ST. PAUL (Oct.16, 2012) — Standing in front of Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis this morning, leaders of the Minnesota Council of Churches, which represents one million Christians across the state of Minnesota, announced the MCC’s official opposition to the voter restriction amendment.
The Reverend Peg Chamberlain, MCC’s Executive Director, and St. Paul Synod of the ELCA Bishop Peter Rogness, MCC’s President and Board Chair, spoke about the complications and consequences the amendment would have on Minnesota voters. In particular, MCC representatives voiced concerns about the barriers to voting accessibility for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans; financial stewardship including expenses to the poor, the elderly and the homeless, and the costs and complications of instituting a new system of provisional balloting when much more pressing needs remain for struggling communities around the state.
Speaking of the seemingly simple photo ID requirement, Bishop Rogness told reporters “the fundamental issue that brings us here is our concern for those for whom this step – which seems easy for most in the mainstream – becomes a barrier to participating in the shaping of our public life together.” He said that the twenty-four member judicatories of the MCC have been publishing materials “defending the right of the last, lost and least to vote and therefore oppose the amendment.”
Peg Chamberlain said the MCC’s decision to oppose the voter restriction amendment was a “call upon our congregations and members to be vigorously engaged to defeat the voter ID amendment. The voter ID amendment seems innocuous enough. But when we started to unwrap it, we began to see the threat this could pose to the right to vote for tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.”
Our Vote Our Future’s campaign manager, Luchelle Stevens, welcomed the Minnesota Council of Churches to the campaign to defeat the amendment. “Today, the Minnesota Council of Churches joins ISAIAH, Jewish Community Action, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ, and numerous congregations of various faiths in opposing this restrictive amendment. Their leadership in serving, and standing up for, the poorest and most vulnerable populations among us is crucial as we work to make sure voting restrictions aren’t placed in our state constitution. In these final three weeks, Our Vote Our Future will work hand-in-hand with MCC to ensure their million congregants are fully engaged to defeat this harmful amendment.”
To learn more about Our Vote Our Future and the campaign to defeat the voter restriction amendment, please visit www.OurVoteOurFuture.org.
Our Vote Our Future is the statewide, multi-partisan ballot initiative campaign to defeat the voter restriction amendment that will appear on Minnesota’s November 6, 2012 general election ballot. For more information, please visit www.OurVoteOurFuture.org or follow @OurVoteMN.