[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) [official website] on Wednesday filed a petition [press release] seeking to eliminate a proposed ballot initiative [text] that would amend the Minnesota Constitution [text] to require citizens to present photo identification in order to vote. If allowed to proceed, the initiative will appear on the ballot in the upcoming November election. In a statement, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN Charles Samuelson said the initiative did not adequately inform voters of the effects of the amendment:
This ballot proposal is incredibly troubling because it asks voters to put an amendment in the constitution in a manner that is misleading, confusing and unclear. Voting is one of the most important rights we have, and this amendment aims to take away that right from the most vulnerable, under the guise of a seemingly innocuous photo ID requirement.
The petition was filed on behalf of five individuals as well as the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and Common Cause Minnesota.
There are now 32 US states [NCSL backgrounder] that require voters to present some form of ID at the polls, but the issue remains controversial. Earlier this month, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed Virginia’s new voter ID legislation, which will require voters to show one form of acceptable identification [JURIST report] in order to cast a vote. Last month, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a bill requiring voters to present photo identification [JURIST report] in the upcoming November election. Also in March, a Wisconsin judge ruled unconstitutional [JURIST report] the state’s voter ID law requiring a voter to display photo ID when entering a polling place to vote. In February, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed suit against the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over its ruling that barred South Carolina [JURIST reports] from enforcing its voter ID law. In November, Mississippi voters approved a ballot measure [JURIST report] to implement a voter ID law.