Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marching to Say No to Voter Restrictions

I spent my Sunday afternoon at a rally and march in Minneapolis, opposing one of the ballot questions facing Minnesota voters this fall.

Woman holding hand-painted sign reading Vote No on Voter ID
The language that will be on our ballots is this:

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?
Seems pretty simple, right? When people are polled on that question, about 70 percent say yes. It seems like common sense, since showing ID doesn't seem like that big a deal.

But the actual amendment to the state constitution is longer and more involved:
All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic identification before receiving a ballot. The state must issue photographic identification at no charge to an eligible voter who does not have a form of identification meeting the requirements of this section. A voter unable to present government-issued photographic identification must be permitted to submit a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot must only be counted if the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by law. All voters, including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.
All of the items I've bolded are problematic, beyond the basic idea of having to have photo ID, who's going to pay for it, and what documents you'll need to present to get one. The Minnesota Secretary of State has a good explanation of the problems with this language.

As one speaker at the rally noted, her White Earth tribal ID, which is good enough for the TSA, will not be good enough because it's not state-issued. College IDs will not be good enough either.

The latter part of the amendment contains terms that require a lot more policy to make them enactable. How will provisional ballots work? What is the "manner provided by law"? How will an absentee voter prove s/he is the voter in a way that's "substantially equivalent" to showing a voter ID?

Woman dressed as a suffragist
Folks at the rally were mostly laid back, but this woman felt moved to dress up as a meaninful historical figure. In case you can't read it, her sign says "Is it 1963? Is it 1912?? Or is it the 21st Century???"

Man holding hand-painted sign reading Voter ID is expensive unnecessary VOTE  NO
Addressing the cost issue.

Woman holding hand-lettered sign reading Voter Fraud Doesn't Exist, Fake IDs Do
Another thought, not addressed by the law.

Woman holding hand-painted sign reading One Citizen One Vote No Barriers
I particularly like this one.

Man holding sign with list of people hurt by requiring voter ID, ending with Helps the 1%
It's a complicated issue and hard to fit on a sign, but this works if you get to read it up close.

Tracine Asberry with microphone, speaking
The rally and march were organized by Tracine Asberry, who's running for Minneapolis School Board, to coordinate with events in the nearby Martin Luther King Park, commemorating the 49th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Man holding hand-made sign reading 'Voter ID' Is the Fraud

Bumpersticker reading VOTE NO VEMBER on both amendments
A bumpersticker that combines both of the statewide ballot questions we'll be facing on November 6.

Woman holding official Vote No on Election Restrictions sign
This is the lawn sign opponents have just produced (signs available here). I like the way it reframes the issue away from "voter ID" to "voter restriction," since that's what it's all about.

Only 77 days until the election!

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