MINNEAPOLIS (May 23, 2011) Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance strongly urges Governor Dayton to veto the Voter Suppression bill, S.F. 509 that would require a state-issued photo ID for all voters.
While voter ID requirements may sound reasonable to many voters at first glance, Minnesotans will be outraged when they discover the waste and injustice of this misinformation effort. MUUSJA urges Minnesotans to learn more and join us and the many other non-partisan organizations that oppose this bill passed on almost complete party-line votes.
At a time of massive budget deficits, photo ID bills would not improve our elections but would spend millions of state dollars and millions of unfunded local government dollars on building a system that would make it more difficult or impossible to vote for the estimated 440,000 eligible Minnesotans without a current state-issued ID, especially elderly, young, disabled and lower income citizens.
We are particularly outraged at this bill because MUUSJA co-authored a report in November, 2010 with Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota documenting that photo ID requirements are unnecessary. The report was based on data related to ineligible voting collected from 71 of Minnesota’s 87 County Attorneys representing over 93 percent of Minnesota’s 2008 voters.
The report revealed that in 2008, the election with the highest number of voters and the second-highest election day voter registrations in state history, there were exactly ZERO convictions reported by County Attorneys for voter fraud that a photo ID could prevent. The findings of our report corroborate what the losing attorney said after the 2008 recount in this most closely scrutinized election in state history, “We were looking for fraud, but we didn’t see it.”
“When we heard that some people wanted to institute a photo identification requirement to vote in Minnesota, we decided to learn if it would be a solution to a real problem,” said Carol Johnson, co-author of the report and a member of MUUSJA. The survey showed that County Attorney investigations only resulted in 38 convictions statewide, all related to felons voting or registering illegally. The report strongly opposes voter Photo ID requirements and goes on to make recommendations regarding felon voting and other election reform. The report also documents the many safeguards in place that explain why Minnesota’s current election system is so sound.
The current photo ID bill before the Governor is a threat to our democracy because it could suppress turnout of an estimated 11% of eligible voters while spending millions to prevent a non-existent problem.
Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance (http://www.muusja.org) is a nonpartisan organization.