"Our Vote Our Future” Statewide Campaign Launched To Defeat Photo ID Amendment
A broad array of individuals representing organizations from across the state of Minnesota, flanked speakers from the Minnesota AFL-CIO, AARP, Minnesota Farmers Union, League of Women Voters, MPIRG, and TakeAction Minnesota as they gathered Thursday morning at the State Capitol to launch the “Our Vote Our Future” statewide ballot initiative campaign to defeat the photo ID amendment.
The campaign, which includes organizations large and small from across the state – including rural organizations, non-profits, labor unions, student groups, faith-based and community organizations -- will work to educate and mobilize Minnesota voters to vote NO on the amendment this fall. Dan McGrath, Executive Director of TakeAction Minnesota kicked off the news conference claiming the campaign coalition knows it is “the underdog in this fight, but we also know that the conditions to defeat this restrictive amendment also exist.”
McGrath introduced several speakers, all of whom are committed to making sure the voting rights of law-abiding Minnesota voters aren’t taken away. Minnesota AFL-CIO President, Shar Knutson, vowed a united front from organized labor in defeating the amendment. “Labor’s commitment to democracy compels us to fight any policies that make it harder for Minnesotans to legally exercise their right to vote. Minnesota’s unions will educate our members and the general public about why this amendment shouldn’t be part of our state’s constitution.”
Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President, discussed the costs and burdens a photo ID restriction would place on rural voters, many of whom are older and living on fixed incomes. “This amendment insults the integrity of townships and rural Minnesotans. It’s a legislative mandate passed without detail or price-tag. Once voters in greater Minnesota see that they’re being asked to buy something they have no idea about how it will work or what it will cost, they’ll reject it.”
Alfred Babington-Johnson, CEO of the Stairstep Foundation, Policy Board Member His Works United told reporters he believes “cynical decisions” have been made by the legislature “to move in wolf-like fashion wearing lamb’s fleece to restrict voting.” He compared the photo ID amendment to putting “lipstick on a pig. It’s not going to make me want to pucker up.”
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) was also on hand to talk about the impact photo ID would have on students. Sydney Jordan, a junior at the University of Minnesota,shared a personal story about her own voting experience. "Minnesota has the highest youth voter turnout in the nation which is something to be proud of and is a result of our inclusive electoral system. This amendment will create obstacles for students to vote which is why we will be mobilizing thousands of students to vote no this November."
Laura Fredrick Wang, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters Minnesota said the League “has been working for almost a century to protect the right to vote and to ensure that we have greater participation in our democracy. The photo ID amendment would be the first time that our constitution was changed to make it harder to vote.”
A list of eighty-eight organizations opposed to having a photo ID restriction placed in the
Minnesota state constitution was also passed out. Organizations will work in coalition to defeat
Our Vote Our Future is the statewide ballot initiative campaign to defeat the photo ID
amendment which will appear on Minnesota’s November 6, 2012 general election ballot. Please