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College Students Rally, Oppose Voter ID Amendment

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- One of the most contentious issues on the ballot in Minnesota this year is the Voter ID Amendment, which would require a government-issued ID to vote.

TV commercials have focused on seniors, minorities, and preventing voter fraud, but a rally at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday focused on student access.

Students from a half-dozen colleges rallied on the steps of Coffman Union, opposing the amendment.

"As students, we must vote no and send this poorly thought out plan back to the legislature," said Alex Kopel from the University of St. Thomas.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak chimed in, too.

"Think about the college student who's moved from one place to the other, and now they can use their ID from the University of Minnesota, but now they would have to have ID from state of Minnesota," Rybak said.

Rally members said student IDs won't count if the amendment passes, meaning students will need to make choices -- and may not vote.

"We get time off for classes to go vote, but if I have to take a day off to drive home and vote, or if I have to take a day off to stand at the DMV, I certainly will vote ... But there are a lot of students who might not vote," said Alexandra Griffin of Winona State.

The students claim as many as 200,000 students would be affected each year.

"We're a state that's historically had some really close elections; 200,000 students is more than enough students to swing an election one way or the other" Kopel said.

Supporters such as Moshe Volovik say questions will be answered by the enabling legislation.

"If you look at the actual text that will be added to the state constitution, it simply says it has to be a government-issued ID," he said.

And he added that the amendment prevents voter fraud.

"It just makes sense to double check that people are who they say they are, live where they say they do; just makes sense," Volovik said.

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