The Inconvenience of Voter ID

Last Tuesday was the final day to pre-register to vote. Right now in Minnesota, you can still same-day register. So those of you who forgot, you still have a last chance. You just have to go to your polling place and verify your residence. For students living on campus voting takes place in the Ballroom and you just needed to present your student ID. For those living off campus, you will need a type of photo identification: student ID, Minnesota drivers license, US passport, etc. Second, some sort of bill in your name with your Duluth address: electric, gas, water, television, etc., or a copy of your tuition statement with your local address. Sounds easy enough. But what will happen if the voter ID amendment passes? This would get rid of same-day registration as we know it. Say you’re a student living off campus and your address on your license is you parents’ home address. Your license won’t work because it doesn’t have your current Duluth address on it, meaning you can’t vote. Maybe you will prepare ahead of time and get a new license with your current address. But the DMV isn’t always quick and easy. You’ll have to provide legal documents of identification, pay a fee, wait for it to come in the mail, complete the process before Election Day, and each time you move you’ll complete the process again.

MPIRG brought Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey to UMD to talk about both amendments based on a civil rights point of view. He talked about if the amendment passes, how a military ID and a tribal ID may not work as a proof of identification. This can harm our military service members who fight for our country that protects these human rights. This can also harm our tribal communities by taking more away from them.

Lindsey also talked about how many rural areas in Minnesota rely on absentee ballots because they are too far away from local polling places. If passed, the voter ID amendment will require people to go their polling place in person to verify their identity. This is not fair to those people who may not be able to present themselves at their polling place.

But what doesn’t make sense is the government hasn’t figured out all the details yet. What identifications will be acceptable? Can you still vote absentee? Can you same-day register? There are too many unanswered questions to let this pass and it takes away from the general public more than giving. Stand with MPIRG and vote NO.

BY Alexa McIndoe

photo originally posted on flickr by brettneilson

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