Who Opposes It
Arne Carlson, Republican Governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999, and Walter Mondale, Democratic Vice President of the United States from 1977 to 1981, recently teamed up to ask us to question why we would cast aside an election system that leads the nation in voter turnout and honesty and institute instead a highly complicated two-ballot system that will cost millions and increase taxes. It will also make voting more difficult so fewer MN Citizens will be able to vote.
They note that the proposed amendment which will greatly alter Minnesota's elections does not have its origins in Minnesota, nor is it based on legislative studies of recent elections. Rather, "it is a product of an organization known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, which is the creation of the Koch brothers, who amassed their fortunes in oil and who live in Florida."
At a press conference with leading clergy members in the Twin Cities September 13, 2012, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman began by stating that she was there to remind us that the Voter Restriction Amendment does not reflect the Minnesota we sought to create. "Voting is a right, not a privilege. This amendment will not allow 215,000 eligible voters to cast their vote. . . It is disheartening that we have to again speak about what we thought we had won 49 years ago."
Jerry McAfee, President of MN State Baptist Convention and Pastor of New Salem Baptists Church in Minneapolis stated that "It is tragic that we would take steps to move backwards rather than move forward. . . It is my opinion that voter suppression and voter restriction is shrouded in racism with connection to poverty as well as those in senior communities . . .
I stand in union with these brothers and sisters across racial and religious lines today to say that the Voter Restriction Amendment is not right. If you are indeed a child of God be it Muslim or Christian or Bahai, whatever it may be, your faith tradition should not allow you to sit by on your beds and couches of ease and allow something like this to take place .
The League of Women Voters MN and Take Action Minnesota list many of the organizations that oppose the Amendment that Restricts Voting Rights. Included in these lists are AARP, Common Cause Minnesota, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Citizens for Election Integrity, Growth and Justice, Jewish Community Action, Minnesota AFL-CIO, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, and the Somali Action Alliance. For complete lists, see the League of Women Voters MN and Take Action Minnesota.
Minnesota religious leaders wrote in a letter they sent to legislators that people of faith view the referendum as an attack on democracy that reduces the number of people who can participate.
"Passage of the proposed referendum would primarily reduce voters of color, the elderly, students, poor and non-English-speaking voters. Effectively this gives more influence to a smaller number of wealthy, privileged and primarily White voters. . .
Additionally, the proposed referendum would reduce the number of poor people who could vote, for it will be people of limited economic resource, limited time and limited mobility who will have most difficulty obtaining voter identification cards. By reducing the number of poor who vote, the proposed referendum seeks to increase the political power and influence of the wealthiest and most privileged classes of our society."