My family has been active in the military since at least the Civil War. They fought, were battered and bruised or died for the United States of America. They sought to uphold the freedoms that we enjoy as citizens of a democratic nation. One of those rights and privileges is a “free and fair” election process. Women and people of ethnic diversity were only awarded those rights during the past 100 years and now there is a proposed Minnesota Constitutional Amendment that would disproportionately affect these people. Our ancestors would be appalled.
Yes, it is a nice concept to have every voter display photographic identification when they cast a ballot. However, a photo ID is difficult to attain for many people. My parents were born on the farm and didn’t obtain birth certificates until they needed a passport to travel. Many elders are in that situation; it would be nearly impossible to prove that they were born in the US. An estimated 140,000 Minnesotans who are completely qualified to vote would not have access to the polls. The blood of my ancestors would have been shed in vain.
Also troubling are the additional provisions of the amendment. As a Head Election Judge for several years, I observed how important same-day registration was for voters. First, many people move after the pre-registration date (October 15th of this year) and would be disqualified if this amendment passes. Second, members of the military (which includes my family) would be forced to do a two-step ballot and there is a high probability that their vote would never be counted. What a terrible irony. Third, county governments would be forced to locate money to pay for items required by the amendment. Not exactly fiscally prudent, now is it?
Finally, it is very uncommon to have a contested campaign conclusion. Very few campaigns end with a close vote. Technically, the opportunity for an “illegal” vote to sway the result of an election is miniscule. I’m willing to take that risk to ensure access for all the people who would have trouble attaining a photo ID and for multitude that would be barred by the other provisions of the amendment. That is why I will mark NO on the Anti-Voting Amendment in Minnesota on November 6th, 2012.
Two NOs make a Right!
© 2012 Ima B. Musing