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Voter ID amendment full of potential problems

October 26, 2012
The Journal

Minnesota voters are being asked this year to approve an amendment that would require voters to show a picture ID in order to vote. The question that will be on the ballot is simple, but the issue is anything but.

Simply stated on the ballot, the question is whether voters should present a government-issued photo ID, and whether the state should provide these IDs free to voters.

Not mentioned on the ballot is the requirement to allow voters without IDs to cast provisional ballots. The amendment doesn't specify how voters will get these IDs, what kind of documentation they will need to get them, how military personnel and absentee voters are supposed to prove their identity. It doesn't say who will pay for these "free" IDS, but we assume it will be the taxpayers. It doesn't mention how much more counties will have to pay to administer this program, provide provisional ballots and followup on these provisional ballots if the voter prove his identity.

This amendment is a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. Proponents of the amendment say it will prevent voter fraud, but Minnesota doesn't have a great deal of voter fraud. Most prosecutions of voter fraud in the state involve convicted felons who have served their time but have not had their right to vote restored, and this amendment will do nothing to stop them. They can still get drivers licenses.

Critics of the amendment say it is politically motivated, and will disenfranchise many eligible voters, especially the poor, senior citizens and students, groups that tend to vote for Democrats.

We see this amendment as a costly bundle of unintended consequences that is more likely to prevent eligible voters from voting instead of thwarting the few cases of fraudulent voting that do occur.

The Journal urges voters to vote no on this amendment.



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