Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Voter Identification Amendment seeks to change the constitution to require all voters to show a photo ID before voting.
A recent poll said that more than half of Minnesota voters back the voter ID, but support is down.
Supporters of the amendment says its all about protecting the integrity of an election.
Republicans and independents back the proposal strongly — it passed the legislature this year without one single DFL vote.
People on the other side of the issue say it’s all about voter suppression, and silencing the votes of people more likely to vote Democrat.
Ninety-two-year-old Ophelia Moss and 83-year-old Clara Gilreath take their right to vote seriously.
Moss has voted in every presidential election since President Roosevelt.
These ladies belong to a group of Minnesotans who are fearful that the voter ID amendment will suppress voters, especially the elderly, students and people of color.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer sponsored the amendment.
She says negative misinformation that claims certain people won’t be able to vote, is misleading.
“Everybody has to prove who they are with a photo ID is the essence of it,” Kiffmeyer said. “Everyone will still be allowed to vote — vote by mail, absentee voting, military voting, registering to vote on Election Day — what we’re taking away is vouching we won’t be able to do vouching.”
Supporters say it will improve election integrity and reduce voter fraud.
“You have 2.8 million people voting,” Kiffmeyer said. “How do you know they are who they say they are without an ID?”
Others disagree with any legislation that makes it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote.
MsNikol Miller works for Minnesota Neighbors Organizing for change, a nonprofit trying to defeat the voter ID amendment.
“It’s just a way to alienate voters,” she said. “It’s not solving any problem, it’s not creating any positive change, it’s just creating problems.”
She says if it passes it will move us to a place no Minnesotan should want to go.
“They are intentionlly trying to marginalizee other voters and create an opportunity for apartheid,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for just a certain group of people to make decisions for the masses and this is just one step in that direction.”
Kiffmeyer says there are still more than 6,000 votes not counted from the 2008 election because the identity of the voter could not be verified.
Opponents say there is very little issue of fraud in elections in Minnesota and this amendment could be seen as targeting a segment of the population that came out in numbers in 2008.