Protect voter access

Requiring a photo I.D. to vote will unnecessarily suppress turnout.

Daily Editorial Board

Voting in Minnesota is a very easy thing to do. Minnesotans enjoy the flexibility of same-day registration, which only requires basic identification and a piece of mail listing your address within the precinct. 

Despite this leniency when it comes to voting, as the Minnesota Daily has reported in several different articles, voter turnout among students is very low. While itâÄôs encouraging that voter turnout in the United States for the last presidential election was extremely high, turnout for local elections tend to be much lower.

The possibility of requiring a photo I.D. to vote would make voter turnout even lower than it is now.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., introduced a bill in Congress last week that would prohibit states from requiring voters to provide a photo I.D. in order to vote. Ellison introduced âÄúThe Voter Access Protection ActâÄù to remedy what co-author Rep Gwen Moore, D-Wis., calls, âÄúone of the most pernicious forms of voter suppression.âÄù

While there have been rare and small instances of voter fraud in the state, it is not a big enough problem to require a photo I.D. to cast a vote, which would in turn hinder the amount of people going to the polls.

Minnesota should presume that its citizens are able to vote. A law requiring a photo I.D. to vote would, in effect, be assuming that citizens are not eligible to vote and ask them to prove it; the burden of doing so would undoubtedly prevent eligible voters from casting ballots. Encouraging higher voter participation should be a priority for those participating in local elections.

The state should not add more difficulty to the process, but instead encourage Minnesotans to cast their votes with the reasonable process that is already in place for elections.