Is Photo ID for Elections Reasonable? Is it Right?

There is little doubt that soon, if it hasn’t already happened, Republicans will propose the bill in Minnesota to require voter’s to provide a state issued photo ID to vote.  The mantra coming from one Republican after another is that “it is reasonable” or it is “common-sense.”  State Senator Dave Thompson told me it was reasonable, I’ve heard it on the radio and I’ve seen several comments on blogs and stories using those terms.

I’m not going to say it isn’t reasonable, because without knowing the details of how it affects some people, on the surface and with a little slick talk, it seems reasonable to most of the public.  But, it isn’t right.  By establishing a photo ID rule we are eliminating the voting rights of citizens for no reason other than they don’t have a photo ID.  Maybe they can’t afford to get an ID.  Maybe they are confined to their home or a nursing home.  Maybe they are paranoid of the government.  There are plenty of reasons a person might not get one.

So let’s call this bill what it is, plain and simple it is an anti-voting bill.  It is direct disenfranchisement.  After all, the intent of this bill is to prevent people from voting – period.  It does nothing to encourage voting.  And it does little to prevent the biggest chance for voting fraud to have a significant impact on an election, vote count manipulation.

There are less drastic changes that can be made to quell the Republican paranoid fears of voter fraud if they were being reasonable.  So let’s be honest and reasonable and be truthful by saying there is little chance for wide spread voter fraud to occur, and even less chance that it will affect an outcome. 

If Republicans want to use the “it could happen” argument, why are we taking chances by not funding early child hood education and properly funding our kids education.  There is far better evidence as to what sort of outcomes these produce.  And there is a much greater “chance” that “unfunding” students to give tax cuts to corporations will negatively affect our state more than a political zealot voting multiple times in an election.

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One thought on “Is Photo ID for Elections Reasonable? Is it Right?”

  1. I am in total disagreement with you … this is not reasonable !

    May I recount a story of one Grandmother that I am reminded of every time this issue is brought up … the blogger wrote :
    My grandmother never drove. For the last 25 years of her life she was confined to a wheel chair, and the last several years a nursing home. It was uncomfortable, even painful, for her to go places. Would she have gotten a photo ID to vote, or would she have just decided it wasn’t worth it? My grandma never missed voting, but I think she would have decided the hassle and pain of voting wouldn’t have been worth it.

    That Grandmother may not have been able to vote for her Grandson without undergoing great effort to obtain a State ID card.

    OK, I am going to try to control my anger at this issue … but it’s tough.

    Let me give you seven concerns :
    I look down the road … pass the Voter ID and the first thing that will happen is to target precincts that will likely support your opponent … then challenge the accuracy of the ID … whether or not it is a valid challenge (remember the challenged ballots during the 2008 Senate Recount … where every squiggle resulted in a challenge — can you hear it now … jeez, looks like you’ve put on some pounds … is that you without the beard … take off your cap so I can see your full face – so what if the voters get angry, they weren’t going to vote for your candidate anyhow ) … the objective is to slow the process of voting … now, remember we vote in November … snow, cold, rain …. people standing in lines … parking becomes a problem … people give up even though they have valid IDs … they got kids to pick-up … dinner to make … or if you are in Bachmann’s district – a third job to go to.
    Second, I have voted at the same place for over 20 years … the guy that checks my name also passes the basket at Church … we see each other at the store … do I need to have my ID check … well, if my precinct is targeted it will be.
    Third, what about college students … they probably don’t update their driver’s license to reflect a campus address … and if you moved during the term, you could have changed precincts … you’re rejected. What about students whose parents live in another state and the student doesn’t own a car … they have no reason to get a Minnesota driver’s license yet may feel that Minnesota is their home and want to vote in the Minnesota elections … nope, you’re rejected.
    Fourth, what about seniors … who may no longer have an active driver’s license … why renew when you don’t drive … you’re rejected.
    Fifth, what if you’ve had your license’s suspended ? If the courts take away your license to drive, doesn’t mean they take away your right to vote.
    Sixth, what if my driver’s license has lapsed … how many of us forget to get it renewed on time (good thing there is a grace period) … your license is not valid … no vote.
    Seventh, what about medical situations … for example, poor vision (visual acuity of 20/100 or more will deny you a driver’s license) … plus the number of people that have physical reasons why they don’t drive … but no driver’s license means no vote.
    Oh sure, Minnesota has State Identification cards but you cannot get one if you have a driver’s license. And if you don’t have reasons to have a State ID card, why would you apply for one. Plus there is a fee (that the legislation may require by provided free if it is to be used for voting … great investment of state funds … we must be in surplus mode).

    This is a “solution” for a problem that has not been proven to exist.

    During the 2008 US Senate recount, it was proven that a number of people falsified absentee ballot forms … many times it was a “helpful” parent. This won’t change that.
    Also, GOPers don’t want to acknowledge Coleman’s attorney Joe Friedberg’s comment during the MN-Supreme Court oral arguments “that there is no evidence of fraud or misconduct”. Yet, all we hear about is ACORN and Ritchie stole the election. (Side comment : Even Coleman now admits that he lost the election when he voted for TARP … which is why 63,203 McCain supporters did not vote for him.)

    Why do Republicans want to burden county election officials with producing more State ID cards and cause more delays in the voting process ? Wouldn’t every one of these voters who offered questionable IDs have to be given a provincial ballot while they defend their identity (your driver’s license has lapsed, you get a new license, now your vote counts) … do they really want a delay in determining elections and certifying winners … Tim Pawlenty could still be governor today if there were provisional ballots being questioned.

    Instead of voter ID, Minnesota should change the laws to allow no-excuse early voting.

    Lastly, after hearing of this effort, one Bush / McCain voter told me that they are taking away her right to vote … that’s right, no ID.

    Take care,

    Mac Hall

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