October 2012

The Board of Directors of Humanists of Minnesota has studied the issues raised by the Voter ID amendment which will be on November’s ballot and has urged all Minnesotans to vote NO. As Scott Lohman, president of the association said, “Minnesota has shown that our voter system is sound and functions well. The Franken recount showed that in a close election, we can trust the process. Requiring a photo ID does nothing but add to it. “ The Board members give three reasons for their call to action:

First, they believe requiring photo ID is unnecessary. Citing the MN Secretary of State’s document “Safeguards in Minnesota’s Election System,” they noted 14 specific checks that are done before, during and after election day. The current system weeds out multiple classes of potential voting irregularities. These include votes by felons, non-citizens, address inconsistencies and listed deaths. Furthermore, election judges monitor the voting itself and after the election the system verifies the votes cast.

Second, the Humanists note that requiring photo ID would burden the taxpayers with costs in the tens of millions of dollars to create the IDs, expand ID issuing facilities, and hire personnel. Also, additional cost would be borne by anyone who was forced to produce documents needed to verify their identity. Those include birth certificate, marriage license, and name change forms. Transportation costs and time off work to show these documents to the county auditor‘s office would also impact provisional voters.

And third, the requirements forced on citizens who have no current photo ID would suppress voter turnout and make voting more difficult for many. The Secretary of State has estimated that hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans would be affected by this new process. Especially burdened would be persons with disabilities, the homeless, the elderly, students living away from home, the poor, those living overseas, deployed military personnel and those for whom English is a second language.

To stop unneeded alterations to the constitution, in the interests of avoiding more taxes and to continue Minnesota’s fine history of voter participation, Humanists of Minnesota urges a NO vote on the amendment.

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