Democracy for All? The Barriers of Voter ID

Uploaded by LWVmn1920 on 14.03.2012

Voting is every American’s constitutional right.
However, this basic right is in danger.
A proposal has been made to require every voter in Minnesota to show a photo ID on Election Day.
Your photo ID would have to be issued by the state of Minnesota.
More importantly, it would have to show your current address.
This requirement would prevent some citizens from voting
like the elderly, the disabled, college students
minority groups and low income citizens
citizens who have lost their homes due to the housing crisis.
These citizens are less likely to have a valid photo ID, especially with their current address on it.
Minnesota’s election system is one of the best in the country.
Showing a photo ID is unnecessary because Minnesota’s election system is sound.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.
By the time that women - Nineteenth Amendment was passed, thirty states allowed women to vote
but not all states so that was why it was essential that it be done at the federal level.
The National Woman’s Suffrage Association was founded in the late 1860s by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
At the same time the American Woman’s Suffrage Association with Julia Ward Howe
and Lucy Stone was formed, and so those two groups began to work all around the country
educating people and getting people to understand that it was women’s turn for women’s suffrage.
One of the things that has always been compelling about this story for me
is how so many people worked so long and so hard
for seventy-two years to get women the right to vote, and many of those women did not live to see it happen.
In the early ‘50s, um, attempts had already been made to secure the right the vote, to secure-
when I say secure it, what I mean is that we had the right to vote, we weren’t allowed to exercise it.
As Dr. King came into the movement, it was really critical to encourage people to take these terrible risks to vote, and they did.
Sharecroppers, middle-class folks, poor folks, black folks took their lives in their hands to exercise the vote.
The passage of the Voting Rights Act was so critical to the African American community,
because you have to understand that after slavery,
and because of slavery, we outnumbered white people in most southern towns.
And you see, so suppressing the vote was really critical to controlling the vote.
It is important to not only have the legislation but to also have the public will to see that it is carried forth,
so we have not only the law, but the spirit and the intent of the law.
Voting is not a privilege, it is a constitutional right.
The right to vote is protected by more constitutional amendments,
the First, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments, than any other right that we enjoy as Americans.
Along with being costly to implement and completely unnecessary,
these bills will deny the vote to United States citizens by adding to the difficulty of same day registration
and by requiring registered voters to provide a current, government-issued photo ID.
And they will exclude some very specific groups.
Requiring photo ID is not only an unnecessary waste of scarce public resources and another unfunded mandate on local governments who are already struggling;
it’s a barrier that could result in countless Minnesotans being denied their right to vote.
Today’s students are tomorrow’s educated citizens and workers.
It is essential that we engage them today to ensure that Minnesota continues to lead the country in voter participation.
If we make it more difficult for them to vote now, what message are we sending to them about our desire for them to be active and engaged citizens of the future?
Our state is too good to play politics with democracy.
Uh, Minnesota traditionally, since we went to election day registration in 1973,
has had the highest rate of voter participation in, uh, in federal elections for the entire period after that.
I think there are three things that are important to me as far as, uh, you know, conducting an election systematically.
Number one is accuracy. I think the public expects us to be one hundred percent accurate one hundred percent of the time,
and although that probably is not, uh, a realistic goal in the real world, that is the goal toward which we are striving.
Number two, the system should be accessible-
It needs to be, uh, available to the public, that, uh, that we want to make sure everyone who is eligible to vote is able to vote.
And then third, uh, the system should be transparent.
Uh, that, uh, whether it’s a voter, candidate, someone from a political party, uh, should be able to see what’s going on at every stage of the election process,
and that we should be able to verify, uh, everything that we’re doing as a part of the election, uh, after Election Day is over.
And I think the— the fact that we had the two state-wide recounts in 2008 and 2010,
uh, is pretty good evidence that, uh, that we’re doing just that
and that we were able to satisfy the— the parties involved,
that the process we used to conduct both of those elections was, uh, was according to the law.
In 2010, the Nobles County attorney stated that some people expressed concerns about illegal immigrants voting,
but he hadn’t had a single documented case of this reported to him.
Americans are killed by lightning more often that they’re victimized by any sort of fraud that ID stops.
I’m not sure that voter fraud and photo ID should be used together in the same sentence.
I think they’re used together a lot, um, but I’m not convinced that there is a good reason to do so.
Why is that? There’s no evidence that we have a problem with voter fraud.
Moreover, as a solution to voter fraud, you need to - you need to look at a few things:
what is voter fraud? Is voter fraud a problem? What is the nature of that fraud and what is the solution?
Photo ID, as a solution, what it does for us, is when you go to the polls,
it’s a way for someone to look at a picture and look at the name in the poll book, and see if in fact you are the same person
that is presenting themselves to vote as who is written in the poll book, which means that the only kind of fraud that protects against
is if someone’s presenting themselves as somebody else, and that’s called voter impersonation.
There is no evidence that voter impersonation is a problem anywhere in this country. Photo ID isn’t the fix.
What they’re doing by signing the roster is, uh, swearing to us under oath, under penalty of perjury, that they are who they say they are,
that they live where they say they live, that they have been a resident of the state for the-the required period of time,
that they are a citizen of the United States, that they’re eighteen years old, and that they acknowledge that, uh, if they give us any information that is false,
that they are liable to a fairly severe criminal penalty which is up to five years imprisonment or $10,000 fine, or both.
I feel that voting gives each of us a voice, that-that we can express ourselves through voting.
The reason it would be harder for a person with a disability to vote is, one, they have to have their PCA have time to get them ready to go vote.
The second thing is transportation. They have to schedule transportation to get to the office to go and vote.
The third thing is financial; finding the money and the resources to go and vote.
So any barrier that we put up, um, that might cost someone money is going to be a problem for many people with disabilities,
most of whom are low-income, and many of us are not employed at all.
Since I turned eighteen, I moved twelve times.
Um, I went to school on the East Coast and did a couple internships around the country and have just lived,
basically, every six months prepared to pack my bags and move someplace else.
The last time I moved, um, was right around the election season.
I was living in one neighborhood during the primary and moved on September 1st to a different neighborhood, so I voted in a different precinct for the general election,
um, so it was a very quick turnover, um, but I was fortunate that the mechanisms in place gave me no hassle,
that I could vote without having a photo ID that had those temporary addresses, um, and I could very easily register myself and my new roommates.
One election day, I vouched for several moms I know who are staying in emergency shelter, a few floors just below me.
One mom voted for the first time in years, and it made her feel extremely happy to finally feel a part of society.
People lose their housing for so many reasons that are out of their control;
renters get foreclosed on, jobs are lost, and domestic violence and divorce, just to name a few.
But when people are homeless, and they still show up to vote on election day, they’re saying, “I’m working to make my life better, and I refuse to give up.”
When moms are fleeing abusive partners, they are thinking about their children,
not about packing documents or other forms of identification.
Hundreds of Minnesotans who are eligible to vote simply are too poor to afford stable housing.
Minnesotans in poverty should not lose the right to vote.
The World War II veterans are-are from eighty-five to ninety-five years old, you know, and, uh, or older, but, uh, for them to have to come up with an ID,
I don’t think that’s-that’s the thing to do.
Not at all.
It, uh, it just all of a sudden tells you, “Well, we’re not sure about you.”
You know, uh, I’m sure I didn’t fight this war so I could show you when I’m eighty-five years old that I am a veteran and a citizen of the United States.
I think I’ve proven that all the way through, that I am.
And it would be so wrong, it would be so wrong if I’m a voter in Washington County and I’ve been a voter in Washington County since 1973,
and all of a sudden in 2011, I go to vote and I don’t have identification with me, and therefore I cannot vote.
Uh-uh. You can’t do that to a person.
One of my concerns about seniors, um, and photo IDs—people who are shut-ins, they don’t have the transportation to even go and get the photo ID if they’re able to.
Um, they don’t have—they have to pay to get where they’re going, um, to get the photo ID. It’s just a difficult thing.
I don’t have a state ID with my address in St. Cloud on it. My address from Rochester’s on it.
I’m from the cities, so I live here in St. Cloud and I have my St. Cloud address here and it’s not, it’s not going to work, obviously, for me,
then that would, you know, discourage me from going to vote if I can’t do it.
Voting should be fair to all citizens of the United States, and I have to admit I’ve become more aware of those restrictions since I have become more restricted.
A 2006 survey showed that eleven percent of voting-age citizens do not have a current, unexpired, government-issued photo ID.
Percentages among certain groups: eighteen percent of those aged sixty-five and over,
fifteen percent of those earning less than $35,000 per year,
twenty-five percent of African Americans,
eight percent of white Americans,
eighteen percent of those aged eighteen to twenty-four do not have photo ID with their current address and name.
Supporting documents to obtain a Minnesota photo ID, at present, include certified birth certificates that cost $26,
and certified copy of marriage license, if a person’s birth certificate doesn’t match the name because of marriage, uh, so they may need that, and that costs $9,
so, in many cases supporting documents could cost $35.
The fact that the majority feels that certain people shouldn’t have certain rights has almost always been a black eye on our nation’s history.
And history has always born out that we are better off expanding the franchise, we are better off having more Americans participating in the entire process
so we’re all representative, we’re all self-determinative, we’re all part of the political process.
And, so when we look at popular statistics and say, “Well more people want it than don’t,” well when more people aren’t impacted than don’t…
not sure that that is the best test for eliminating rights for individuals, to undermining the rights of the minority.
I care.
I care.
I care.
I care.
I care.
I have voted.
I have voted.
I have voted all my life.
Voting is important to me.
Voting is important to me.
Voting is very important to me.
I want to continue to vote.
I want to continue to vote.
Voting is my constitutional right.
Voting is my constitutional right.
I will vote.
I will vote.
I will vote.
I will vote.
Voting is fundamental to our democracy.
Voting is fundamental to our democracy.
I will continue to vote.
I will continue to vote.
I will continue to vote.
It works.
It works.
It works.
Every citizen who wants to vote should be able to vote.
Every citizen who wants to vote should be able to vote.
I oppose voter ID.
I oppose voter ID.
I oppose voter ID.
I oppose voter ID.
I oppose voter ID.