Archived Story

Driving, fishing are not rights

Published 7:38am Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Arc is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that advocates for people with intellectual and development disabilities. The Arc opposes voter ID laws because people with disabilities, and others, would face hurdles to voting.

People with disabilities are one of several groups in our society that is less likely to have an ID. Ten percent of voters with disabilities do not have a photo ID, according to the League of Women Voters Minnesota. This would mean that 10,000 Minnesotans with disabilities would have to overcome barriers to vote, based on conservative estimates. (Sources:, League of Women Voters Minnesota, Minnesota State Council on Disability)

Securing an ID could impose costs on people, even if IDs are provided for “free.” These costs include travel to the appropriate county or state office, which in some cases would be many miles from one’s home. Once there, people would have to present documentation to prove their identity, such as a birth certificate. Having a copy made of one’s birth certificate costs $26 in Minnesota. People should not have to pay to ensure their basic right to vote.

Yes, it is true, an ID is required for other important activities in life, such as driving a car, cashing a check, buying liquor and even fishing. But these activities are not basic rights; there are no constitutional protections for driving on our roads, using checking accounts, purchasing alcohol or enjoying our lakes. On the other hand, voting is a fundamental right, protected in law, and central to everyone’s participation in our democracy. People should not have to jump through unnecessary hoops and scale huge hurdles to exercise that right.


Jo Lowe

Albert Lea

  • Al Helgerson

    Good points!
    Heres a couple more..

    - If an adult does not currently have a photo id, whats the chance they are either poor, elderly, a college kid or has some type of disability? My guess pretty high.

    - How many “fake” id’s could a guy find on a college campus on any given day?

    - Anyone ever heard a person say “Thats you?” when they look at your drivers license photo? Whether it is weight gain, loss, beard, hair change etc.
    Who is going to be in charge if the polling person says
    “I don’t think this is you?”

    These guys are trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exsist!
    It’s all political

  • Angry1

    You will have to forgive me its early morning but I cannot find a position statement on “voting” at maybe I am not looking in the right place or something could somebody post a link to it please.

    Voter I.D. is not to deprive people of the right to vote. It’s about insuring a free and fair election to make sure that ALL legal votes are counted and voters are not disenfranchised by people using the system to commit fraud and corruption. The state can provide I.D. cards at nominal cost right from state of Minnesota web site today.

    Identification card fees are $18 for people younger than 65, $11 for those ages 65 and older, and $0.50 for those with a qualifying physical or developmental disability or qualified mental illness. If your card is damaged, lost or stolen and you need a duplicate (replacement), the fee is $13.50

    So if I understand this right, a photo I.D. card for the group of people we are talking about comes to a total cost to the individual of .50 cents and taking the time to go and do it. That is not much of a threshold to overcome to make sure their vote counted along with others.

    The big issue is when certain special interest groups manipulate and exploit the system this compromises election integrity and corrupts the results making us no better than a banana republic.

    The argument based on cost is irrelevant and just plain ridiculous you mean to tell me that .50 cents and taking the time to exercise the responsibility on a personal level to ensure your rights is too much to ask?

    Today we have people lamenting on .50 cents and taking the time and responsibility to exercise their rights when cost of those rights and freedoms we all enjoy today were paid in blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers, they paid dearly, many paid with their lives.

    Maybe the words we should be focusing on are Perspective, Responsibility then Rights in that order.