Some concerned what voter ID means for elderly

10:01 PM, Sep 25, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - For many people who have one, providing photo identification when you vote seems reasonable. But for the estimated thousands who do not have an I.D., getting one may not be as easy as people think.

Such is the case inside the Camden Care Center nursing home where residents may be getting weaker, but their passion to participate is as strong as ever.

"What I'm afraid of is they'll be disenfranchised from the voting process," said Camden Care Center administrator Robert Letich.

Letich says the vast majority of his residents who want to vote don't have a photo identification card.

In November, Minnesotans will vote on a constitutional amendment asking people if voters should be required to show a state issued photo identification card before they cast a ballot.

Although Camden resident Mariann Greaves has an I.D, her 94-year old mother does not.

"It would be costly," said Greaves who says her mother only has $92 a month to spend on extra expenses.

Under the proposal, a state issued identification card would be free, but that does not factor in costs for transportation or paying for other documentation like birth certificates or marriage licenses.

Letich says Greaves' mother is not the only example. Camden resident Evelyn Collier couldn't go on a cruise two years ago because her home state of Mississippi apparently didn't have any records of her birth certificate and therefore she couldn't get an I-D.

"There is no one in the state of Minnesota that is legal that is unable to get state issued ID," said Dan McGrath.

McGrath is part of Minnesota Majority, the organization pushing for approval of the amendment. He says there are waivers available now to help people like Collier obtain an ID.

Those waivers take time and do cost money.

McGrath also says there is a state issued I.D. for people over 65 that will never expire. In order to get that you have to have some sort of identification like a birth certificate or marriage license.

He claims in other states that have enacted a voter I.D. measure; people did not have problems getting a photo I.D.

"The evidence does not support the idea that people will not be able to vote because of voter ID," he said.

Perhaps not, but some worry that at the very least it would make it a lot tougher for the most vulnerable.

"Some people are in stretchers, they have to be transported in stretchers, the costs to the facility is going to be huge," said Letich.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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