Church Council Urging Vote Against Voter ID

Minnesota Council of Churches represents the leaders of many Protestant denominations.

Seeking to bring attention to what it calls the "voter restriction amendment," the Minnesota Council of Churches announced its opposition to a state constitutional amendment that would require voters show photo identification at the polls. 

The amendment, said Rev. Peg Chemberlin, the Council's Executive Director, has fallen too far out of the public eye.

"We encourage and want a vigorous debate and conversation in the next few weeks on this amendment," Chemberlin said. "In fact, I hope there's some pushback. I hope people ask 'What's going on? Why have you taken this position?'"

In a written statement, the Council's President, St. Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Bishop Peter Rogness said “the fundamental issue that brings us here is our concern for those for whom this step – which seems easy for most in the mainstream – becomes a barrier to participating in the shaping of our public life together.” 

It was an issue of “defending the right of the last, lost and least to vote and therefore oppose the amendment," he added.

The Council's decision is not binding on member denominations, Chemberlin said. Instead, the decision by the Council's board was a matter of denominations "calling on each other to encourage this vigorous debate at the local level."

A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA, which represents much of the western Twin Cities, said that many of the synod's churches were intensely focused on defeating the state's marriage amendment, and the synod would not likely be organizing them to engage in the Voter ID issue.

Chaz Ruzak of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area said his denominations offices has provided local churches with many neutral voter education resources, but hadn't taken a stand on the issue.

As of publication time, representatives of other denominations in the Minnesota Council of Churches couldn't be reached for comment.

Many religious and religious-based organizations have declared their opposition to the Voter ID amendment, including Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, and liberal groups ISAIAH and Jewish Community Action.

David October 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM
My bad, it's only been 1 decade for a photo ID, 2 decades for non-photo ID. "Voter ID has been a hot topic in state legislatures over the past decade. Since 2001, nearly 1,000 bills have been introduced in a total of 46 states. Twenty-four states have passed major legislation during the period 2003-2012 (not including gubernatorial vetoes in five states in 2011), and those bills are summarized in the timeline below." http://www.ncsl.org/legislatures-elections/elections/voter-id.aspx#Legislation Margaret should really get more impartial sources than Pro Publica and "truth Out' So my statement still stands. WHERE are the hundreds of news reports of disenfranchised eligible voters?
David October 20, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Exit polling as a back up measure? You must be joking. You mean where people have the right to refuse answering, and many do, thuse making it an incomplete survey? But you'd use that as a 'smell-test"? Why not just use the polls from the previous month? They would have just as much validity. There's only one poll that counts, and that's the one taken on election day by those who choose to vote.
margaret richardson October 20, 2012 at 05:03 PM
But what is your response to our privatized election security? I am thankful that MN has paper ballots.
David October 20, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I did not see that comment, you'll have to elaborate.
Donald Lee October 20, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Although I take issue with many of the points in the article, the more eyes we have on the election process, the harder it is to cheat. The election judges are supposed to post the election results (minus the absentee ballots) in a "public place" at the end of election day. I encourage everyone who votes close to 8 PM to ask for that posting, and write down the results. Compare them to the results you see reported the next day. You should see no surprises.
Donald Lee October 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The Washington Post story - listing the 33 states with Voter ID is a great resource. Thank you.
Donald Lee October 20, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I have a name for this thing about requiring photo ID for voting. It's called "progress".
Donald Lee October 20, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Computers are tools, not solutions. There was an article recently in the Communications of the ACM (professional computer science geek magazine) about so-called "on-line" voting, and various ways to do voting "electronically". The article discussed at length how completely inadequate software and hardware technology is to handle voting. The conclusion of the article was that computers may NEVER be up to the task. The article also spent a lot of time complaining how hard it is to get people to understand how bad it is, and why it should NOT be used. (I frequently hear the question: "why can't we just vote on-line?" - A: because it's way too easy to screw it up.) When the priority is on integrity and accuracy, nothing beats paper and diligent election judges. There are no short-cuts, either.
Nick October 20, 2012 at 09:36 PM
My wife's uncle is very disabled. He hasn't had a job in decades because his body is so wracked with arthritis that he is either in excruciating pain, on a magical mystery tour from the pain killers, or both. Usually both. And he has an ID. Why? Because having an ID is a necessity to live any kind of normal life. People need ID's to function. I don't understand why there is some kind of perceived exception with respect to voting. It's not an inherent constitutional right, like the right to bear arms is, and you can't buy a gun without an ID. I don't like double-standards. If you need an ID to exercise your Second Amendment rights, why do you not need an ID to exercise a right that's not even spelled out in the Bill of Rights, nor even given to all citizens? The right to vote is a qualified right, and the exercise of a qualified right requires proof of qualification, in other words, an ID.
Donald Lee October 20, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Let me add that if you are concerned about election integrity, you have to be careful with exceptions for "disability". If you have any sort of incentive for fraud, and there is an exception for people who "can't get around", you might find houses full of people at bogus addresses who "can't get around" wanting to vote. It makes no sense to say "no one needs an ID" when the problem is "some people don't have IDs". The reasonable fix is - get those people IDs, and make exceptions, carefully, where necessary. If you believe that there is no fraud, then you owe me $1000. Pay up.
Susan October 20, 2012 at 11:41 PM
As I've said before, Nick, my dad has no need for an ID. His doctor and clinic (who he visits once a year) know him...no ID is asked for there. His home care workers pick up his medications...no ID is needed there. He doesn't own a gun. He doesn't travel. He doesn't buy alcohol. Some may (and have said here) that he doesn't contribute to society. Well, not anymore (other than the taxes he still pays), I guess, but before his disability got so bad, he owned several businesses and employed many people over three decades. I don't care how many times you tell me that my dad is an extreme example, or that he "should" be able to vote, or even that he is being a bad, selfish citizen for either not going through that physical and financial hardship just to get to the DMV, or because he doesn't want to lose his right to vote, you will NEVER convince me that this amendment is justified. You also continue to show the heartless side of the Republican party that you all deny exists. How on earth, in our little group of six to ten people here, are there two of us related to someone who is severely disabled? Many more of these people exist than you are willing to admit, and Donald, your hypocrisy on this issue is astounding! Aren't you the one always preaching about not making laws and regulations that are an overreach of government and that these types of things are some terrible stain on our freedoms? Apparently that's only when the Democrats propose such legislation...
Donald Lee October 20, 2012 at 11:55 PM
This is exactly like the "kneeling busses" that the MTC was forced to buy. You had a very small number of people who wanted to use the bus. The MTC put together a solution - door to door service for those people. (Metro Mobility) The solution worked well. It was cost effective. The riders liked the door-to-door service. (going out to a regular bus stop in a wheelchair is a real pain) An activist/group sued. The court said, "We don't like your solution. These people have to be treated exactly like everyone else." EVERY bus in the fleet has to be replaced so that they "kneel" to accommodate wheelchairs. It cost millions. Maintenance continues to drive cost on the more complex busses. There is less space on the bus for regular people. It provided poorer service to those in wheelchairs. It was a spectacularly dumb solution to the wrong problem. Same with Voter ID. There may be people who for whatever reason just can't or won't get IDs, and still want to vote. We still want to ask for ID from all the other people, 99% of whom are carrying their IDs because they DRIVE to the polling place. The reasonable solution is to find a way to get that problem solved, not to cripple the integrity of the voting system by requiring NO ID when voting. There is no hypocrisy, bigotry, wheel-chair-phobia, hatred of old people or racism in that. It is about fixing the right problem. If you believe that there is NO FRAUD, I can't help you.
Susan October 21, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Pending again!! Before this conversation goes the wrong direction again, I am going to bow out. I have no need to read that my dad is a bad citizen again or that, through no fault of his own, you all think he shouldn't be able to vote - don't bother to argue this, it IS exactly what you are saying. I will however reserve the right to bring this subject up again the next time a Conservative is bent out of shape because the Democrats want to force some new regulation on a business that will "hurt" the business terribly. Or some new gun law that threatens to take away the rights of the gun owners. As I said, if the question on the ballot contained a clause about an exemption for those that would suffer a hardship in getting an ID, I would vote yes. If you tell me once more that this will only promote more fraud, I will laugh in your face....well, if I could. Donald, I just read your last comment. Why haven't you offered the solution of visiting people individually so they can get an ID without having to leave their home? Or would this cost too much? I guess you need to get an ID or you don't vote....how nice for the able bodied people of America. Enjoy your perfect, average life while you have it, you never know when someone will decide it's your turn to be thrown under the bus for the greater good.
JoJo October 21, 2012 at 02:58 AM
To Donald Lee's suggestion re: posting election day results: I closed down our ballot box at the primary, which is done with one member each from two major parties. I take a picture of the election results tape before it's even done printing the copies. Some of the results tapes get put into various envelopes and sealed, and one goes to city hall to be posted. We haven't had anyone else ask to see the tape at 8pm (other than me before I became an election judge) but would welcome it. All polling places should. I especially like MN Majority's recommendation to take a photo of the results tape. Anyone can do it. Since we still can't ask for ID's, it's one of the few things we can do.
Donald Lee October 21, 2012 at 03:02 AM
I think that is what I said. Solve the right problem. Make some sort of allowances for exceptions, like your father. Your father may well warrant an exception, but he is not the common case. I don't know enough about your father to make specific suggestions. The amendment leaves it to the legislature to work out this sort of detail. That's why the absentee ballot is worded as "substantially equivalent" on the ID. It leaves the legislature with some wiggle room. That said, exceptions have to be carefully considered. There is a difference between "exceptions" and "loopholes". Loopholes are exceptions that get abused.
Donald Lee October 21, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I'd like this to go viral. Pass it on. We need a slogan: "keep it clean - snap the tape". ;->
Edward October 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
TEA party attorney general in VA decides to ignore Republican voter registration fraud http://wtvr.com/2012/10/20/attorney-general-wont-investigate-worker-arrested-for-dumping-voter-registrations/
Donald Lee October 22, 2012 at 12:11 AM
This is the sort of thing that makes people cynical. I don't know anything about this case, and there MAY be reason for the attorney general is not investigating, but if that AG is tossing applications for partisan reasons, he should be condemned for it. Using his office to corrupt elections should be criminal. If guilty he should be held accountable.
jody siefert October 24, 2012 at 07:21 AM
minnpost.com, the most misleading, leftest media out there. Margaret, do you expect intelligent, non-sheep, folks like us to believe facts from minnpost? The problem with Minnpost is that they neglect to give the public all the facts; essentially misleading and taking advantage of those who are uninformed. So sad, we can now add "Democrat" as the new religion as I see it everyday how the DFL platform blinds those that claim they have faith to vote against God.
Markus October 26, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Dems at least appear to be more blatant about their intent to defraud voters. https://www.theprojectveritas.com/node/149
David October 26, 2012 at 12:45 AM
And here's Mark Ritche (D-ACORN) caught ignoring DFL voter fraud in 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4kf4j8ULSU&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5tJpVWVusk&feature=relmfu
Al Anderson October 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM
James Sanna -- I see you didnt reply to my comment about deleting highly offensive insulting posts. I hope you agree that by leaving them up you are telling us that 1) Anyone has the opportunity to do likewise without having their post deleted and 2) You are ok with people using that form of communication here. I find this one-sided approach to Patch editing to be far too common place with the Patch...which is why the Patch has little credibility with fiscal or social conservatives in regards to political/news features.
James Sanna (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Hi Jojo, That email was sent because a spambot started posting comments on our sites. I believe we've deleted all the spam comments, though.
Donald Lee October 30, 2012 at 03:58 PM
This looks like spam to me. These folks want their links posted. You shouldn't help them by posting their spam.
Wm Shears October 30, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Daryl, tell me, where do those letters to minority voters, telling them to vote on Wednesday, or to vote at the library, or any other lies to suppress the vote come from? Democrats? Hardly. Why is it every time--every time--I hear of a case of voter intimidation, it is the Republicans doing it?
Wm Shears October 30, 2012 at 04:54 PM
"You people?" Okay, Mrs. Romney.
Susan October 30, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Yep. I emailed James Sanna and another editor last night as soon as I saw it. If you look at the top of the story, you will see and "email author" link after his name. If you click on that, you will get a quick and easy way to let the editor/author know of the spam.
Mike Schoemer (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Yes. The user has been removed. Thanks
Lawrence Gordon October 31, 2012 at 11:51 PM
In a written statement... Bishop Peter Rogness said “the fundamental issue that brings us here is our concern for those for whom this step – which seems easy for most in the mainstream – becomes a barrier to participating in the shaping of our public life together.” I would really like to see the proof that voter id prevents anyone from participating in the shaping of our public life together or disenfranchises anyone who has a legal right to vote in his home precinct.
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