Voter ID Amendment: these are not unintended consequences


… disenfranchising 200K, ending same day registration are intended consequences.

Republicans finally found a case of vote fraud to bolster their case for a constitutional amendment to require photo IDs to vote. Of course, it had already been prosecuted. They’ve found proof that vote fraud affected 0.00000004746% of all votes cast. That’s 1 out of the 2,107,021 voters who cast ballots in the 2010 election.

Minnesota Majority has been searching for evidence of voter fraud and finally….finally, they found a woman who paid a $200 fine for voting illegally for her daughter. The circumstances shake out like this — The woman filled out an absentee ballot for her daughter but didn’t know that her daughter had also voted at her college. The system caught the discrepancy and although she had no fraudulent intent, she did sign her daughter’s absentee form which is a legal violation and she paid a penalty.


That doesn’t sound very epidemic. It sounds like the photo ID constitutional amendment is a solution in search of a problem.

As Dave Mindeman points out, how would a photo ID prevent this woman from making the same mistake/committing the same crime?

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie claims that as many as 200,000 Minnesotans would be disenfranchised by the Republicans photo ID amendment.

Opponents also say the amendment proposal will disenfranchise at-risk voters — the elderly, the disabled, the poor and students — who are more likely to vote Democrat.

“You have hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans that would be disenfranchised under this Voter ID bill,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in an interview. “We’re very concerned about the effect it would have on the elections of our state.”


The amendment would also make it more difficult or overseas military to vote. Military ID wouldn’t count under their constitutional amendment. Furthermore, since the amendment doesn’t spell out how it will be implemented and Republicans haven’t said how they’ll deal with this, we can only assume that overseas military will be disenfranchised, too.

Take Action Minnesota provides the following statistics (warning, PDF):

  • 18 percent of elderly citizens do not have government-issued photo ID.
  • 15 percent of people earning less than $35,000 a year do not have photo ID.
  • 18 percent of citizens 18-24 years old do not have a government-issued photo ID  
  • with their current name and address.
  • 10 percent of voters with disabilities do not have a photo ID.
  • 25 percent of voting-age African American citizens do not have a current, government-issued photo ID.

The AARP weighed in on the matter, too:

However, we live in a society where many people over 65 have given up driving privileges.  They have thus given up their driver’s license – and very few have replaced it with a photo ID.

For many, it will be very difficult to obtain the right documentation.  Many Minnesotans over the age of 65 were born before recording births was standard procedure.  While the ID itself may be free, voters – especially women — often must purchase copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees and other documents to show name changes.

These unintended consequences are not unintended. By preventing students, elderly, minorities and the poor from voting, Republicans have far better chances of winning elections in Minnesota. And this is solely what this constitutional amendment is about.

As christian evangelical and Republican activist Paul Weyrich famously said: