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Voter ID Controversy Brewing At The Capitol

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She repor...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — It’s supposed to be an effort to make sure voters really are who they say they are, on election day. But now, an amendment to require ID at the polls is drawing more opposition.

Religious leaders of various denominations gathered at the State Capitol Tuesday to deliver a letter, which opposes the proposed constitutional amendment that would require all voters to show a valid photo ID in order to vote on Election Day.

Republican lawmakers say this voter ID law is necessary to prevent voter fraud.

Religious leaders made an passionate plea, saying this amendment would limit people’s constitutional rights, rather than protect them. They said voter fraud is simply a non-issue.

“Put the evidence forward that shows this is an issue, a problem,” Elder Alfred Babington-Johnson, CEO of the Stairstep Foundation, said. “I think it’s non-existent. There is no voter fraud of any magnitude occurring in the state of Minnesota.”

The secretary of state estimates this would prevent 700,000 to 800,000 eligible voters from being able to cast their vote, including people like seniors, veterans and students.

“I believe in a Minnesota in which all people have a voice,” said Rev. Paul Erickson. “This constitutional amendment to require a photo ID would take away the voice of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Minnesotans. And that’s wrong.”

Eight other states do have laws like this in place, including Wisconsin, which just went into effect.

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