Taking a stand for voter rights

Even if it’s last minute, there are options for polling place injustices.

According to Minnesota Daily reports, hundreds of students were turned away from polls last week because of insufficient identification. The problem largely dealt with students using utility bills for apartment buildings that pay the general bill for everyone and then charge tenants separately. Although Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer was notified of this, she said those utility bills were not proper verification.

After attempting to vote and realizing their identification wouldn’t cut it, some took the case to Hennepin County District Court. They presented their petition to the judge, who overruled Kiffmeyer’s decision. And to accommodate those who were given another chance to properly use their identification, Pratt Community School extended polling hours one hour.

Whether that hour or those students’ votes made any sort of a difference in the election is beside the point. It is likely that many students went to the polls last Tuesday and were turned away because of long lines and confusing verification rules. But some that went way beyond the call of duty. Students realized that there was something wrong with an intimidating process and took the situation a step further to a county judge. This is a clear picture of democracy.

Bringing the voting issue to court was downright noble. Ensuring that people could fulfill their constitutional right and duty on voting day was heroic. The fact that Minnesota offers same-day registration is phenomenal. But let’s use that mentality and not only allow same-day voter registration, but also make the process less complex and confusing.

For the next election, Minnesota students and citizens could benefit from a clearer understanding of the materials needed to register on voting day and possibly added options for proof of residency, such as leases. But if these issue arise next Election Day, we hope that voters will continue to have the courage and insight to bring this issue up with those that can make the situation right.