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Reader's view: Learn the truth about voter identification bill

In the second week of the 2012 legislative session, the Senate committee on local government and elections held a hearing on a bill (S.F. No. 1577) for an act proposing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, "requiring voters to present phot...

In the second week of the 2012 legislative session, the Senate committee on local government and elections held a hearing on a bill (S.F. No. 1577) for an act proposing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, "requiring voters to present photographic identification; providing photographic identification to voters at no charge; requiring equal verification standards for all voters."

Aside from the questions that a voter identification requirement raises, this bill raises the question, "Is this a good way to make law?" Some would say that such a ballot measure undermines representative government. In this case, our elected governor vetoed a similar measure last session. Others would say this ballot measure leaves many unanswered questions that will be answered by the next Legislature. How can voters decide how to vote if they don't know how the measure will impact them?

With this proposed amendment, the authors specifically have included a provision that the state will provide photographic identification at no charge to eligible voters. If passed, the next Legislature will have to determine how Minnesotans will pay for this. With all of the state and local budget cuts in the last several years, does it make sense to add a bill with new funding requirements to the expense column?

One of the bill's authors, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, said submitting it as a constitutional amendment is necessary in light of federal action to block an ID law in South Carolina. She thinks the best recourse is to take it to the people. If the federal government has concerns with voter identification requirements, how would moving this issue forward, with little detail and explanation of its implementation, be the best way to go?

Dianne E. Naus

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Duluth

The writer is an advocate for the Minnesota Disability Law Center. She submitted this on behalf of the Duluth Voting Rights Coalition. She urges readers to learn more about ineligible voting and voter fraud at ceimn.org.

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