We can only hope that voters are catching on fast to the more overlooked of two very wrongheaded constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall, and the Star Tribune Sunday illuminated the huge downside of the so-called Voter ID amendment (more accurately labeled as the Voter Restriction & Suppression Amendment).
Veteran political reporter Jim Ragsdale wrote an incisive front-page piece explaining how an estimated 215,000 voters — disproportionately the elderly, homeless veterans, the poor, college students, people of color and newer residents, all eligible voters — currently lack the "valid" ID that would be required if the amendment is enacted. And then on another Strib section cover, Lori Sturdevant in her Op-Ex column broke the important news that on the voter amendment, unlike the marriage amendment, Lutherans and Catholics are united in opposition. At least the leaders of those two faiths' social service agencies agree that the amendment will discourage or prevent vulnerable, but perfectly eligible, voters from exercising their democratic rights.
I like the way Tim Marx, leader of Catholic Charites of St. Paul and Minneapolis, explained the benefits of voting for those disadvantaged people described in Christian faiths as "the least among us."
"What is so affirming about about watching our residents vote is seeing the sense of dignity and pride they get. In spite of being in poverty, they get a chance to feel the dignity of full participation in society. That tends to make them want to more fully participate economically and socially. To deprive them of that opportunity would be a real tragedy."
Bottom line is that the new restrictions would likely inhibit or prevent voting by thousands of perfectly eligible voters, all for the purpose of catching an extremely small number of ineligible voters (mostly felons who have served their prison time but are on parole), many of whom are not aware they are breaking the law.