An  intentional  effort  to  reduce  the  voting  rolls  in  order  to  help  corporate   conservatives  further  expand  their  wealth  and  power.”  

In  an  interview  with  Colorlines.com,  McGrath  said,  “For  us,  this  is  about  calling  out  issues  like  race,   because  so  much  of  this  is  racialized,  and  calling  out  the  financial  interests  who’ve  been  moving  this   agenda  along.”  

Whether  there’s  “intentional  effort”  on  the  part  of  banks  like  Wells  Fargo  is,  at  best,  debatable.  But   the  Minnesota  photo  ID  law  doesn’t  exist  in  isolation.  There  are  over  30  states  that  have  voter  ID   restrictions,  some  mandating  a  state-­‐issued  photo  identification  card.  No  matter  what  state,  though,   the  impact  is  the  same:  potential  for  voter  suppression.    

This  was  illustrated  in  a  scene  this  week  when  Minnesota  Rep.  Keith  Ellison,  a  Muslim  African   American,  held  a  press  conference  at  the  state  capitol  opposing  the  photo  ID  proposal.  He  stood  with   Mai  Thor,  who  spoke  from  her  wheelchair  about  how  her  voting  rights  would  be  compromised,  and   Somali-­‐American  Sadik  Warfa,  who  said  that  a  photo  ID  requirement  would  painfully  remind   Somali-­‐Americans  of  the  governments  they  escaped  to  the  U.S.  from.  Minnesota  is  home  to  the   nation’s  largest  Somali  immigrant  population.   Republican  supporters  of  the  ballot  insist  they  are  actually  protecting  voters  by  preventing   bogeymen  like  “voter  fraud”  and  “voter  impersonation”  from  surfacing.  It’s  the  common  refrain   among  Republicans  across  the  country  who  want  the  photo  ID  laws,  even  though  voter  fraud  and   impersonation  barely  occur.  

Also  common  is  that  many  of  the  states  passing  voter  ID  laws  are  linked  to  a  conservative   association  called  the  American  Legislative  Exchange  Council,  which  bands  conservative  state   lawmakers  with  private  business  interests  to  push  for  bills  that  reduce  if  not  kill  government.  ALEC   is  funded  by  the  Koch  Brothers  and  was  founded  by  Heritage  Foundation  co-­‐founder  Paul  Weyrich,   who  once  said,  “I  don’t  want  everybody  to  vote.  Elections  are  not  won  by  a  majority  of  the  people.   They  never  have  been  from  the  beginning  of  our  country  and  they  are  not  now.”     If  Minnesota  gets  its  photo  ID  bill  on  the  ballot  and  it  passes,  it  will  join  those  ranks.    

With  that  in  mind,  consider  that  ALEC  created  a  model  bill  for  voter  ID  legislation  that  some  states   have  adopted  for  their  own  bills.  And  as  Ari  Berman  reported  in  The  Nation,  five  states  passed  voter   ID  laws  last  year,  and  in  each  of  them  the  bill’s  sponsor  was  an  ALEC  member   26  

 

There  is  no  existing  evidence  that  photo  ID  laws  will  prevent  fraud.  There  is  evidence  that  photo  ID   laws  will  cost  taxpayers  money  to  implement.  Despite  the  priority  of  conservative  agencies  like   ALEC  and  MN  Forward  to  cut  government  spending,  the  cost  of  preserving  voter  ID  laws  could  run   in  the  millions.  In  Wisconsin,  there  are  untold  costs  to  produce  thousands  of  new  voter  cards  for   students  since  their  college  IDs  aren’t  eligible  for  voting.     In  South  Carolina,  the  state  is  lawyering  up  to  fight  the  DOJ  off  of  their  voter  ID  laws,  a  fight  that   might  cost  the  state  as  much  as  $1  million.     In  Minnesota,  Gov.  Dayton  vetoed  the  voter  ID  bill  because  he  found  that  it  would  cost  the  state  $23   million  for  an  “unfunded  mandate.”  

State  Rep.  Mary  Kiffmeyer  is  ALEC’s  state  chairman  for  Minnesota.  She  is  also  the  author  of  a  photo   ID  bill  that  passed  both  state  chambers  last  year,  but  was  vetoed  by  Gov.  Mark  Dayton.  Of  the  GOP   sponsors  of  Minnesota’s  photo  ID  amendment,  15  are  ALEC  members,  according  to  the  TakeAction   report.  ALEC  is  also  responsible  for  current  voter  ID  laws  in  South  Carolina  and  Texas  —  both  of   which  have  been  flagged  by  the  Department  of  Justice  for  possible  civil  rights  Voting  Rights  Act   violations  —  and  Wisconsin,  the  state  that  is  said  to  have  the  strictest  voting  laws  in  the  country.    

Rep.  Kiffmeyer,  the  lead  sponsor  on  the  vetoed  bill,  is  Minnesota’s  former  Secretary  of  State.  During   that  tenure,  she  attempted  a  number  of  actions  that  might  have  disenfranchised  voters  had  courts   not  blocked  them.  In  2004,  Kiffmeyer  attempted  a  rule  that  would  have  required  voters  to  have  a   valid  ID  that  “exactly  matched”  the  information  on  her  registered  voter  rolls.  Two  years  later,  she   ruled  on  Election  Day  that  college  students  could  not  use  utility  bills  to  prove  their  residence  when   voting.  Same  year,  she  tried  to  ban  special  identification  cards  used  by  Native  Americans  unless  the   voter  could  prove  they  were  residents  of  their  tribe’s  reservation.  In  every  case,  courts  overturned   Rep.  Kiffmeyer’s  maneuvers.  

Meanwhile,  consider  an  Indiana  University  study  published  in  the  Journal  of  Law  and  Politics  in   2009  that  examined  the  voter  ID  law  issue  in  Indiana,  after  the  U.S.  Supreme  Court  upheld  the   state’s  law  the  year  before.  In  their  report,  they  found  that  of  2.8  million  people  who  voted  in  the   2008  general  election,  1,039  showed  up  at  polls  with  no  ID.  That  group  filled  out  provisional  ballots,   but  only  137  of  them  were  counted.  These  numbers  are  small,  but  clear  data  about  how  voting  rules   affect  voter  turnout  is  basically  nonexistent  elsewhere  in  the  country.  The  study’s  authors  wrote   that  the  Indiana  case  “presents  the  clearest  evidence  yet  that  the  photo  identification  requirement   has  a  disenfranchising  impact  on  hundreds  of  Indiana  residents  who  want  to  have  their  democratic   voices  heard.”   Republicans  who  want  voter  ID  laws  claim  that  fraud  is  the  impetus,  but  can’t  make  any  solid  claim   about  its  existence.  Meanwhile,  those  fighting  to  preserve  voting  rights  can  point  to  very  real   instances  where  disenfranchisement  actually  took  place,  from  America’s  suffrage  and  Jim  Crow   history  to  Rep.  Kiffmeyer’s  tricks  with  Native  Americans.  There  may  or  may  not  be  “intentional   efforts”  to  corrupt  democracy  behind  these  photo  ID  laws,  but  the  impacts  are  clear.        

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Northlanders  Protest  Voter  ID  Law  at  Capitol  
Fox  21  Duluth  
DULUTH  -­‐  Northlanders  headed  to  the  capitol  Thursday  to  protest  the  Voter  ID  law.   They’re  also  saying  it  creates  false  fear  about  voter  ID  fraud.   They’re  saying  the  law  is  politically  motivated  and  excludes  the  elderly,  people  with  low  incomes,   the  disabled  and  people  of  color  from  voting.   Given  Minnesota’s  past,  the  group  says  voter  ID  fraud  is  rare.   "We  want  folks  to  have  a  chance  to  easily  participate  in  our  democracy,”  protester  Scot  Bol  said.   “There  hasn't  been  any  documented  cases,  almost  none  of  voter  fraud,  so  with  that  low  percentage   we  thought  it's  not  any  issue  that  they  eliminate  folks  from  participating."   Event  organizers  say  they  will  continue  to  host  educational  training  at  churches  and  community   centers  about  the  law.    

Editorial:  Legislate  Voter  ID  Proposal  
Mankato  Free  Press  |  February  9,  2012  
If  80  percent  of  Minnesota  voters  favor  requiring  a  photo  ID  to  vote,  we’re  wondering  why  it  hasn’t   happened  at  the  Legislature.     Gov.  Mark  Dayton  vetoed  certain,  specific  voter  ID  legislation  last  year,  but  not  the  entire  concept.  If   people  feel  strongly  enough  about  it,  they  will  oust  the  legislators  who  voted  against  it  last  year,  or,   at  the  very  least,  make  their  loud  voices  heard  this  year  for  passage.     So  far,  there’s  been  no  such  enthusiasm.  There’s  been  a  poll.  That’s  about  it.  Sure,  there  are  interest   groups  that  have  been  pushing  the  photo  ID  but  no  mass  of  average  voter  outcry.     Legislators  pushing  for  putting  the  question  on  the   ballot  as  a  constitutional  amendment  would  have  one   believe  otherwise.     If  the  people  want  it  badly  enough,  legislators   pushing  for  it  should  modify  last  year’s  proposal  to   Dayton’s  concerns  and  try  to  pass  it  again.  Dayton   should  be  willing  to  take  another  look.     We  shouldn’t  be  amending  the  constitution  as  a  substitute  for  effective  legislating.  There  is  no    

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constitutional  principle  that  has  to  be  changed  to  allow  for  requiring  photo  IDs  for  voting.     There  may  be  a  great  need  for  the  voter  ID  legislation.  It  seems,  though,  that  the  information   provided  by  proponents  so  far  is  not  compelling  as  to  the  existence  of  massive  fraud  happening  in   Minnesota’s  elections  —  or  even  doubts  about  integrity.  We  suspect  that’s  why  the  voter   enthusiasm  is  casual  at  best  for  photo  ID.     At  a  Senate  hearing  last  week,  after  hours  of  testimony,  the  constitutional  amendment  idea  was  not   approved.  If  the  public  approval  is  so  overwhelming,  why  didn’t  the  Republican  dominated   committee  pass  it?  There  was  no  vote,  though  Senate  Majority  Leader  Dave  Senjem  of  Rochester   seems  to  think  the  Legislature  will  eventually  vote  to  put  the  constitutional  amendment  on  the   ballot.     There  remain  issues  that  would  best  be  solved  by  legislation,  not  constitutional  amendment.  The   amendment  proposal  debated  last  week  made  no  provisions  for  details  like  cost  of  the  measure,   whether  the  address  on  the  photo  ID  would  have  to  match  anything.  It  appears  the  amendment,  as   proposed,  would  only  require  a  “valid  photo  ID”  —  whatever  that  is  —  and  would  require  the  state   provide  IDs  for  free.     Proponents  argued  the  details  could  be  ironed  out  by  future  Legislatures.  If  details  are  best  left  to   the  Legislature  later,  why  not  now?     Other  details  that  are  better  hashed  out  by  a  deliberative  body:  19  other  states  require  no  photo  ID,   the  size  and  scope  of  the  voter  fraud,  and  the  cost/benefit  of  fixing  the  problem,  whatever  its  size.     Instead,  we  have  a  amendment  that  essentially  is  doing  an  end  run  around  the  legislative  process,   leaving  details  to  be  determined  later  and  chipping  away  at  the  purpose  of  a  solid  Constitution.      

 

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