Oberstar urges Northland residents to oppose Voter ID ballot measure

Former 8th District Congressman Jim Oberstar spoke out against the proposed amendment that would make a government-issued ID mandatory before casting a ballot in Minnesota at a rally in Duluth Saturday. WDIO reports that the longtime DFL representative is concerned the measure could hurt Minnesota's voting record. "It will take Minnesota from first in the nation in voter turnout and clean elections, to worst in the nation," Oberstar said. However, supporters of the amendment argue it's needed to prevent voter fraud.
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Former 8th District Congressman Jim Oberstar spoke out against the proposed amendment that would make a government-issued ID mandatory before casting a ballot in Minnesota at a rally in Duluth Saturday. WDIO reports that the longtime DFL representative is concerned the measure could hurt Minnesota's voting record. "It will take Minnesota from first in the nation in voter turnout and clean elections, to worst in the nation," Oberstar said. However, supporters of the amendment argue it's needed to prevent voter fraud.

Last week, State GOP senators Mike Parry and Scott Newman filed an administrative complaint arguing that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is violating campaign laws by using his office to influence the outcome of the voter ID amendment.

Ritchie outlined his objections to the measure in a MinnPost opinion piece last month.

A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll released last month found 52 percent favored the Voter ID Amendment, while 44 percent opposed it and four percent were undecided. At least 50 percent approval is needed in order to pass the measure.

Minnesota voters will decide on the Voter ID measure next month.

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Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is changing the title of the constitutional amendment to “Changes to in-person & absentee voting & voter registration; provisional ballots." Sponsors of the measure, seeking to require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot, want the question titled "Photo Identification Required for Voting." Ritchie is being sued for changing the title on the marriage amendment question.

Religious coalition encouraging followers to oppose voter ID

A coalition that includes Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders says it will encourage its 50,000 followers to oppose the voter ID amendment on Minnesota's ballot. Members of the group Prophetic Voices say requiring a government-issued photo ID would take votes away from poor people, the elderly, and students. Some say the push is tinged with racism. Supporters of the measure say it would guard against vote fraud.

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Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a Republican-backed law last spring that would require voters to show ID at the polls. But now, a group of legislators has introduced a bill that would put the matter in front of voters later this year as a constitutional amendment. Dayton would not be able to override it if approved.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court had plenty of questions for lawyers arguing the merits and shortcomings of the voter ID ballot question. Groups including the League of Women Voters say the question that will appear before voters does not accurately characterize the changes the amendment would make to the Constitution. Lawyers for the Legislature say it's up to lawmakers - not the courts - to write ballot questions.

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Congressman Keith Ellison is circulating a resolution opposing a voter ID requirement and is urging Democrats to adopt it at their precinct caucuses Tuesday. Republicans in the Legislature hope to put the issue on Minnesota's ballot in November. Ellison says Americans who don't have photo IDs should still be allowed to vote.

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Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's changes to the title that will appear over the marriage amendment on the fall ballot came under attack in papers filed with the state Supreme Court. Lawyers for Republican lawmakers and other backers of the amendment say Ritchie's changes will make voters less likely to approve the Constitutional amendment. They also argue that it's up to the Legislature - not the Secretary of State - to write the title. A hearing before the court is coming up later this month.

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