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July 29, 2014

Group: Voter ID requirement hurts Native Americans

A tribal advocacy group says proposed voting changes in six states, including Minnesota, could hinder the ability of Native Americans to vote, the Associated Press reports.

Minnesota voters are being asked whether a new photo ID requirement should be enacted beginning in elections next year. But new report from the National Congress of American Indians says that requiring voters to bring photo ID to the polls creates barriers. Among them is that some homes in tribal communities have no addresses, the report says. The study cites other issues, including barriers of cost, logistics and distance to obtaining required IDs.

Opponents of the measure say it is an expensive solution to a voter fraud problem that doesn’t exist, and that it amounts to an effort by a Republican legislature to lessen the number of voters who typically support Democratic candidates. Proponents say it’s needed to prevent voter fraud.

If the measure passes in Minnesota, the Legislature would be left to sort out many of the details, MPR reports. Among the unknowns, MPR says: Which IDs will be considered valid? How the state will distribute the free ones? How much that will cost?