Conservative groups in Minnesota have called for a boycott of the American Association of Retired Persons because the organization plans to oppose the Minnesota Voter ID Amendment.
“AARP is clearly out-of-step with a majority of its members on this issue,” stated Jeff Davis, president of Minnesota Majority and spokesperson for the coalition. “Polls have shown that a supermajority of Minnesota seniors support Voter ID. Any organization that takes a position contrary to the majority of its members on such an issue is not worthy of their members’ support.”
Residents in Minnesota will decide this November whether voters must show government-issued photographic identification before casting a ballot.
The AARP has warned that the proposed constitutional amendment could disenfranchise seniors in the state who don’t have driver’s licenses. The organization noted that nearly one in five citizens over the age of 65 lack a government-issued photo ID, according to the Brennan Center.
“If Minnesota enacts a photo ID requirement in the Minnesota Constitution, most Minnesotans, if they are lucky and able-bodied, will be able to use a current driver’s license,” Michele H. Kimball of the AARP told lawmakers in January. “However, we live in a society where many people over 65 have given up driving privileges. They have thus given up their driver’s license – and very few have replaced it with a photo ID.”
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.
“I never expected my membership dues to AARP to be used against me,” Joe Remley, an AARP member who cut up his membership card, said in a statement. “We’re drawing attention to the fact that AARP is diametrically opposed to the views on Voter ID held by 80 percent of people over retirement age.”
[Image via Martin Ringlein, Creative Commons licensed]