The Justice and Peace Action Ministry agrees with the Minnesota League of Women Voters that the Voter Photo ID legislative proposal is inconsistent with Catholic Social Teachings on community participation. It is akin to requiring a poll tax in that it would be barrier to voting for many citizens of Minnesota, and do little to prevent voter fraud.
The proposed legislation allows only three kinds of photo IDs for voting: a Minnesota driver's license, a Minnesota-issued photo ID card, or a newly created form of voter photo-ID. The ID would have to show the voter's current home address. Voters could not use a passport, military ID or student ID.
Approximately 11 percent of the voting population does not carry a photo ID that meets these rigid requirements. The percentage is higher among certain groups: the elderly (18 percent), young adults (18 percent), minorities (25 percent) and people who are low-income (15 percent). Many of these people would be disenfranchised. Further there is no guarantee that a person with a photo ID actually is living at the address on the photo ID; the person may have moved. There may be actually a greater risk of voter fraud with a photo ID. Then there is the additional cost of the photo ID to all taxpayers and costs to the person trying to secure a voter photo ID, costs of getting necessary identification, e.g. birth certificate and marriage license and some verification that the person lives where he supposed resides.
Also, it should be pointed out that the only type of illegal voting that a voter photo ID can prevent is voter impersonation. There is not evidence of voter impersonation in any Minnesota election. For example, it won't prevent felons who have a driver's license from voting.
The bottom line is that requiring a voter photo ID is a BAD THING in that it will disenfranchise many voters, particularly elderly, college students and the poor, while not preventing illegal voting and may in fact result in greater voter fraud, not to mention, be costly to both the state and the individual.
There are adequate safeguards in Minnesota's election system. Contact the Minnesota Secretary of State. Learn about the League's campaign to Oppose Voter Suppression and protect our democracy. Voting is your constitutional right! Your right to vote is an essential part of Catholic social teachings. You are encouraged to become informed and to OPPOSE VOTER PHOTO ID.