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Letter: A threat to our voting rights

The proposed photo ID amendment to our state constitution is a threat to our right to vote.

We are all getting older. As we age, many of us give up our driving privileges and our driver's licenses. And so we lose our photo ID.

Contrary to what the proponents of this amendment state, that it's easy to get a photo ID, it may take months to get a birth certificate or marriage certificate. Some birth certificates say "baby boy" or "baby girl". Sometimes supporting documents cannot be obtained. A voter in Pennsylvania took two work days and paid $65 to get a photo ID.

I have elderly friends -- grandmas and grandpas -- in nursing homes or assisted living who no longer have a driver's license. The proposed amendment would mean that they would have to round up supporting documents. Right now a birth certificate is $26, and a marriage license $9. They would have to write to the offices where these documents are held. Some need help with writing because of vision or arthritis problems. Most are not computer-literate so their transactions would need assistance from staff at their facility. They would need to find someone to drive them to a county office building, which could be many miles, to stand in line for their photo ID.

Do we really want to set up these hurdles for our elderly citizens to vote? Right now staff at the nursing homes can vouch for the residents who live there.

Laura Fredrick Wang, executive director of the League of Women Voters Minnesota, said the League "has been working for almost a century to protect the right to vote and to ensure that we have greater participation in our democracy. The photo ID amendment would be the first time that our constitution was changed to make it harder to vote."

Mary Lou Werner