Voter ID Amendment Restricts Minnesota’s Student Vote

Students and administrators at Macalester College, and other private schools in Minnesota, worry that the Voter Restriction Constitutional Amendment on this November’s ballot could deny students the right to vote with their Student ID cards since they aren’t officially issued by the state. Meanwhile, U-Cards from the University of Minnesota, which is a public university, could continue to be accepted at on-campus voting booths, thus creating an unequal system of voting rights among college students.

That would disenfranchise students at Macalester College and other private schools, and discourage students from out-of-state from voting in Minnesota elections, say Fabiola Gutierrez, a native of State College, Pennsylvania, and currently a junior at Macalester. “From what I hear it’s going to be harder for out-of-state college students to get to vote here in Minnesota,” says Gutierrez. “I’m generally against the entire bill because it would be a huge inconvenience for me.”

“What you’re doing is targeting students who don’t have state IDs but have a legitimate photo ID from a legitimate institution,” echoes Sam Humleker, who’s also a junior at Macalester. “I think the chance of (going to vote) with a forged state ID is a lot more likely than going in with a forged college ID.”

Ironically, the system by which Macalester College students show a government-issued Photo ID such as a driver’s license or a passport in order to acquire their Student ID cards is very similar to the process by which University of Minnesota students acquire their U-cards. In the above video, Macalester Card Services Manager Onenee Saloka shows exactly how Macalester College students receive their Student ID cards.

“My personal thinking is that (the voter restriction amendment) will restrict the ability of our students to vote,” says Saloka. “We use a similar process that U-M uses. It would be a disservice to our students if they are not able to use their ID cards as valid for voting.”

“I’m exercising my rights as an American citizen,” says Sam Humleker. “Limiting that in any way is putting into question somebody’s citizenship.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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