“I think it’s a privilege. It’s not a right,” Minnesota GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers said about voting during an Easter recess radio interview.
He soon backtracked, as opponents of a GOP-sponsored change in voting requirements pounced on his words.Zellers did well to recant. No other individual right is as clearly guaranteed in the state and federal constitutions to all citizens of eligible age and residency. This state’s nation-leading voter turnout attests to how deeply Minnesotans value that promise.
Yet whether intentional or not, Zellers’ misstatement aptly describes the consequences of a GOP initiative that’s likely to land on the 2012 ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment. It would make voting harder for thousands of Minnesotans — those who are already underrepresented at the polls.
GOP legislators here and around the country are making a concerted push to require voters to present a government-issued photo ID card at the polls before registering to vote or receiving a ballot.
Election Day registration using utility bills or the sworn voucher of a neighbor to prove residency, allowed since 1974, would be eliminated. Those who cannot produce a valid ID card on Election Day would be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, then would need to appear at a government office within one week with the requisite ID in order for the ballot to be counted.
Full Article: Voter ID – an idea worse than it seems | StarTribune.com.