Majority of MN college students favor voter ID amendment that could disenfranchise 70 percent of them
|Either students don't mind making their lives more difficult, or they don't know what they're likely to vote for.|
-- Wisconsin veteran ID controversy highlights concerns about MN's voter ID amendment
-- New York Times on MN voter ID amendment: Solution to a "virtually non-existent problem"
Confused about the headline? That's fitting. Because it appears a good portion of Minnesota college students are confused about the proposed voter ID amendment.
According to new polling commissioned by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), 53.7 of college students are likely to vote yes on voter ID. But 70.9 percent of students don't have any form of state-issued identification with their current address (assuming college IDs from state schools don't count), meaning they probably wouldn't be able to vote if an ID requirement were already enshrined in state law.
Minnesota's voter ID amendment doesn't specify whether college 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.
But according to MPIRG, "legislation drafted by the amendment's authors suggest that its passage would require [the students without state-issued IDs] to obtain new identification in order to vote in the districts where they live."
'Students without IDs will surely get them before they're needed for voting,' you say. Not according to the polling. Only 36.8% of potentially impacted students said they would obtain the proper identification before election day (granted, they won't need it to cast ballots this time around), while 18.7 percent said they just wouldn't vote at all.
But the polling isn't all bad news for those of you opposed to voter ID.
"We knew we had an uphill battle on voter ID given the seemingly innocuous nature of the question," MPIRG Executive Director Josh Winters said in a press release. "[But] we found that when those polled were then informed of how difficult voter ID would make voting for students, seniors, and military members, over 70 percent believed that was a compelling reason to oppose it."
If only young voters could be counted on to inform themselves before November 6 rolls around...