Clergy coalition opposes voter ID

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Twin Cities religious leaders are launching a multi-faith campaign aimed at defeating the voter ID constitutional amendment.

About 50 clergy members packed a State Capitol news conference today to announce the “Faith In Democracy” campaign, which will reach out to 50,000 voters in the coming weeks. The coalition contends the proposed requirement that all eligible Minnesotans show photo identification in order to vote is a threat to democracy and would prevent thousands of eligible Minnesotans from voting. Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman of Temple Israel in Minneapolis said the amendment is unacceptable.

“People who are a part of my congregation, they will not be able to vote, and I must speak out in their defense and give a voice to them,” Zimmerman said.

Rev. Jerry McAfee of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis and the Minnesota State Baptist Convention described the amendment as a step backward for people of color.

“It is my opinion that voter suppression and voter restriction is shrouded in racism, with connection to poverty as well as those in seniors communities,” McAfee said. “It is sad. It is striking, and it blows my mind that this is an issue that is basically not a problem that’s looking for a problem.”

Voter ID supporters insist that the creation of a new provisional balloting system as part of the amendment will prevent voter disenfranchisement. They argue the requirement is needed to prevent voter fraud.

Photo: Tim Pugmire

  • TW Manley

    Voter Fraud?

    Wendy Rosen, a small-business owner running as a Democrat for Maryland’s 1st Congressional district, quit the race today after her party reported to state officials that she is currently registered for, and has recently participated in, the elections of both Maryland and Florida. WaPo reports:

    “Personal issues have made this the hardest decision that I have had to make,” Rosen said [in a statement.]

    Rosen’s announcement came the same day the state Democratic party released a letter to state Attorney General Douglas Gansler and state prosecutors reporting the allegations against Rosen.

    “The Maryland Democratic Party has discovered that Ms. Rosen has been registered to vote in both Florida and Maryland since at least 2006; that she in fact voted in the 2006 general election both in Florida and Maryland; and that she voted in the presidential preference primaries held in both Florida and Maryland in 2008,” wrote Yvette Lewis, the state party chair. “This information is based on an examination of the voter files from both states. We believe that this is a clear violation of Maryland law and urge the appropriate office to conduct a full investigation.”

    Apparently, the state party found out about the voter-fraud stain on her record and pressured her to resign. She spoke with the Baltimore Sun on Monday, claiming that she just can’t remember whether she voted twice — in the elections of two different states — or not.

    Rosen, a Cockeysville businesswoman who is registered to vote in Maryland, told The Baltimore Sun on Monday that she also registered in Florida, where she owned land, in order to support a “very close friend” running for the St. Petersburg City Council and to vote on local issues there.