IDville Blog | Minnesota to grapple with Voter ID referendum in November

Minnesota to grapple with Voter ID referendum in November

by Admin 10. September 2012 11:16

As many as 84,000 people in Minnesota could be affected by a proposed voter ID requirement, according to estimates by the North Star State's office of the secretary of state as cited in a published report.

But the office estimates that as many as 131,000 do not hold the right kind of identification card, which displays the bearer's present-day voting address, The Star Tribune reports. Those who do not have the identification card with the correct information on it amount to roughly 4 percent; those who do not have a state-issued ID total 2.7 percent.

The amendment under consideration mandates that all voters display an officially-issued photo ID prior to exercising their right to vote. Those who are considered most vulnerable to the November referendum are the elderly, the impoverished and students.

Administrator Robert Letich with old age home Camden Care Center in North Minneapolis said the proposed referendum must be seriously considered.

"It was a six-month process to get an ID. So if you want to vote, you better start planning," he told the news source, noting the impact will be harsh if some of his residents are prevented from casting ballots. "All these people would be disenfranchised from the election. And that generation takes it really seriously. They want to vote."

But one state, Mississippi – which wrote into its constitution the mandate of a photo ID, included an exemption for nursing homes, according to director Michele Kimball with AARP Minnesota.

She said what the elderly now faces is pretty close to a disaster.

"It's just a nightmare scenario," Kimball told the news source.

Also expected to be impacted by the new law is the poor, according to Colleen O'Connor Toberman with Our Savior's Housing. She estimated that three-quarters of the people who enter the Minneapolis program for shelter and housing are registered voters.

She emphasized the importance of voting for some of these people.

"They're often being overlooked," Toberman told the news source. "Voting is the only way they can be heard."

The proposed referendum's harm to students is unclear but it is likely to have some sort of impact since private-college ID cards are under scrutiny.

Another question is what to do about out-of state students in Minnesota, who are eligible to vote if they go home.

The Minnesota Daily, the University of Minnesota at St. Paul newspaper, cited a poll indicating nearly 71 percent of college students are not equipped with the correct state-issued identification card.

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