Vote no this November on voter ID to keep students actively voting

by Lucy Nieboer — MPIRG member

Election night on campus is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The air seemingly static as it’s buzzing with young people exercising their democratic muscles.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the excitement working with the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group’s nonpartisan Get Out the Vote campaign. Helping fellow students vote in their precincts that night was thrilling.

I am irate that a bill passed through to be on the November ballot that has the potential to dampen this excitement of the democratic process. The indirect poll tax bill would require a government issued photo ID with a current address, which, for most students, changes every year.

The ID would be provided at no direct cost (taxpayer dollars), but how many of us are willing to jump through yet another hoop for just a little red sticker? The reasoning behind the bill is to counteract voter impersonation. There have been zero convictions of voter impersonation in the state of Minnesota. Ever. If it isn’t broken, why try to fix it with discriminatory legislation?

If this constitutional amendment passes, the homeless, elderly, working class and disabled will all be swept under the bureaucratic rug. Without a home, it is impossible to obtain an ID with an address on it. Those who cannot spare the expense of a journey to the DMV, whether because of lack of transportation, cost of transportation, obligations to small children or occupational obligations will also be at a loss.

If, in November, Minnesotans vote to alter the state constitution, requiring a photo ID at the polls, the effects on Minnesota’s student-voter rates (currently the highest in the country) will surely take a harsh downturn.

I was deeply disappointed that this passed on the November ballot, endangering the very active voice that Minnesota students have today. I hope that legislators realize all we want to do is vote.