FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4th, 2012
CONTACT: Natalie Cook – 651-295-3483 firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Winters – 612-205-6564 email@example.com
Students oppose Voter I.D. constitutional amendment
St. Paul, Minnesota – On the heels of an early morning vote by the Minnesota House of Representatives, the Minnesota State Senate voted to put a constitutional amendment requiring a photo I.D. to vote on the ballot for Minnesota voters to consider on November 6th, 2012. College students working with the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) have been some of the most vocal opponents throughout the legislative session and the debate surrounding this policy. “College students are one of the many groups of people that could be negatively impacted by this policy,” says Natalie Cook, a senior at Hamline University and MPIRG’s Board Chair. “There are so many unanswered questions surrounding the implementation of the policy that voters won’t know the true impact of the amendment as they cast their vote in November. That is irresponsible policy making.”
The language approved by the house and senate conference committee does not clearly lay out what Minnesotans are actually voting on this fall. “The vagueness of the language leaves this amendment open to all sorts of legal challenges,” continued Cook. “We [MPIRG] will likely support these legal challenges on the grounds that Minnesota voters, including college students who could be negatively impacted by the outcome, will be asked to vote on a proposed amendment to our constitution without fully understanding the implications of their vote.”
Students are concerned about the motives behind the proposed Voter I.D. policy. “Despite hours of testimony in opposition to this proposal from a diversity of voices, despite the fact that this will not address any alleged cases of voter fraud, it’s concerning that we are moving aggressively towards enshrining this policy preference in the state’s constitution,” said Josh Winters, MPIRG’s Executive Director. “We should all be concerned when a major overhaul of our election system is being advanced unilaterally by any political party.”
Students are also concerned that the policy will negatively impact other underrepresented communities in Minnesota. “Students aren’t the only ones,” said Mariana Glitsos, an MPIRG student at the University of Minnesota Duluth. “Senior citizens, low income communities, members of the military are all people that will likely face new obstacles to voting in Minnesota’s elections.”
MPIRG will be joining with other nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations like the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, AARP, and the League of Women Voters to oppose the amendment in November.
The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization that works with college students on a multitude of social and environmental issues at Augsburg College, Hamline University, Macalester College, St. Catherine University, and the University of Minnesota’s Duluth, Morris, and Twin Cities campuses.