Ellison: Don't Make Voting Harder by Requiring Photo ID

Minnesota's Fifth District Representative opined on Voter ID in Star Tribune.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) wrote an opinion piece in the Star Tribune Wednesday about the effort to require voters to show photo ID at the polling place:

"I went to war for this country, but now I can't vote in this country," said 86-year-old World War II veteran Paul Carroll.

Last week, Mr. Carroll was turned away from his polling place in Ohio because his driver's license had expired in January and his new government-issued Veterans Affairs ID did not include his home address.

Mr. Carroll risked his life to protect our freedoms from the worst evils our world has ever known, but because of a restrictive photo ID law, he could not exercise the very freedoms he fought to protect.

That's just plain wrong.

On March 4, thousands spoke out against restrictive voting laws as they marked the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday—when voting rights organizers were beaten and tear-gassed as they tried to march from Selma, Ala., to the state capitol at Montgomery.

Speaking about the violent struggles many Americans endured to attain the right to vote, my friend and colleague, Congressman John Lewis, who was beaten on that frightful day, rightfully reminds us that "it's important for those that were not even born, not even a dream, to look what happened, know the price that was paid."

Here in Minnesota, a photo ID constitutional amendment is advancing through our state Legislature despite the growing, vocal opposition of Minnesotans from all walks of life.

Just as Mr. Carroll experienced in Ohio, a photo ID amendment in our state would put unnecessary burdens on Minnesotans to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

It would also cost our state millions and drive up local property taxes as cities pay for the new restrictions. This is at a time when thousands are still out of work.

What would photo ID really mean for Minnesotans? Let me put it into perspective.

The number of people affected by this amendment would fill Target Field over 17 times. That includes 215,000 registered voters who don't have a Minnesota driver's license or ID card with a current address on it as well as 500,000 Minnesotans who use same-day voter registration, which would end as we know it.

From its founding, America has always moved in the direction of greater inclusion when it comes to voting rights. Photo ID goes against the very freedoms for which people like Paul Carroll and John Lewis risked their lives.

Our country has gained far too much to turn back and make it harder for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans to vote.

One vote denied would be one too many. And that's a stain on Minnesota that no state legislator should support.


Nancy LaRoche March 18, 2012 at 02:54 AM
If you haven't seen how easy it is to register fraudulently without ID, see how "Tim Tebow" did here in Minnesota: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqMVxeZhflI&feature=player_embedded
Kaiser Soze March 18, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Registering and voting are two different things Nancy.
Nancy LaRoche March 18, 2012 at 02:27 PM
They addressed registering and voting absentee. You see the problems of each when we don't require an ID.
Brie Shultz March 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The truth is, submitting fake voter information is easy, but successfully registering fake people is incredibly difficult, and casting fake votes is even harder. :) http://www.mediaite.com/online/james-okeefes-fake-tim-tebow-voter-fraud-investigation-doesnt-have-a-prayer/ Again, "Voter ID" is a waste of money and time, and still no one who supports it can ID how it will get paid for. My guess is my property taxes?:-P
Kaiser Soze March 18, 2012 at 09:13 PM
People keep mentioning a discrepancy of 17,000 votes in one of the past elections. Where is the proof? Just because Kiffmeyer says there was a difference doesn't mean there was one. She has no proof, and neither does anyone else. She should realize the bulk of those 17,000 votes are most likely same day registration votes.
Nancy LaRoche March 18, 2012 at 09:40 PM
If you don't trust the figures - check the discrepancy numbers with returned registration cards yourself with a Secretary of State audit. More discrepancies from 2008 and 2010 election audits are reported here: http://wewantvoterid.com/documents/2012_PVC_Report_Final.pdf The main issue is that these ballots are cast before they are verified. A voter using a false name can’t be tracked after the fact. Requiring a valid ID and holding ballots as provisional is one common-sense solution, so that they would be counted once verified. Every legally cast ballot would count, and those voting fraudulently would be caught early before their vote cancels a legal voter's.
Kaiser Soze March 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Again Nancy, where does the 17,000 vote number come from. It's not in that document you provided a link for. In fact that document refutes some of your argument in past posts. Your argument lacks integrity. I'm not saying you're not entitled to an opinion, but your argument is off base.
Kaiser Soze March 19, 2012 at 12:48 AM
One thing proponents should realize is that non-citizens can get driver's licenses. When have any of you had to provide proof of citizenship to vote? A birth certificate isn't enough either as many US citizens were born in other countries. When you dig into this, more and more issues surface that any amendment must address. Yet, we are suppose to vote on this constitutional amendment without even knowing what the final version of the amendment will look like. You would think even republicans would be worried about that as democrats might control the legislature again in 2013, which is when the GOP says the details will be worked out?
Nancy LaRoche March 19, 2012 at 04:59 AM
An online search shows the 17,000 number discovered during the 2008 recount (lack of ballot reconciliation). But, the number was higher in a May, 2009 StarTrib article: "He [SOS Ritchie] said the goal was to match voter registration and the certified canvassing board totals within 1,000 names. "You'll never get a perfect correlation between the two," he said. "We were at 40,000 in April. We're at about 30,000 now." http://www.startribune.com/politics/46384897.html?page=1&c=y As to non-citizen drivers licenses, there is a "status check" with a date on it that indicates whether they are a US Citizen, and election judges are trained to check that when registering a voter.
Kaiser Soze March 19, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Still waiting for your source for 17,000 votes, Nancy. Repeating lies doesn't make them true.
Nancy LaRoche March 19, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Kaiser - I will find the data source and repost it here. In the meantime, may I ask why you don't support voter integrity when Minnesota led the nation with voter fraud convictions? http://www.electionintegritywatch.com/documents/2011-Report-Voter-Fraud-Convictions.pdf
Kaiser Soze March 19, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Most of the voter fraud allegations in the MN Majority report are overblown and overexaggerated. You want to know who's really being watched for voter fraud? It's the GOP. That's right, for the past 30 years the GOP has been under court ordered monitoring for the potential of race-based voter fraud. You want a real example of GOP officials who have been convicted of voter fraud? Look no further than Indiana, the state that just passed "Right to Work" legislation. Hmmm... I wonder how that happened.
Kaiser Soze March 19, 2012 at 11:03 PM
MN Majority is a lobbyist group with a clear, partisan political agenda - as does its leader Dan McGrath. Here’s a source from a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/policy_brief_on_the_truth_about_voter_fraud/
Kaiser Soze March 19, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Come on Nancy, admit it - you have a personal political agenda. Your blog is purely partisan so why don't you just admit that this issue is purely political for you? That means much of your position is based on half-truths and hysteria. In the meantime, I'll wait for that original source about the 17,000 votes, and you should brush up on how to be a better election judge to help prevent voter fraud in the next election.
Cathy O March 20, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I'm sorry, Cindy, but if you have an elderly parent or relative, you would understand the difficulty associated with asking our elderly to acquire picture IDs. Many have given up drivers licenses and have been voting their whole life - most in the same district. They frequently suffer ill health or have issues getting others to provide transpiration to the VERY BUSY service centers to stand in line to acquire a 'picture ID' to allow them to exercise their right to vote. Try accompanying an elderly person in ill health through this process and you might have more compassion. Why would we disrespect our elderly this way? They are typically voting where many others could vouch for them at any time; this Nation should not only be for the 'strong' or 'young and healthy'. The actual data does not support that 'voter fraud' is occurring; please don't disenfranchise our elderly!
Cathy O March 20, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Nancy, do you have any elderly relatives or friends? Your responses would indicate you have no understanding of the difficulty imposed by requiring a picture ID of our elderly to vote. Please join us in respecting our valued elders; please let them vote as they have been their entire lives...they deserve to do so....
Cathy O March 20, 2012 at 02:41 AM
That is a poll tax and is unconstitutional. Candace, have you ever accompanied an elderly person to a service center or any kind of appointment where they have to be 'processed' and experience standing in lines and trying to read number screens they can't see and try to get up in time to get to a counter before someone 'clicks to the next person'? If you had, you would never make such a flippant comment. Our elderly deserve our respect and deserve to caste their votes. Please observe the challenges of our elderly in public places...you will soon see...
Cathy O March 20, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Well stated; why would we spend time and money on a problem that doesn't exist --- it has been documented over and over again... Let's spend our time on areas that really are an issue; how about enforcing regulation against speculation to prevent gas price swings for no reason....
Cathy O March 20, 2012 at 02:49 AM
The 'Right to pay less' legislation?
Mike McLean March 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM
You need a photo id to vote in a union election but nit to vote for the office of the President of the US. The unions must be more afraid of voter fraud than the Liberals.
Nancy LaRoche March 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Cathy O: most seniors do have an ID (my mother had a state photo ID as well when she stopped driving). They are required to use an ID to purchase certain items, to travel, to cash a check in most banks. I agree with you that our seniors are valued citizens. Their votes do not deserve to be cancelled out by fraudulent means. Kaiser: I wrote Dan McGrath at MN Majority if he could site where the 17,000 figure came from. He replied "There are three distinct balancing problems. they involve voter receipts vs. signature & ballot counts; voters accounted for in SVRS; and unverifiable (challenged) voters ” Source links are included in their report, where they cited 40,000 in the 2008 election: http://www.minnesotamajority.org/TheIssues/ElectionIntegrity/tabid/188/Default.aspx That number is more disturbing than the 17,000 number I found. You may call me a poorly trained election judge, but we all are trained to abide by our Secretary of State's rules. Voter fraud can not be detected by judges when same-day voter registrants cannot be verified until after the fact. This is not a personal political agenda - as an election judge, I want all eligible voters to vote, and their votes to count.
Kaiser Soze March 20, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Mike McLean - I've been a union member for 20 of the 24 years of work after college. I've never had to use an ID to vote in my local. Stop the lies/untruths! Some national level unions may need an ID, but those that have local elections do not.
Kaiser Soze March 20, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Candance - the 17,000 ballot number is a made up number. Nobody has a real, verifiable number of ballots. Please stop using the GOP/MN Majority talking points, they are mostly fictional.
Kaiser Soze March 20, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Nancy, the number you used has never been verified, has it. Your's is the same problem many people have. People repeat lies and unverified or false information until they believe it themselves, then pass it on as the Gospel truth to support their position. They then fail to see the error of their position, and try to get others to believe it. Talk about building a house on sinking sand! I've read through the MN Majority report. There ARE some things in McGrath's report that both sides of the Voter ID issue can find agreement with, but to say there is widespread voter fraud is completely without truth. Have you read the Brennen Center Report?
Kaiser Soze March 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Nancy, election judges are on the front line for preventing fraud. If you are not verifying same-day voter registrations with photo ID's (and other forms of ID), you may not be following the procedures set up by the Secretary of State (pp. 23-29 of the 2010 Election Judge Guide). I have served (as do both of my parents), and I know it's not the easiest job if done right.
Kaiser Soze April 06, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Dave, you're implying only those who support Democrats cheat; that's a false position to take.
Kevin O'Donovan April 06, 2012 at 03:01 AM
An NBC local affiliate showed approximately one hundred non-citizens registered to vote in Lee and Collier counties. People are called to jury duty based on voter registrations. They claimed to not be citizens in order to escape jury duty. The news clips are at Right Scoop .com. Please note that not all of the voter fraud suspects speak English, some not at all!!! Comprende? lol
Brie Shultz April 07, 2012 at 01:26 AM
How will Voter ID be paid for? You're looking at expanding government and increasing government cost to provide all of these "free" IDs. If it does pass, the legislature will refuse to increase taxes to pay for it, which is fine, but then my property taxes will have to go up to pay for it. Gross.
Brian Anderson June 02, 2012 at 06:23 PM
What's more disgraceful than one veteran being ill affected because of a failure of govt. bureaucracy is countless people taking advantage of the very system that his fellow service men and women died to protect and promote. The problem in that case is the govt. bureaucracy, not the ID requirement. And what's this deal with costing the govt. millions of tax dollars? Do that many people really not have any form of identification? If that's true, first off, since when did democrats ever care about spending money. We can go in debt all we want and now something they don't like and all of a sudden their concerend about the tax payers? What's the deal with that? Going back to the ID thing, if it really will cost millions and dems really care, then how bout we cut spending on numerous entitlement programs and use the money to provide identification.
Mike Marr October 24, 2012 at 01:20 AM
AMENDMENT 2 PHOTO IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?" I not here to tell you what to do - but I urge you to actually read the proposed amendment. Please also be mindful of the fact that only one other state, Mississippi, has changed its constitution to require voter ID. Full text of proposed amendment, House File 2738, can be found here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H2738.3.html&session=ls87


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