Minnesotans react to PA voter ID ruling

Supporters and opponents of Minnesota’s voter ID constitutional amendment are reacting to today’s court ruling in Pennsylvania.

A judge in Pennsylvania blocked that state’s photo identification requirement from going into effect this year. Judge Robert Simpson said he was not convinced that every voter would be able to get a valid ID by Election Day.

In Minnesota, voter ID foes issued a news release that noted Pennsylvania’s law is far less restrictive than what’s proposed here.

“Minnesota has the highest voter turnout in the nation, but if this amendment passes it will become the most restrictive, more restrictive than the voter restriction system called into question by the judge in Pennsylvania,” said Our Vote Our Future Campaign Manager Luchelle Stevens. “On Nov. 6, Minnesotans will block this poorly written and costly amendment just as Judge Simpson did this morning with the Pennsylvania law.”

Stevens’ counterpart, Dan McGrath of the pro-amendment campaign organization Protect My Vote, offered sympathy to the people of Pennsylvania.

“The will of the people, the will of the legislature has been thwarted by this one activist judge, who has really only accomplished delaying the implementation of voter ID there,” McGrath said. “The people don’t have the protection they expected for this coming election.”

If Minnesota voters pass the voter ID constitutional amendment, McGrath said it will be protected from what he termed as “court meddling.”

  • kathi Malone

    I am so sick of the government meddling in our rights. Again, it is another fruitless amendment that meant more money to spend on those mail in precincts and small communities where many people can’t afford the cost of ID. It is restrictive and obviously a plan by the Republicans to disenfranchise low income voters.

  • Max Hailperin

    Dan McGrath seems to have reached for the standard “one activist judge” retort without paying any attention to who Robin Simpson is or under what circumstance he ruled.

    Judge Simpson was elected to the Commonwealth Court as a Republican but is described as “not a political animal in any sense” and “not a judge who is outcome-driven” according to his (and my) home-town paper: http://bit.ly/NCraJH

    He initially green-lighted the photo ID requirement for November; his current ruling comes only after the case was sent back to him by the Supreme Court. That Court is evenly divided, 3 justices each being Democrats and Republicans. (One seat is vacant.) Of those 6 justices, not a single one accepted Simpson’s initial ruling. The two dissenters thought there was already enough evidence to enjoin the law, whereas the majority of 4 sent it back to Simpson, but gave him very clear marching orders, which he followed.

    I can’t think of much that would be further from “one activist judge.”

  • Elizabeth

    The argument that an ID is costly for low income people is comical considering that A) it lasts for 4 years, and B) seniors are charged $11 and everyone else $17.25. That amounts to $2.75/yr for the senior and $4.31/yr for everyone else. If you want to calculate further, it’s 23 cents a month for the senior and 36 cents a month for all the rest.

    Yes, shelling out the full amount in a month will sting the pocket book for someone on a tight budget, but that is why you save over a period of time. The ability to save vast amounts per month is limited by your income, but the ability to save a quarter a month or two quarters is a different story.

    And those supposedly disenfranchised low-income people, many of whom are seniors and minorities? I’ve yet to meet one who doesn’t have an ID unless they just turned 18 and don’t know how to drive.

    You need an ID to do a lot of things that low-income and high-income people share, including renting a place to live and opening a checking account.

    Out of any group, seniors are the most organized when it comes to things like having an ID. I would like to see someone show that there is a disproportionately large percentage of MN seniors who do not have a current ID AND are planning to vote. Let’s be honest, not everyone cares to vote.

    And the old argument of disenfranchising minority groups is getting old when it comes to mundane things like this. I am one of those supposedly disenfranchised groups, unless being Hmong and Asian is now not considered classed under that.

    I don’t find it racist to go get an ID, I don’t find it racist to show my ID at my pre-dominantly white, small town polling station. In fact, my very first time voting for anything political, I had my drivers license in hand to check in for voting and the roster keeper gave me a weird look, as if what I was doing was abnormal. I was astonished that I didn’t have to show any proof of who I was.

    I find that if I have to show an ID to sit for the SAT/ACT, then I can show an ID to vote. If I have to show a birth certificate to be president of the United States, then I can show an ID to vote for said president.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    Elizabeth, you’re young and it’s understandable that you don’t have the life experience to comprehend the problem here. The reason the roster keeper gave you a “weird look” when you offered your ID is that you had already proved who you were, when you registered to vote, and nobody impersonates another voter at the polls. Nobody.

    Voter impersonation is a crime, and who would risk a criminal penalty just to cast a single vote? Would you? Of course not. And nobody does.

    The problem is that somebody in a nursing home or care facility may be just too tired or sick to go out and get an ID. The problem is that a student may have just moved and their new picture ID hasn’t come in the mail yet. The problem is that a single mom, raising kids, just won’t find the time to go out and get an ID.

    The problem is not that any single individual can’t get an ID. The problem is that getting an ID will be a barrier to a significant number of people, and some of them will be too tired or sick or discouraged, or won’t find the time, or will forget until it’s too late to go out and get their ID.

    That’s what the backers of this amendment are counting on. It’s not a solution for a problem, because there is no problem. It’s a cynical, political numbers game. The backers of the amendment know that it will keep a certain number of people from voting, and they know from demographics that the majority of those people will tend to vote for Democrats. So they’ve invented this solution-without-a-problem to try to keep people from voting, and for no other reason.

    Elizabeth, you’re young and idealistic, and that’s a good thing. But you will learn that people in politics will try to mislead you, and that’s what the people pushing this amendment are trying to do. Don’t be misled. Voting is the right of every citizen. Be on the side of your fellow citizens, Elizabeth. Vote NO on this phony “Voter ID” amendment.

  • Jamie

    Elizabeth, your thinking is rather narrow. There are many, many people who cannot afford to save a buck and a half a month to eventually pay for an ID. There are many people who will also have to pay to get a copy of their birth certificate, but can’t afford that either. There are many people, especially elderly, who never had a birth certificate because they were born at home and the neighbor lady or an aunt acted as a midwife, and there was no paperwork.

    There are many people who are disabled and can’t get around to go and get an ID. There are many people who can’t afford to, or their boss won’t let them, take time off work to go and wait in a two-hour line to get an ID.

    And are you willing to have your taxes increased in order to pay for this multi-million dollar endeavor? Someone’s gonna have to pay for it.

    Also, nobody has said that “it’s racist” to go and get an ID or to show an ID. Race comes into the equation when you consider that poverty afflicts people of color at a higher rate than it does caucasian people.

  • Elizabeth

    Voter ID is necessary to support the integrity of the vote for future generations.

    It’s not a matter of “little to no fraud” having been found, it’s the fact that not 100% of any population is honest at any activity. I would rather put a measure in place that doesn’t allow ANY politician to use “fraud” as a reason to drag out the results of an election, than have middle-age men swing insults at each other while a senate seat sits vacant for months and constituents are left to flounder.

    Realistically, the most simplistic measure to validate a vote and which requires minimal educating of the public is showing a government ID. Everyone knows how to get one; everyone knows how to use it. It’s common and uniform.

    I would rather be pro-active than reactive when it comes to the importance of the vote. No one ever gave a thought to the validity of voting ballots either until the debacle that was the hanging chad. We don’t need another Supreme Court case on “mystery chads” 20 years down the line.

    I hope my Yes vote prevents future politicians from grabbing at futile reasons to spend more time in court fighting each other, than in session fighting for the state and country. I am fighting for the integrity of my vote and not airing petty feelings that my integrity as a person is being questioned.

    Ralph – I was pretty sure someone would pull out the “you’re young, pat on your head” argument and you were my guy. Here’s my view on it – I’ve seen what politicians of your generation are doing in DC and in MN and it’s not impressive. There’s a lot of talk but little work, and this country was built on hard work and not the ability to coin “flip flop” as a political term. Democrats would have me believe there’s no issue with Medicare, and Republicans want me to believe that everything negative is the result of the Taliban.

    I am not letting politicians “sway” or mislead me on this topic, if I did so I’d be old school and vote down the line even if I didn’t really back the person or measure.

    Proudly Independent. The new generation of voters.

  • Ralph Crammedin

    Elizabeth, there are so many factual and logical errors in your post, it’s impossible to respond to every point. Let’s just focus on the central one.

    “I am not letting politicians “sway” or mislead me on this topic, if I did so I’d be old school and vote down the line even if I didn’t really back the person or measure.”

    No, you’ve not just let someone “sway” you. Rather, you’ve swallowed hook, line and sinker, a politician’s fallacious line of argument that’s totally disproved by the facts. There is no fraud, but there will be plenty of people who lose their vote because people like you choose to take it away from them.

    When I pointed out that politicians would try to mislead you, I wasn’t talking about those you tend to disagree with. The folks for whom it will be easiest to sell you the snake oil are going to be those who tell you how much they agree with you. You’ve been fooled, Elizabeth, and it’s sad that you’re too proud to consider that possibility.

    As far as “patting you on the head” goes, Elizabeth, naive and innocent is endearing. Naive and arrogant, not so much.