Citizenship and the Voter Suppression Amendment

“Citizenship” and the Voter Suppression Amendment

In his Democratic National Convention speech, President Obama brought up the concept of “Citizenship.”

Obama had just said, “We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system – the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.”

Then, the President continued, “But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.”

Wow! Citizenship! That’s something we haven’t heard about in politics for a long time. It was a subject I studied in High School in the early ’40s. We studied about how it works, why it works, and why it is good for America. To a bunch of kids who grew up in the depression and were marking time before they went into the military or defense work, this “Citizenship” thing made a lot of sense.

But, that was a long time ago. Now we hear mostly about “illegal citizens” and how best to rid America of them. The poor and the sick are making America go broke. The concept embedded in “Citizenship” is left to the faith and social justice communities to fret about and try to get some standing in America.

Today, the Star Tribune headlined a Voter Suppression article on the front page. “Photo ID edict could hit 215,000 Minnesota voters.”

If you haven’t, you should read this article by Jim Ragsdale. It has several examples of what could happen.

The article begins by saying, “Showing photo identification is a no-brainer for the vast majority of Minnesotans who have the magic card in their wallets and purses and produce it regularly to conduct even the most routine transactions.” This is the way proponents of the amendment and its sponsor, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, like to present it.

“But,” the article points out, “a strict ID requirement, such as is being proposed in a constitutional amendment this November, can be a significant barrier for anyone who lives off the ID grid. According to the Minnesota secretary of state’s office, that number could run as high as 84,000. In addition to the 2.7 percent of registered voters who appear to lack a state-issued ID, the office estimates that another 4 percent — 131,000 — hold IDs that do not show their current voting address. The amendment would require all voters to show government-approved photo IDs before casting their ballots.”

Kiffmeyer sees no problem. “…the government would offer free IDs, and that the availability of waivers for those without underlying documents and adaptations of current law by the Legislature could address problems without disenfranchising anyone. The general language of the amendment, if it passes, would be fleshed out by the 2013 Legislature.”

“Free ID” doesn’t get you very far when you are handicapped, have no transportation or need supporting documents. Then, only the last step is free; and the time and money to get there can be more than many can spend or afford. “Fleshed out legislation” by the “2013” Legislature.” If the legislature is controlled by the Republicans and, as many suspect, this is really a voter suppression attempt, why would one think that the 2013 law would be better than the Republican 2011 law that was vetoed by Governor Dayton because it didn’t address these issues fairly?

The article documents in terms of real people how this amendment will work to “suppress” votes. It’s a good article to share with your family and friends.

Remember, voting is good “citizenship” and voting NO on the Voter Photo ID Amendment is good “citizenship.”

For more Voter ID information and links to other groups opposing the amendment, you an click HERE.


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