Student leaders and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Tuesday a proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment could pose significant barriers for college students who want to vote.
"It sounds like common sense, but it's filled with serious consequences," Rybak told a news conference at the University of Minnesota, where he was joined by student leaders from Minnesota colleges. "Thousands of students will be disenfranchised."
Their concern is that a requirement that all voters show a government-issued photo ID could complicate voting by students whose drivers licenses show their parents' home address, not their school address. ID supporters say these concerns can be addressed in the enabling legislation if the amendment is approved by voters.
Alex Kopel of the University of St. Thomas said if "government-issued" applies only To IDs from public colleges, "there's a chance students at private colleges and universities would have different rights." She described using election day registration in 2010 after her absentee ballot was rejected at the last minute.
"With this amendment, that scenario would have ended differently," she said.
University of Minnesota chemistry professor Chris Cramer, a member of the University Senate, said the organization voted overwhelmingly to oppose the amendment. "Voting is not a privilege," he said. "It is a fundamental right in a democracy."