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Valid Or Not? Voter ID Vagueness Causing Confusion

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Charges flew Wednesday over the controversial photo ID amendment.

With only two weeks to Election Day, supporters of the amendment are crying foul, because of a TV ad saying military identification may NOT be accepted.

The ad, by a group opposing the amendment called Our Vote Our Future, features an Iraq war veteran from Minneapolis named Alex Erickson.

“To them, military IDs aren’t valid IDs,” Erickson says. “Which means this amendment takes away basic freedoms from people who gave a whole lot.”

Voter ID supporters got angry.

“It’s a blatant lie,” said Dan McGrath, chairman of ProtectMyVote.com, who demanded the ad be taken down.

McGrath said the amendment is written to cover all forms of government-issued identification, including military.

“Military identification is government issued,” he said.”It has a photograph on it. It comports to the requirement of the amendment.”

But the amendment doesn’t say that.

It only says “a valid government issued” ID, or something “substantially equivalent,” even though supporters say not much will change.

The state now accepts as legal identification a driver’s license, a state issued ID, a passport, or military identification card.

The lack of specifics is causing confusion.

Private college students may no longer be allowed to use their school IDs, they say, because they are not government issued.

And advocates of battered women held a press conference Wednesday to say there’s no provision for them, either.

According to Sasha Cotton, of the Minnesota Coalition of Battered Women: “We want women who are in shelter, who often times leave home with just the clothes on their backs oftentimes not having IDs, not having birth certificates or a social security card to be able to vote.”

Because there are so few specifics in the actual Voter ID amendment, it will be up to the next legislature to work out all the details, including which government IDs will be accepted.

If you’d like to read the Voter ID question that will be on the ballot, and the full text of the constitutional amendment that will not be visible on the ballot, click here.

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