Driving, fishing are not rightsPublished 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: Disabilitystatistics.org, 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.