The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Your View

November 3, 2012

Your View: Voter ID a hardship on elderly S.D. voter

As Minnesotans consider adding a photo ID amendment to our state constitution, it’s important to be mindful of the frustrating experiences of residents in other states with similar laws.

My mother, at age 80, is an active senior in spite of vision and hearing challenges. She keeps up with political and social issues and has voted every year since she turned 18. Like many seniors, she takes great pride in exercising her right to vote.

Several months ago, she lost her driver’s license due to macular  degeneration. To continue to vote in South Dakota, she needed a  state ID. The first step in this process was to obtain a Social Security card. My sister, who was visiting from Minnesota, drove Mom to the Social Security office and waited with her for four hours before they could meet with a clerk. The next step was for Mom to bring her marriage license, along with her birth certificate, proof of residence and Social Security card, to the Drivers License Office. She eventually received her ID, and she is legally able to vote in this month’s critical election.

Of course, reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure that each person who votes is legally registered. But the greatest threats to the integrity of our voting system are those which affect large numbers of voters. A Minnesota photo ID constitutional amendment would disproportionally affect seniors, the disabled, students, service members, minorities and absentee voters.

I feel it is shameful to allow a handful of politicians to limit the voting rights of citizens. On Tuesday, please vote “no” on the Minnesota photo ID amendment.

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