The language on the ballot on November 6th is quite simple, voter supression proponents would have you believe. And they are going ballistic because Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (among others) has stated that if this voter suppression amendment passes, the photo ID used to vote must contain the voter’s current address.
Does the voter suppression ballot measure, in it’s entirety and linked to above and here state that a current address on the ID is required to vote? No. So, where did MnSOS Mark Ritchie get the idea that passage of this odious amendment will require a current address? Let’s look!
First, let’s look at what the website of a leading voter suppression proponent states:
The Voter ID amendment simply requires a government-issued identification for voting – this could include a Minnesota driver’s license, state ID, a passport, a military ID, a tribal ID or even an out-of-state driver’s license. The amendment does not require an ID with the individual’s current address; it is only used to verify identity. The Voter ID amendment is silent on residence verification, leaving that to existing statutes. A voter may verify identity with photo ID, and if the address on the ID is not current, statutes allow verification of residence in the precinct with a utility bill, among other options. (emphasis added)
“The Voter ID amendment is silent…” Well, yes, it is. But, the bill proposed by the GOP that wound it’s way through the legislature – eventually vetoed by Governor Dayton – certainly wasn’t!
You can link here to Senate File 509, otherwise known as the Voter Suppression Amendment; this link follows the “progress” of this odious bill (and it’s companion in the House, HF 210) from introduction through Governor Dayton’s veto.
And you can link here to read the entire bill.
I’m going to highlight a few key items to highlight that while that odious amendment on the ballot doesn’t require an address, that’s exactly what the proponents proposed to do, and given time and power, that’s exactly what they WILL do. Let’s look at a screenshot from the Journal Of The Senate on May 18th, 2011:
OK, see that part highlighted, to the right? It reads: “(1) a Minnesota driver’s license, state identification card, or voter identification card issued under section 171.07 that contains the voter’s current address of residence in the precinct;” (emphasis added). It’s quite clear of the intent of the authors of this odious amendment that the Photo ID had to have a current address on it.
Let’s take a closer look at some more of this section:
“Subd. 2. Photo identification….” Here’s the cut ‘n pastes from this subdivision: “(1)…that contains the voter’s current address of residence …” & “(2)(i)…that contains the voter’s current address of residence …” & (3)…the voter’s current address of residence…”
It’s clear; the authors intend that Minnesota Law require a photo id to have the voter’s current address on it – if they get their way.
Governor Dayton is trying his best, to make sure they don’t. Let’s look at his veto message the the GOP-controlled legislature:
“Dear President Fischbach:
With this letter, I am vetoing and returning Chapter 69, Senate File 509, a bill requiring voters to provide photo identification with their current address before receiving a ballot, establishing a new provisional voting system, and making other changes to election administration. (emphasis added).”
Everybody at the Capitol knew EXACTLY what the GOP Majority in the House and Senate was trying to do – require a current address on a photo ID for it to be “acceptable” – with very few exceptions and military ID wasn’t one of them.
It is quite disingenuous for the voter suppression proponents to claim now, anything else.
My only quibble with what MnSOS Mark Ritchie said, that passage of this odious amendment would require an ID with current address, is it didn’t qualify it with a “sooner or later” after it.
Because clearly, that’s what these right wing extremists want to do. Passage of this amendment will be bad enough (adding an unfunded mandate to local governments is only the start), sooner or later these right wing extremists will make it worse.
More on this odious voter suppression amendment, later – including it’s effects on voting by active duty military stationed outside of Minnesota. Stay tuned!
And in the meantime, remember: You Couldn’t Trust The GOP Then, You Still Can’t Now, And Tomorrow Won’t Be Any Different.