Virginia: “Bad piece of legislation and public policy”
Worthington: “Fails to answer questions about extravagant costs”
Hutchinson: “Deep, troubling flaws … huge financial burdens”
ST. PAUL (October 30, 2012) — In a company-wide editorial, Forum Communications, which owns more than 20 newspapers published in or covering Greater Minnesota, has endorsed a No vote on the Voter Restriction amendment.
This endorsement brings to more than 50 the number of Minnesota papers that have endorsed Vote No on Voter Restriction.
“When nearly all the daily newspapers in Minnesota — from every corner of our state and every political point of view — endorse No on the Voter Restriction amendment, Minnesotans should pay attention to that consensus,” said Luchelle Stevens, campaign manager of Our Vote Our Future, the statewide campaign to defeat the Voter Restriction amendment. “Minnesota newspapers almost unanimously agree that the costs, complications and consequences of this ill-conceived amendment are too great. On November 6, Minnesota voters will concur when they vote No and send this amendment back to the Legislature to make them get it right.”
They join the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the 20-paper ECM Newspaper chain, the Albert Lea Tribune, Austin Daily Herald, Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Mankato Free Press, Marshall Independent, McLeod County Chronicle, New Ulm Journal, Rock County Star Herald, St. Cloud Times and St. Joseph/Sartell Newsleader in opposing the Voter Restriction amendment.
In a company-wide editorial that began appearing last week in Forum papers, the Forum Communications writes that the Voter Restriction amendment is “rife with unanswered questions and potentially astronomical costs.”
For the Forum, the amendment “scream[s] for more conversation at the legislature, not quick and uninformed passage by voters in next month’s election.” It does not “rise to the level of constitutional consideration.
“Misusing [the Constitution] to pass laws when appropriate channels prove unsuccessful cheapens it. And who in Minnesota wouldn’t vote ‘no’ on that?”
Led by the Duluth News–Tribune, the Forum papers to have endorsed Vote No on Voter Restriction include the Alexandria Echo Press, Bemidji Pioneer, Detroit Lakes Tribune, Hastings Star Gazette, Morris Sun Tribune, Park Rapids Enterprise and Rosemount Town Pages.
In its own editorial, the Worthington Daily Globe, another Forum paper, also calls for a No vote on the Voter Restriction amendment because it leaves too many unanswered questions. Notably, the amendment “fails to answer questions about what very well could be extravagant costs.” For the Globe, the amendment amounts to “legislators essentially asking voters to do their job for them.”
The Forum-owned West Central Tribune of Willmar has also published its own editorial against the Voter Restriction amendment.
Mesabi Daily News
The Mesabi Daily News of Virginia calls the Voter Restriction amendment a “bad piece of legislation and public policy.” It notes that:
“There are absolutely no details in the ballot issue as to how it would be enacted; how much it would cost and what layer of government would be responsible or those costs (in other words how and in what way will those costs be passed on to taxpayers); what kind of exceptions would be allowed, such as for students or elderly residents, especially those in nursing homes.
“In other words,” the Daily News continues, “there would be a voter photo ID amendment in the state Constitution with no wording as to how it would be processed and enforced.
“That is really mind-boggling.”
Winona Daily News
The Winona Daily News, in calling the Voter Restriction amendment “an unnecessary cost and a ridiculous priority,” asks:
“So how much do the taxpayers of Minnesota wish to spend to fix a non-existent problem? The answer is zero.”
The Daily News also objects to the unintended consequences of the amendment:
“What do we say to seniors who can’t find a birth certificate or no longer have a driver’s license? What do we say to students who move around?”
The paper concludes that the Voter Restriction amendment is “partisan, petty and absolutely contrary to the spirit of what our democracy stands for.”
The Hutchinson Leader — from the hometown of the chief Senate author of the Voter Restriction amendment, Sen. Scott Newman — writes that the Voter Restriction amendment has “deep, troubling flaws. The most obvious is that it attempts to create a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”
The paper cites “even deeper problems,” among them that the amendment could pose “huge financial burdens” on local government and would harm “those who are in the military or are away from home and at college as well as older folks who don’t carry photo IDs.
“Why on Earth would we want to make it more difficult for these citizens to vote?”
In urging a No vote, the Leader concludes:
”… [W]ith so many other problems associated with this amendment, how can voters endorse it without knowing the details? If approved, those details will be decided by the majority party. That opens the door to more partisanship, which has plagued this proposal from the start.”
Its sister paper, the Litchfield Independent Review, ran the same editorial.