Rep Ellison, Minnesotans Speak Out Against Voter Photo ID

Congressman Keith Ellison wants Minnesotans to go to their precinct caucuses Tuesday night and demand that the right to vote does not carry the precondition of having a government issued photo ID.

Minnesota Republicans are backing a constitutional amendment that would require a photo ID to vote. While it sounds like a simple requirement, Ellison says it is a solution in search of a problem and is aimed at disenfranchising thousands of eligible voters.

Representative Ellison brought forth members of population groups that would be have their votes surpressed if the amendment were to pass. One of those was Mai Thor, a woman who was in a wheelchair. She said in the past few decades barriers to voting for the disabled had been reduced with the passage of the American with Disabilities Act and the Help America Vote act.

But Thor said that voter photo ID would put up new barriers to voting for the disabled. Many disabled people, she said, live in poverty. There are 500,000 disabled people in Minnesota. About 10% or 50,000 do not have a government issued photo ID. There are many barriers to them getting an ID, including basic problems such as no transportation.

Representative Ellison said the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is behind the sudden push in states to require a photo ID to vote. He called the push a deliberate strategy to disenfranchise voters that oppose ALEC’s agenda.

Others spoke out against the amendment.

John Martin explained how photo ID affects seniors and people of color. Cory Baird talked about about how photo ID affects students. Sadik Warfa described about how photo ID affects New Americans.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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