Will photo ID really thwart seniors?

Concerns about senior citizens continue to frame the debate over whether Minnesotans should be required to show a photo ID to vote. MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire took a deep look a those concerns today.

Voter ID amendment supporters say the senior worries are a red herring, noting that seniors can already get a state-issued ID without documentation, although it's a process that currently requires a fee.

"Senior citizens that do not have a birth certificate for one reason or another, or [who] would have an extraordinary difficulty obtaining a birth certificate, can still get identification using that one-page form that's in current law," Dan McGrath, a leader in the amendment push, tells Pugmire.

We continue to hear from people in the MPR News Public Insight Network who believe those without a photo ID may end up unable to jump through any new hoops.

"I can speak personally to the situation that some seniors are going to face, as my birth certificate did not show my name as it has been used since I was 15 on official documents, including my drivers license," writes Cathryn Pernu of Minneapolis.

Only relatively recently, I went to court to effect a legal name change to fix this, seeing the writing on the wall post-911.

With a photo ID requirement, think about what similar circumstances might mean for an elderly long-time voter of limited means with no current picture ID whose birth was in another state, and long-ago documents don't match up.

Or think about somebody whose birth certificate says "Baby Boy Carlson" because his parents hadn't named him at the time it was generated. Back then, such inconsistency it was seldom an issue; while I was still a minor, a judge had told my parents it wasn't worth bothering with.

Up for discussion Is the concern over photo ID and voting a misplaced worry for senior citizens or will it really keep many from the voting booth?

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