Voter ID is bad for students

By Elizabeth Hamilton

The more time I spend at Macalester College the more I have come to admire the state in which it is located. Seeing people throughout Macalester work together for change also drives me to want to help Minnesota grow. One of the ways that I as a student have found to make a difference in this community is to take advantage of my voting rights. To my dismay, these rights are now in jeopardy. Last May, Mark Dayton vetoed a bill that would require voters to produce a valid photo ID to vote in an effort to decrease voter fraud. Dayton’s decision was based on the lack of bipartisan support for the bill and low voter fraud rates. This Spring, Republicans in the legislature are trying again. This time Mark Dayton says that he will consider the bill but will most likely veto it again. Legislators threaten Dayton with a constitutional amendment next year if he does not sign the bill. This bill came about in order to help seal up Minnesota’s voting booths. According to the Minnesota Supreme Court, between 2009 and 2011, 144 people where convicted of voter fraud across the entire state of Minnesota. Research shows, however, that these numbers aren’t coming from out of state students, but convicted felons who vote before their rights are reinstated. Minnesota legislators believe that following in the footsteps of the other 15 states who require photo ID to vote will solve this issue. While the voter ID bill might prevent the negligible amount of voter fraud in Minnesota, it would also require any visiting student, including me, and any senior citizens needing to renew their drivers license to go to the DMV and wait in line to renew their license, not to mention provide the necessary proof of identification. Being a college student busy with classes, work and extra-curricular activities, I don’t have time for the 4.6 mile trip to the Hennepin County License office, let alone the time required to gather the necessary documentation from home. Senior citizens would have an even worse time arranging transportation to the DMV, and then possibly having to pass a visual and/or drivers test. Our service men and women would also be at a disadvantage because another part of the bill requires the identification to state your address, which their military-issued licenses do not. I would hope that Minnesota legislature would realize the negative consequences of this bill and work to stop it. I am proud to be a Minnesotan for the next three years and would like to show it. Wouldn’t you? refresh –>