Wisconsin veteran ID controversy highlights concerns about MN's voter ID amendment

Categories: Voter ID
gil paar.jpg
Paar refused to vote after an election judge rejected his veteran ID.
Gil Paar, an elderly veteran living in Racine, Wisconsin, wanted to use his veteran ID card as proof of identification when he tried to cast his ballot in a local school board election this winter. But an election judge shot him down, pointing out that Wisconsin's voter ID law requires voters to have a state-issued ID.

Paar has a driver's license, but was so upset by the snub that he decided not to vote at all.

"Like I say, it's the principle of the thing," he said, according to a report in The Raw Story. The veteran ID "is good enough for everything else, but it amazes me that it's not good enough to use as ID to vote ... it pisses me off."

Shortly after the school board election, Wisconsin's voter ID law was blocked by two separate state appeals courts in Dane County. The courts ruled the law is unconstitutional because it abridged the right to vote.
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Here's how Minnesota's ballot question is worded: 'Should the constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid identification to vote?'

So if Paar decides to vote in Wisconsin's upcoming recall election, he should again be able to use his veteran ID as proof of identification, despite the fact that he wasn't able to do so just two months ago. And that, says Mike Dean of citizens' lobby Common Cause Minnesota, is exactly why Minnesota's voter ID amendment is such a bad idea.

"The ballot question is going to be litigated for years," Dean said, adding that Common Cause is planning to file a legal challenge against Minnesota's ballot question before the November election.

Minnesota's voter ID amendment doesn't specify whether veteran IDs are an acceptable form of identification -- the ballot question simply states that voters must have "valid identification." If the amendment is approved, the question of what constitutes a valid, government-issued ID -- whether college IDs from state universities count, or tribal IDs -- would be decided by the legislature during the 2013 session.
Mike Dean Common Cause.jpg
Dean argues that because Minnesota's voter ID ballot question is so vague, Minnesotans don't really know what they're voting to approve.


"It's deceptive and misleading," Dean said, speaking of Minnesota's ballot question. "We don't know what sort of ID system we're going to have, so voters don't know what they're passing."

In addition to objecting to the question's vagueness, Dean also points out that situations like the one unfolding in Wisconsin -- where the election rules have now changed twice since 2010, with more changes possibly on the horizon -- make election judges' jobs extremely difficult.

"Election judges have to be constantly updated on the rules and regulations, and you're going to see lots of problems," he said. "Wisconsin is a window into the problems we're facing if the ballot question unfortunately passes."


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12 comments
East Coast Doug
East Coast Doug

How hard is it?  You need a state/US id to buy cigarettes, liquor, drive a car, go on a plane trip, cash a check, open a bank account, go to a doctor/clinic (they ask for mine), apply for a job. 

Where is this mythical person than does none of this?   If you can't meet the minimum requirements - I doubt you are fit to vote!  

Voting needs to mean more than just showing up. 

David Brooks
David Brooks

If Voter ID passes will the state have to retroactively pay for all IDs? If a poll tax is, in essence, a tax levied on voting, then wouldn't me paying $20 for my ID a few years ago be that tax? I did pay for my ID and I need that ID to vote, thus I paid $20 for the right to vote over a certain period of time.

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

Paar has a driver's license, but was so upset by the snub that he decided not to vote at all.He was not turned away, he was pissed and he decided to NOT Vote.

Guess he didn't feel his vote was important. More likely a democrat, he wanted to complain. If he really wanted to vote he could have. He then could have taken this up with the legislators to change the law.

I bet that same ID can't be used to buy liquor, to give to a police officer when speeding, to get books from the library...

swmnguy
swmnguy

As usual with these radical-right proposals, they didn't think them through before jamming them down everyone's throats.  They don't believe in governance, so they don't think it's worth bothering.  They think the entire purpose of governing is to have power, and to use it to benefit one's self and one's cronies. So that's how they treat governing.  They don't bother to look at the real consequences of their actions, because they don't care.  The purpose is to discredit government, enrich themselves, and cause people to lose faith in the very idea of representative democracy.  That paves the way for a "strongman" to take over.  That's the ultimate goal, and you can see it in everything the right does.  Voting for the Right to run government is like hiring vegans to run a steakhouse.  They don't believe in it, and they'll screw it up on purpose because they think it's fundamentally immoral.

Mike.W.
Mike.W.

I still would like someone to answer this question: What if the amendment passes, but the next legislature does not pass any enabling legislation to enforce it.  What happens then?  Can it just be ignored?

green23
green23

It's really nice of you to determine whose Constitutional rights are important and whose can be dispensed with.

Consider that, currently, having a State-issued ID is *not* part of the "minimum requirements". In fact, you want to take away the right to vote for people who already meet the "minimum requirements".

And you want to do this in order to solve a non-existent problem.

It's like instituting a minimum height requirement to vote, in order to prevent leprechauns from casting ballots. Sure, some midgets would lose the right the to vote, but they don't meet the "minimum requirements", and they aren't "fit to vote" anyway.

If it's not going to affect anyone, as you assert, then why do it?

The real question is why we have to make this a Constitutional Amendment, instead of simply *legislating it*. I've yet to hear a supporter of this Amendment explain that particular point; at least, without resorting to "liberal conspiracies". Is it because you expect the Republicans to lose their majority in the next election and this is their last chance to actually carry out some small part of their agenda?

The wingnuts are scared.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

You do not need a picture ID to purchase cigarettes (not if you're a senior). Ditto liquor. Seriously, when is the last time you saw a Social Security recipient carded for booze or smokes, and if you did, was the quality of their ID questioned?

Many seniors can no longer drive, and don't have a picture ID. I would appreciate your source for your stunning allegation that you need a picture ID to fly or open a bank account or get a job. The TSA's home page says you do not have to have an ID to fly, let alone a picture ID.

No, you do not need a picture ID to live in this country, and many people do not have one. Most do not have one because, until now, they didn't need one because seniors are usually well known in their community (which is the same place where they vote).

These are talk radio talking points, and are about as accurate as Rush's claims to be a rehabilitated drug addict. The only reason Voter ID is being pushed is because some Republican bean counter figured out that Voter ID would stop more Democrats from voting than Republicans. It's a cynical ploy from the same people who invented grandfather clauses to keep blacks from voting. Of course they were called Southern Democrats then, but they're all Republicans now down in Dixie where they've spent the last 140 years trying to keep blacks from voting.

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

I would think that part of your driver license cost should be subsidized as a result of this bill being passed.  The additional cost of printing Driver's License on your photo ID is nonexistant.

This, of course, does not rule out the fact that those who currently don't have an ID, yet still exercise their right to vote, will have to purchase a certified birth certificate from whatever institution they were born in, in order to apply for their "free" ID required to vote.  This also is a problem for the elderly, since birth certificates were not mandated until the 40's...

David Brooks
David Brooks

 As a DFLer you had me until you said, "More likely a democrat, he wanted to complain." You have no knowledge of this and just decided to through in your biased opinion. Which is fine. But, how do you expect a democrat to read that and think, "Boy, MN Voter is smart, I like what he is saying."

David Brooks
David Brooks

 Fortunately the MN GOP is getting evicted and going broke in the process. Maybe they will learn their lesson. Minnesotans just want moderate politics that help the people who need help and we certainly do not like this backstabbing politicking attitude that pervades the capitol today.

green23
green23

I'm not an attorney, but I would think that the SoS would establish guidelines. These guidelines would be contested in lawsuits at the State and Federal levels, of course.

The Secretary of State is the Constitutional office responsible for elections. Unless the judiciary spelled out how the Amendment was to be enabled in advance, it seems to me that it would be up to Ritchie.

The Legislature can't pass enabling legislation on the Amendment until it passes as a referendum.

Aaron
Aaron

I've been waiting for an answer to this question as well. The pro-voter-ID people don't seem to want to answer it.

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