The Voter Restriction Amendment isn’t simple at all. It’s a complete overhaul of an election system that works. It creates an unfunded mandate on local governments, raising property taxes. And it places hurdles in front of eligible Minnesota voters, especially members of the military, seniors and young voters.
Voter Restriction is Wrong For Minnesota. Watch the Video at Our Vote Our Future. Join Our Vote Our Future's campaign against the Voter Restriction Amendment and vote NO.
The Importance of Voting and the Crippling Effects of the Voter Restriction Amendment
Between performances at the Gospel Music Concert in Brooklyn Center on October 26, ministers and leaders in MN nonprofit organizations introduced the concert goers to the history of voting in the U.S. and Minnesota, commented on the devastating impact the Voter Restriction Amendment would have on the Minnesota election process, and encouraged everyone to vote for the candidates who include everyone in their vision for Minnesota and the country. If you missed the concert, you can still watch several of the passionate and insightful presentations on this half hour tape.
Is it true that the Voter Restriction Amendment could drastically reduce Minnesota's stellar turnout which leads the nation more often than any other state? Absolutely! We can't know by exactly how much because so much depends on how the new legislature will fill in the many details left blank. We do have some good hints, however. Election statistics and research shows how voter restrictions affect voter turnout. Minnesota had almost 3 million voters in 2008. We use this figure to keep the math simple.
Provisional Ballots - First of all, Minnesota has same day registration now. Over 540,000 Minnesotans registered and cast their vote on election day in 2008. That would change to provisional voting with the Voter Restriction Amendment. Election statistics show that states with provisional voting have 10% to 12% lower turnout than states with same day registration. A decline of 10% to 12% in Minnesota would mean that 300,000 to 360,000 fewer votes would be cast in Minnesota. This makes the change from same day registration to provisional ballots by far the most important aspect of this amendment.
Will Minnesota go from the state that was a leader in making it easy for all citizens to vote and led the nation in the highest percent of citizens voting to the state which places in its Constitution the highest barriers to voting? Proponents of the Amendment to restrict voting in MN hope so, but we hope Minnesota's voters don't agree.
The MN legislature recently voted to place an Amendment to the MN Constitution which makes it more difficult for Minnesotans' vote to count on the election ballot in November. Called the "Photo ID" Amendment because that's what is stated on the ballot item, the Amendment actually makes far more sweeping changes in MN's election system. Many organizations including the League of Women Voters, Citizens for Election Integrity, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Isaiah, Catholic Charities, and Lutheran Social Services oppose this amendment to the MN Constitution and are asking voters to vote "no."
MN Secretary of State's Press Conference Following Passage to Place Amendment to Change Minnesotans Voting Rights on November Ballot
Mark Ritchie outlined the changes of the MN Constitutional Amendment to Restrict Voting Rights after placing the Amendment on the ballot in the November election was passed by Republicans in the MN House and Senate.
1) He remarked that the biggest change by far is the creation of a new system called provisional balloting. It is the most expensive and most dramatic change.
2) Eligibility to vote would have to be verified on a substantially equivalent basis no matter the date of the application to vote. This involves a 7 step process. Local officials would have to complete the steps before any voter's ballot can be cast or counted. In the last presidential election, 500,000 voters used same day registration. Under the amendment they would have to fill out the provisional ballot and an application for provisional balloting, in addition to showing a government issued photo ID.
3) The Amendment requires substantially equivalent verification of identity for people who vote by mail including absentee voters, military voters, and voters in townships with all mail balloting. There is no definition of what equivalent verification would be. No state has ever done it. We don't know how it would be done. Verification of identity would have to be submitted along with their ballot.
4) In person voters would have to present a government issued photo ID.
Secretary of State Ritchie commented that these are radical changes to MN Voting system. The cost is very high. It will be chaotic especially for local government officials. Watch the 40 minute press conference.
The League of Women Voters created a chart that shows that MN Constitutional Amendment to Restrict Voting Rights does far more than the question that will be on the ballot reveals. Read through the chart for an explanation of the consequences of the Amendment.
In an April 2012 Pioneer Press article, "Voter ID: What lurks in Minnesota's proposed amendment?" Mike Dean, Executive Director of Common Cause, explains that a drastic change in Minnesota's voting system is hidden behind the Voting Rights Amendment. The hidden change is provisional balloting which requires eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted. A provisional ballot is not a real ballot because it doesn't get counted until everything on a registration form is verified or until the voter returns to a county courthouse to show a government authorized photo ID. This could delay the outcome of election races for weeks and results in most provisional ballots never being counted. In the 2008 election, 87% of Indiana's ID related provisional ballots were not counted.