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Zellers: Voting is 'privilege, not right'

Posted by: Eric Roper under Minnesota legislature Updated: April 21, 2011 - 6:26 PM

 

Update at 5:50 p.m. (See Zellers response below)

House Speaker Kurt Zellers said he believes voting is a privilege rather than a right during an appearance on 95.9 FM's "Late Debate" radio show Wednesday night.

The Maple Grove Republican made the comment after 11 p.m. while discussing legislation that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls on Election Day. 

"When you go to even a Burger King or a McDonalds and use your debit card, they'll ask you to see your ID [to be] sure its you," Zellers said. "Should we have to do that when we vote, something that is one of the most sacred -- I think it's a privilege, it's not a right. Everybody doesn't get it because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege."

Hot Dish feels compelled to point out that the 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th amendments to the U.S. Constitution reference voting as a right, not a privilege. It must also be noted that the U.S. Congress in 1965 passed what it called the Voting Rights Act.

Update: Zellers said in an interview Thursday evening that he misspoke and understands voting is a Constitutional right. "I fully understand it’s a right we all have," Zellers told the Star Tribune. "I probably should have said it a little bit better at that late hour at night.”

The audio is posted below:

 

 

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