International Falls: “Putting the cart before the horse”
Shakopee: “Ill-conceived idea” that “leaves out details — in fact, even basic information”
ST. PAUL (November 1, 2012) — With endorsements from the Red Wing Republican–Eagle, the International Falls Journal and the Shakopee Valley News, the consensus grows even broader: Minnesotans should Vote No on the Voter Restriction amendment and send it back to the Legislature.
With these endorsements, 63 Minnesota newspapers have called on Minnesota voters to reject the Voter Restriction amendment on November 6.
Red Wing Republican–Eagle
The Forum Communications-owned Red Wing Republican–Eagle has editorialized independently against the Voter Restriction amendment. For the Republican–Eagle, “Lawmakers did a lousy job wording the voter ID amendment.” Referring to the ballot question that voters will see, which is dramatically different from the language of the amendment that voters will not see, the paper writes simply, “don’t let the simplicity fool you.”
“The proposed amendment raises way too many questions” about costs, provisional balloting and what IDs qualify as “government-issued,” as well as about military voting:
“How do absentee voters, particularly those in the military, show IDs? The last thing on someone’s mind during deployment is heading to the courthouse or city hall or schoolhouse to register in case an election occurs while the individual defends people’s rights to vote at home.
“We have no confidence that Legislature is up to the task of addressing these questions by July 1, 2013,” the paper continues. Moreover, “we see considerable expense plus major legislative and court battles ahead” if the amendment passes.
The Republican–Eagle concludes:
“Citizens — even those who champion voter ID — should reject this poorly framed amendment. Minnesotans deserve more from their lawmakers and from their Constitution.”
International Falls Journal
The International Falls Journal opposes Voter Restriction because “requiring photo IDs won’t make our state’s good election process even better. Instead, there are better, less expensive ways to ensure that voting is free and fair.”
It also objects to the process: “Amending Minnesota’s constitution should be done with caution” and “[i]t’s inevitable that technology will change. Will we amend our Constitution again to reflect such changes? … If requiring photo IDs to vote is a good thing, then such a measure should move through the legislative process, where details of implementation could be discussed and finalized.”
Moreover, “Should voters approve the voter ID amendment, the details of implementation, which could be costly to places like Koochiching County, would be developed by the 2013 Legislature.
“Talk about putting the cart before the horse.”
Shakopee Valley News
The Shakopee Valley News, part of the Southwest Newspapers group, opposes putting the amendment in the Constitution because it “leaves out details — in fact, even basic information about how the law would be implemented and how voters can meet its provisions.” The paper then asks its readers to consider a detailed list of unanswered questions about how the amendment would be implemented if passed, including what IDs would be valid, how provisional ballots would be counted and how overseas military would vote, among others.
The Valley News concludes:
“A ‘no’ vote is not one against improved verification … But this question has so many open ends that it will serve to take away the right to vote for tens of thousands of eligible voters, and that is unthinkable. It would be best — not to mention easier and cheaper — for legislators to wait for new technology on the horizon and then implement voter identification legislation themselves rather than the ill-conceived idea of cementing it in our state’s Constitution.”
The editorial ran in sister publications the Chanhassen Villager and Chaska Herald.
63:1 endorsements of Vote No
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest daily, and the Albert Lea Tribune, Austin Daily Herald, Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Hutchinson Leader, Mankato Free Press, Marshall Independent, McLeod County Chronicle, Mesabi Daily News, New Ulm Journal, Rochester Post–Bulletin, Rock County Star Herald, St. Cloud Times, St. Joseph/Sartell Newsleader and Winona Daily News all oppose the Voter Restriction amendment.
In addition, Forum Communications has endorsed Vote No company-wide. Lead by the Duluth News–Tribune, the papers that have endorsed Vote No on Voter Restriction so far include the Alexandria Echo Press, Bemidji Pioneer, Detroit Lakes Tribune, Hastings Star Gazette, Morris Sun Tribune, Park Rapids Enterprise and Rosemount Town Pages. The Forum-owned Red Wing Republican–Eagle has joined the West Central Tribune of Willmar and the Worthington Daily Globe in writing separately in opposition to Voter Restriction.
Other communities served by Forum newspapers include Blackduck, Cloquet, Cottage Grove, East Grand Forks, Farmington, Hancock, Moorhead, Osakis, Perham, Two Harbors, Wadena and Woodbury.
ECM Newspapers — a chain of 20 newspapers serving Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Crow Wing, Dakota, Houston, Isanti, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Washington and Wright Counties — has also endorsed Vote No on Voter Restriction.
Exactly one Minnesota newspaper has endorsed a yes vote on Voter Restriction.