St. Paul, Minn. (Feb. 15, 2012) — TakeAction Minnesota released the following statement following passage of S.F. 1577, the proposed photo ID constitutional amendment, out of the Senate Local Government & Elections Committee this afternoon, on an 8-6 party-line vote:
“Despite the growing vocal opposition of Minnesotans across this state to the proposed photo ID amendment – including over four-and-a-half hours of oppositional testimony two weeks ago and hundreds of people crowding the halls of the Capitol – Senate Republicans passed S.F. 1577, the restrictive photo ID bill, out of its first committee today.
Despite zero convictions of voter impersonation in Minnesota, the only thing a photo ID would prevent, Senate Republicans passed the proposed photo ID amendment out of committee.
Despite numbers put forward two weeks ago by Minnesota’s Secretary of State demonstrating the depth and scope of those who would be stripped of their right to vote — over 715,000 eligible Minnesota voters – Senate Republicans passed the restrictive photo ID bill out of committee.
And despite putting same-day registration and absentee voting at risk, bedrocks of Minnesota’s excellent elections system, Senate Republicans passed the restrictive photo ID bill out of committee today.
The real question is, why? Who stands to gain the most from fewer people participating in our democracy?
One of the biggest crises facing both our state and country is the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics, a system that makes it legal for the richest few to give unlimited amounts of money to candidates and candidate committees. Simultaneously, conservative legislators in states across the country, running the ALEC playbook, seek to rewrite the rules of democracy for their own economic benefit.
The more people know about the proposed photo ID amendment, the more they oppose it. That’s because most of us don’t have the kind of money, and the outsized political influence big money buys, to shape the laws and policies we live under. All we have is one vote – a vote we have the constitutional right to keep. And now, a band of conservative legislators, doing the bidding of the 1% who put them in office, seeks to restrict voting rights for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans simply because they can. It’s wrong and we will continue to fight this.”
TakeAction Minnesota is a statewide organization of 14,000 individual and 28 organizational members building community power to advance economic, social and racial justice.