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Roberta Olson, Gwinner, N.D., Published March 09 2013

Letter: Voting is a right, not a privilege

House Bill 1332 would require government-issued photo identification.

This bill is a classic example of an American Legislative Exchange Council proposal. The out-of-state special interest group funded by big business would take away individuals’ rights to advance their own agenda.

This bill would restrict minorities, low income people, senior citizens, college students, young residents of North Dakota and would take away a voter’s ability to sign an affidavit to verify his or her identity.

There has been no history of voter fraud in North Dakota, therefore there is no need for restrictive voters legislation.

Research sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice has found that 18 percent of citizens 65 and older do not have government issued photo identification; 20 percent of young people (18-29) do not have them either. Proponents of photo identification legislation, citizen requirements and other restrictions have been unable to provide evidence these strict requirements provide solutions to the problems that threaten voting integrity or correct election irregularities.

The North Dakota Legislature should be focusing and issues like infrastructure, funding for pre-K education, education or issues relating to western North Dakota associated with the oil fields, not wasting time on unnecessary restrictive voting legislation for a problem that does not exist.