Voters Face the Veiled but Pernicious Intent of Voter ID Amendment

Crying wolf – for real.

Well fed wolves in sheeps’ clothing are pulling the wool over the eyes of naïve voters in state after state.  Good people are following like lambs to the slaughter a well-orchestrated, determined and pernicious drive to skew the election of 2012 – and elections to come.

Though by nature Minnesotans are not mean-spirited we may have too much confidence in the wise and independent judgment of some elected officials who may themselves be innocents in a national crusade to purge the rolls.  We quibble with the legislative process and grump about Legislative intransigence.  Still, Minnesotans are accustomed to wrapping ourselves in the virtual security blanket of good government.  We tend to our own business and trust that others will butt out of our open democratic processes.

If we were around in the 60’s we have vivid memories of the terrible struggle for voters’ rights in the South.  Still, we are shielded so that for most 21st Century Minnesotans passage of the voting rights amendment is a legislative blip from another time and place.

Most Minnesotans have always known same day registration and a hassle-free – even pleasant – experience at the neighborhood voting site.  Reading the wise words of former Secretary of State Joan Growe in last week’s StarTribune was a great reminder of the intent and effective application of state law we take for granted, a law by which Minnesotans abide and that has effectely protected the system from fraud.

Still, one of the two Amendments to the State Constitution that will face us on November 6 is the quietly stealthy Voter ID Amendment, the silent killer of an open electoral process.  We know, but somehow want to ignore, this blatant intrusion on freedom of many of our friends and families to exercise their inalienable right to have a voice in the democratic process.

Though the tide appears to be turning, the  we ignore the implicit threat at our peril.  Polls continue to indicate that Minnesotans, particularly young voters, are oblivious to the pernicious underpinnings of the Voter ID amendment.  If you’re able bodied, enjoy discretionary time, and are the proud owner of a valid ID, you’re safe.  No problem.  Let’s face it – that’s an alibi, not a reason to ignore the clear and present danger.

For the elderly and American Indians who lack a valid state-issued ID (excludes a tribal ID), for people with disabilities, for those who never had or cannot afford the cost of a birth certificate, for those who don’t have time to go through the hoops, and for those who lack transportation to the county clerk’s office, the amendment is an insurmountable obstacle.  Prior restraint or fear of confrontation can be a barrier to felons who have a right to vote but an instinctive fear of encountering the System.

What Minnesotans should fear is the intrusion of a well-organized cadre of wheelers and dealers whose intent it is to skew the electoral process by barring access to the voting booth to those they fear will vote “wrong.”  For these manipulators this small but significant segment of the general populace is understandably inclined to vote for Democratic candidates who they believe will protect their hard won rights..

Everyone has heard the stories – the problem is we remain complacent, blithely ignoring reality as we wrap ourselves in the security of living in a good government state.   In our innocence we are disinclined to look for culprits or to probe the source of malicious maneuvering with the facts by the media.

The pernicious implications of the Voter ID and inherent but subtle.  The Voter ID Amendment is a lethal tool that doers of evil can and will use with abandon.

Young voters, ask your grandma or a visually impaired friend or an documented immigrant mom about the implications of passage of the Voter ID.  Learn the facts and cast a vote that’s informed not instinctive.  Seasoned voters, have one of those facts of life talks with the young people in your life.  This is not the time for sheepish surrender to the inevitability of voter suppression.

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