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Mondale, Carlson, Penny step forward to co-chair coalition opposing photo ID amendment

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, July 27, 2012

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

ST. PAUL— The growing campaign to oppose the photo ID constitutional amendment introduced four prominent co-chairs at a news conference June 26. They represented all three of Minnesota’s major political parties: Democrat Walter Mondale, former U.S. Vice President; Republican Arne Carlson, former Minnesota Governor; and the Independence Party’s Tim Penny, a former U.S. Congressman. They were joined as co-chairs of the Our Vote Our Future coalition by longtime civil rights activist Josie Johnson.

“Minnesota doesn’t have a voter problem,” Mondale said. In the 2008 U.S. Senate and 2010 governor recounts, he noted, “there wasn’t one suggestion, one hint, one whiff of a problem in the casting and processing of ballots… This constitutional amendment is designed to discourage voting. It’s not designed to fix a problem — because there isn’t one.”

“Frankly, it terrifies me,” said Carlson, denouncing the amendment. “Where does this constitutional amendment come from? A problem? Research? No. It comes from the Koch brothers” (right wing oil multi-millionaires bankrolling right-wing campaigns). “This is an outside force, coming to Minnesota, telling us how our constitution ought to be designed…”

“The constitution is about expanding our rights and opportunities, not restricting our rights and opportunities,” said Penny. “The implications of this will be fraught with problems and inequities… It’s going to pose problems for our military personnel, for seniors, for rural voters, for students.”

Carlson noted that the amendment would end Minnesota’s same-day voter registration, which enables 500,000 people to vote.

Not so long ago, people died in the struggle for the right to vote, civil rights activist Johnson noted. “I urge every Minnesotan to vote no on voter ID November 6.”

The Minnesota AFL-CIO is part of the coalition opposing the photo ID amendment. For more information, visit www.OurVoteOurFuture.org.

Former Governor Arne Carlson, former Vice President Walter Mondale, and civil rights leader Josie Johnson speak out against the photo ID amendment at a June 26 news conference.

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