ACLU files lawsuit over ‘misleading’ Minnesota voter ID ballot question
The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in the Minnesota Supreme Court to challenge a voter ID amendment they claim is misleading to voters.
“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,” said Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. “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.”
Residents in Minnesota will decide this November whether voters must show government-issued photographic identification before casting a ballot. However, the ballot question only mentions a “valid ID” and does not specify that it must be a government-issued ID. It also incorrectly describes who has to present an ID before voting and fails to mention the new provisional ballot system, according to the ACLU.
The proposed constitutional amendment passed by a party-line vote in the Senate in April, with Democrats opposing the measure. Republicans said the proposed amendment would protect against voter fraud, but Democrats accused it of being a solution in search of a problem that could disenfranchise legitimate voters.
“The Minnesota State Legislature isn’t telling voters the truth about its proposed photo ID requirement for voting, and they have a right to know,” said Jon Sherman, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. “Not only is this part of a wave of laws that have already had a severe impact on the right to vote nationwide, but this particular amendment effectively spells the end of Election Day registration, which significantly increases turnout.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and Common Cause Minnesota, in addition to five individual plaintiffs.