A crowd of 200 people attended a hearing at the Minnesota State Capitol on Wednesday February 15, 2012 to oppose the voter ID amendment that, despite extensive last-minute amendments and continuing questions about its effect on hundreds of thousands of law-abiding voters, advanced on a party line vote.
Citizens were not allowed to testify on the bill.
James Cannon of Minneapolis, a board member of TakeAction Minnesota, said that so many citizens attended the hearing to show their opposition because “people see it as a step back rather than forward—it’s a backlash to the progress that was made in the last Presidential election. This bill does nothing but disenfranchise people who support the ideals of where we should be going as a country. It excludes people based on a made up problem.”
Senator Newman offered fresh amendments to the bill that he said addressed concerns raised in the five hours of testimony during the last committee hearing. Beth Fraser of the Secretary of State’s Office , responding to questions from other legislators, said that some of the new language makes the bill more confusing and risks placing hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots and those cast by same day registrants into a “provisional” category that would require them to present documents at a separate time. “You wouldn’t know who won any election until 10 days later,” Fraser said. Fraser also raised concerns about 11,500 active duty military citizens who vote absentee.
Communications Workers of America Staff Representative Lawrence Sandoval, of Savage Minnesota, attended the hearing and said that the amendments offered by the bill’s author Senator Newman didn’t show a need for the legislation or any reassurance that legitimate voters wouldn’t be disenfranchised. “Senator Newman’s responses also raised more questions than answers,” Sandoval said. “One of the most significant—that Senator McGuire asked repeatedly—was, ‘Who is supporting this?’ or ‘Who is influencing this legislation?’
“There is a lot of corporate money and influence in politics,” Sandoval said. “The 1% is trying to eliminate voting rights in Minnesota, because it will allow them to have even more power for the corporate world.”