By Zukiswa Mpande, Mankato
The future of Minnesota is at stake in November’s election. Two questions on the ballot reflect a divide between the past and the future: The marriage amendment seeks to enshrine current law in our constitution, forever banning same sex couples from marrying. The voting amendment seeks to limit the right to vote to middle-aged voters and silencing the voice of mobile young citizens.
I am a voter engagement organizer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. I work with college students in Southern Minnesota teaching about voting rights. These two amendments will form the state that these young voters will enter.
No one wants to be told who they can love — not by their parents, not by their neighbors, and most certainly not by their government. This is fresh in college students’ hearts, before they have settled down and chosen a partner for life.
Most students have a photo ID. But when I ask them to look at the address on their ID, they draw a blank — student IDs don’t have addresses, and their drivers licenses have their parents’ address. Those IDs won’t help them vote if the voting amendment passes.
It would be a hassle to get an ID with their address then go to the county clerk’s office to verify their vote within a few days. The voting amendment will change voting into a pain and nuisance for young voters rather than an opportunity.
The young people in this state have great optimism and energy. They see a future where we can work together to build a great state. They have little tolerance for discrimination and exclusion. A “no” vote on both amendments will help them build that future.