Minnesota has long been nationally known for our voter integrity, and voter participation. Democracy is a source of pride for us. For that reason, it was not a big surprise when Minnesota was one of only fifteen states recognized for protecting military voters. Our country spent the better part of the last century fighting to expand the vote, include more citizens, and realize an inclusive democracy. For Minnesota, protecting the voting rights of military personnel is just part of that fight.
Will military member be caught up in the voting wars of the 21st century? If the last century was characterized as decreasing access to the ballot box, this century can clearly be seen as a fight to restrict access. Of the fifteen states recognized for outstanding service to veteran voters, only three currently are photo ID restricted voting. Some, like Texas and Minnesota may be soon, but veterans have not faced these new barriers in those states yet.
So, if only three of the fifteen states protecting veteran voters are photo ID states, will Minnesota lose its recognition? Only time will tell, of course, What is scary is that it does not seem our state legislators have even considered this important aspect of voting. For example, our soldiers will have to show ID that substantially equivalent to photo ID. Mary Kiffmeyer, the amendments author, has definedsubstantially equivalent as being "equivalent substantially". Don't you think our military personnel deserve better than the double speak we wouldn't accept from a five year old.
Cross Posted at MN Progressive Project.