I’ve been so leery of discussing politics this year that I’ve hardly said anything. That’s probably a little extreme as well. We need to learn how to discuss politics in a way that doesn’t resort to Facebook jackassery. I’m trying to learn how to communicate about these touchy issues in a way that’s actually useful. I hope you can cut me some slack.
Minnesota has two amendments on the ballot this year: anti-gay marriage and voter ID. I’ve said my piece (sort of: no!) on the marriage amendment. Now let’s talk voter ID.
In general, I’m not a fan of voter restrictions. I think it should be easy to vote. I’m proud of the incredible voter turnout in Minnesota (77.8% in 2008, best in the nation by far). Restrictions on voting smack of poll taxes and all the sleazy efforts to suppress the vote during the civil rights era.
However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask people to verify who they are when they vote. Showing some sort of ID, provided we make accommodations, doesn’t seem like a ridiculous restriction.
So I’m willing to consider voter ID.
Unfortunately, the amendment being considered in Minnesota doesn’t do a good job. It doesn’t really do anything. It doesn’t answer any questions or spell out how our new voter ID system will work. The amendment leaves that job to the legislature.
So when both sides argue about what the voter ID amendment will or won’t do, they’re wrong (unless they tell you we don’t know). The pro-voter ID folks give all kinds of lovely answers about how issues will be addressed. The problem is they’re basing their answers on legislation that was vetoed. We don’t really know how voter ID will be implemented or what kind of reasonable accommodations will be made.
All we’re doing is voting whether or not somebody else should decide. Since we don’t know what they’ll decide, I’d rather have no voter ID than bad voter ID.
Here’s a video from MPR explaining exactly that. It struck me as incredibly biased toward anti-voter ID until I realized they didn’t say a word pro or con about voter ID itself. They’re merely explaining exactly what the amendment does and doesn’t do. That’s more than the campaign sites have done, so hats off to MPR.
So I say vote no on voter ID. If we’re going to have voter ID, let’s make sure we do it right. Let’s not force ourselves into it and possibly muck it up.
What do you think about voter ID? Have you ever had problems voting?