When Minnesota voters head to the polls this November, they’ll decide on whether to amend their state’s constitution to “require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote,” and to mandate the state issue free ID to eligible voters beginning in July of 2013.
As we reported this summer, the amendment’s language is plagued with problems. So much so, that lawyers thought they could challenge the amendment’s appearance on the ballot. But they lost in the state’s Supreme Court.
What voters won’t necessarily know when they vote on the measure is that only government-issued ID will be acceptable—not student IDs. And while the amendment requires the state to issue “free identification,” it’s taxpayers who will be paying, as well as individuals who may need to travel as far as 100 miles to issuing agency, only after they’ve obtained a $26 birth certificate.
Outside of the legal arena, community groups have been doing their share of work to defeat the amendment—and are now using social media to spread their message. Our community journalist Lolla Mohammed Nur considers one campaign for, by and about the communities that will face exclusion if the voter ID amendment is passed on Election Day.
Communities of Color Use Storytelling to Oppose Minnesota’s Voter ID Amendment
Minnesota-based Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) launched its “Voices for Voting Rights” video series, a campaign that uses narratives and storytelling to engage communities of color in opposition to the voter ID amendment. Jointly produced by Line Break Media, the series of five videos target five Minnesota communities: Latino, Somali, African-American, Native American and Hmong.
The videos are part of the OAP’s ongoing training and policy research aimed to reframe the discourse around voter ID.
“What was important to us was to be able to…have each video both come from and speak to each community,” said Vina Kay, OAP Director of Research and Policy. “We want it to belong to the community. We wanted the people to be comfortable in how they were communicating their story.”
The first video, released September 24, features Latino community members, including a religious leader and community organizers. “Voter ID would be one more systematic blow,” says Deacon Carl Valdez of Incarnation Catholic Church/Sagrado Corazón de Jesús. “The average citizen does not know that many people do not have the same conveniences, especially those who are poor, those of a different race, those who do not have the same opportunities that many people have.”