Head to Head
Voter ID in Minnesota
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 13:10
Yes to Voter ID
The issue of Voter ID may not be the most interesting issue on the ballot this year, but it is still fairly contentious. Most Minnesota voters know about the Marriage Amendment and the issues pertinent to the presidential elections, but I imagine not many know the ins and outs of the different sides of this issue. While there are good points made by both sides, I propose that voting “yes” seems to be a pretty common sense position to take, despite the potential for negative side effects.
Whether or not voter fraud has actually been a problem for Minnesotans is up for debate, but there have been allegations to be certain. Around the time of the 2008 election cycle, the Hennepin County attorney announced that they had begun an investigation into alleged illegal activities of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) regarding compliance with voting registration rules. ACORN’s name has been involved in several instances where the legality of their actions has been questioned.
Regardless of whether the allegations are true, considering that the batch of voter registration reforms that were alleged to have been thrown away were relevant to the Franken-Coleman election which was decided by less than 400 votes, there’s enough reason to be concerned that whatever actions can be taken to ensure accurate voting should be taken.
Whatever may be the actual state of voter fraud in Minnesota, some claim that “Minnesota is number one in voter fraud,” while others say it is an imaginary, non-existent threat, the issuance of a voter ID would be another measure to ensure the integrity of the voting process. A voter ID card is not a great burden to voters. Most voters will already have or be able to afford an ID; those who aren’t will be provided one free of charge. This card will be the legal right of every individual of voting age, and there is no reason why an individual would not be able to come upon one. Further, the institution of this card would not do away with absentee voting, military right to vote, or day-of-registration voting. If a voter presents a voting ID within a number of days set by the state (6-10), they will have their vote counted as would anyone else. Certainly, it would take as many days for the votes to be counted, but that is a small price to pay to have additional voter security.
This will not be the foremost issue of the election; however, this issue affects the way in which every other position and candidate is determined. Voting is perhaps the most fundamental right of a United States citizen, and so it makes sense that we would do whatever is in our power to protect the integrity of that right. Asking voters to provide proof of their identity and right to vote is a matter of common sense, so long as it does not interfere with that right. Since the possible negative outcomes that those in support of voting “no” assert may be the result of this amendment are not well defined, and it appears that it will not inhibit the right or ability to vote, voter ID makes sense and voters should take the time to answer “yes” to this question on November 6th.
Joshua is a senior majoring in sociology and philosophy.
No to Voter ID
In a country where the important decisions are made by all of the people voting, why would we make it any harder to vote? This amendment would affect all Minnesotans and surely we wouldn’t want to lower the number of people who ultimately have a say in the future of our country.
If this amendment were put into place, everyone who registers on the same day of voting would no longer be able to do that. They would have to register months in advance in order to have their identification ready for the day they vote.
We live in a world of fast paced everything. It’s understandable that people could get too caught up in their lives to remember to fill out the paper work or go down to the DMV.
Presenting an ID could also be a problem for people who don’t have money to afford an ID. Democracy means we all vote for our leaders. That means all of us.
Voting among young people is also not as high as it should be. Children are often referred to as the future of our country-- we should be doing anything to make sure people between the ages of 18-25 vote. With youth voting participation as low as it is (just over 50 percent in the 2008 election), surely we wouldn’t want to do anything to lower this number even more.
This is an unfunded mandate, meaning each county in Minnesota would have to find a way to pay for this by itself. This could mean taxes going up in all parts of Minnesota. Minnesota also has one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation.
Not to mention, voter fraud in Minnesota and in our country is not an influential force in our elections. David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University, says there is a better chance of getting struck by lightning than voter fraud actually affecting the election.
Why would we implement laws that restrict the rights of people to right, to avoid a problem that we don’t have?
Shannon is a freshman majoring in journalism.