Voter ID questions readers still want answered
ST. PAUL, Minn. — It's three weeks before a key election on voter ID and many people still don't have the answers they need.
From county government costs to politics to whether the U.S. Constitution will even allow it, readers in Minnesota Public Radio's Public Insight Network are asking questions about the photo ID vote.
We've tried to answer some of them in our MPR News primer. Those include potential costs, basic on how it might operate and who might be affected. But there are still plenty of unknowns on exactly how the photo ID effort would be run if the amendment passed.
Starting today, we'll be posting practical questions from our audience. Take a look, then post some thoughts below. Make us all a little smarter.
What happens if you have don't have a permanent address?
Christopher Hertel of St. Paul plans to vote No on the amendment. "I know people who have been forced out of their homes and who currently have no permanent address. They are still citizens, and they still have the right to vote."
He asks: "Will they be provided with 'free identification' even if they do not have a permanent address?"
Here's how the Minnesota Secretary of State's office describes how it works currently for people who are homeless or in shelters.
Residence is considered to be the place where you sleep, so if you sleep in a shelter, at a friend's residence, or under a bridge, this is your residence. If your residence is a place where the post office will not deliver mail to you, then you should include your mailing address on the registration form, if you have one. If you pre-register and do not have a mailing address, then your record will be flagged as "challenged" and you will have to answer some questions before being allowed to vote. You will be challenged because the county would not have been able to verify your address prior to the election. The election judge will ask you about where you live and you will have to swear that you are eligible to vote before you will be given a ballot. Homeless individuals who have not pre-registered to vote often have difficulty providing proper proof of residence, as is required to complete Election Day registration. As such, the law makes special accommodations for those who are staying at homeless shelters. In this case, employees of the shelter are allowed to "vouch" for the homeless individual, meaning that the employee signs a sworn statement that they personally know that the homeless individual resides at the shelter.Will a photo ID amendment make it harder for homeless people to vote?