Fight Over Minnesota Voter ID Amendment Heats Up

Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012 08:22 AM

By Greg McDonald

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The Minnesota Council of Churches has come out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would require state voters to show a government-issued photo identification before being allowed to cast their ballots.
 
In a statement Tuesday, the council said that while the proposal may look "innocuous" it could end up threatening Minnesotans' right to vote, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
 
"If there ever was a reason to vote, the time is now," Rev. Peg Chamberlain, executive director of the council, said in urging people to reject the amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot. "Vote, to save the right to vote."
 
In addition to requiring voters to show a government-issued voter photo ID, the amendment would set up a new two-step system of provisional voting for people without approved IDs and make changes to eligibility and identity verification requirements for all voters.
 
Republican lawmakers and other supporters of the measure say it would help prevent fraud and would have no effect on legitimate voters. But Democrats and other opponents of the measure, including the council of churches, say voter fraud is not a problem in the state and the amendment would make it tougher for people to get approved IDs and prevent many residents from actually voting.
 
"The voter ID amendment seems innocuous enough," Chamberlain said in the statement. "But when we started to unwrap all that it means we began to see the threat this could pose to the right to vote for tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Minnesotans."
 
As the Nov. 6 election approaches, supporters and opponents have take to air waves to make their points. Both sides are running television ads.

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