Prominent Minnesotans Are Among Amici in Photo I.D. Case
On January 9, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral argument in the consolidated appeals of Crawford v. Marion City Election Board, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita. At issue in these cases is whether “an Indiana statute mandating that those seeking to vote in person, produce a government-issued photo identification, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
An agreement among the litigants to permit all would-be Friends of the Court to submit briefs on this question, has drawn two prominent Minnesotans into the fray – in support of different parties. A brief filed on behalf of U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis), and others, in support of the Petitioners challenging the law, argues:
The requirement is unconstitutional not only because voters must initially spend money to obtain the requisite government issued photo ID or obtain related documentation, but also because voters who wish to qualify as “indigent” under the statute must make a separate trip to a county office and “affirm” their economic status before being allowed to vote. This is an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right to vote. This Court has made clear that “[a] state violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment whenever it makes the affluence of the voter or payment of a fee an electoral standard.”A brief filed on behalf of former Minnesota Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), and others, in support of the Respondent election officials, urges:
The lower courts found no evidence that Indiana’s Photo ID requirement disenfranchises voters or suppresses turnout, either generally or among any particular group. The Petitioners – like plaintiffs in similar challenges across the country – have failed to identify even a single voter whom the Photo ID requirement would disenfranchise. Indeed, the available social science data suggest that voter turnout increased among some of the purportedly disadvantaged groups in Indiana after it adopted the contested Photo ID requirements. At a minimum, there is no evidence that Indiana’s Photo ID requirements reduce voter turnout among purportedly disadvantaged groups.The complete text of Congressman Ellison’s brief is accessible here and Secretary Kiffmeyer’s brief is accessible here. The entire collection of filings is accessible here.