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Fight over military ID issue heats up photo ID campaign

Posted by: Jim Ragsdale under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota legislature Updated: October 24, 2012 - 2:21 PM

A dispute over whether military IDs would be acceptable under a proposed photo ID requirement for voting is headed into court.

At issue is a television ad released by Our Vote Our Future, the coalition opposing the proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. The issue is before voters Nov. 6.

The ad features Iraq War veteran Alex Erickson, who has been a long-time opponent of the photo ID requirement, saying, “When you put it all on the line defending freedom, nobody should take a basic freedom away from you.” Erickson goes on to say that to the supporters of the proposed amendment, “military IDs aren't’t valid IDs. Which means this amendment takes away a basic freedom from people who gave a whole lot.”

The main group supporting the amendment, ProtectMyVote.com, announced Wednesday that it will file a complaint against the ad and Our Vote Our Future because the ad is false and is an attempt to mislead voters into opposing the amendment.

“The entire ad is a lie, designed to mislead voters,” said Dan McGrath, head of the pro-photo ID group. His organization said in a complaint to the Office of Administrative Hearings that military IDs are acceptable now and will be valid under the amendment if it is approved by voters on Nov. 6.

“We’re not going to allow them to go on the air with a false advertisement designed to influence the vote,” he said. The complaint will be filed under the Fair Campaign Practices Act, he said.

McGrath argued that the amendment does not invalidate current law or rules, which accepts military IDs. All it says is that voters must show a “government-issued” ID, he noted.

He also sent a letter to TV stations in an attempt to stop the ad from running. His letter states that the ad is "demonstrably false" and says penalties under the law could apply to stations running the ad.

A statement from Eric Fought, communications director for Our Vote Our Future, said the amendment approved by the Legislature contained no exemption for military IDs, which other states have included.

"Supporters of the voter restriction amendment are asking Minnesotans to trust them: pass this amendment with no specifics, and we'll fill in the details later," Fought's statement said.

The television ad, released on Tuesday, shows scenes of warfare and then has Erickson saying, “This voter restriction amendment may seem like a good idea, but when the Legislature put it on the ballot, they screwed it up.”

Here is a link to the ad in question.

http://www.ourvoteourfuture.org/videos-ourvotemn/

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