Unfortunately, this election year there is a group masking ideals of democracy into something undemocratic: voter intimidation. A small but vocal group decided that instead of spending Election Day encouraging voting, its members will hang out at polling locations discouraging voting based on dubious claims of fraud.
Despite Minnesota having the strongest election laws in the country, and that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in the state, these individuals will head to polling locations where people of color and low income earners vote to frighten these communities from voting. They also target college campuses.
If you are at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and have lived in Minnesota for at least 20 days prior to Nov. 2, you are eligible to vote in Minnesota. As students, we have the unique ability to choose our political destiny by electing to vote either in our hometown or in the place where we spend the majority of our time: our college homes. Pick one, and vote. Not sure where you vote? Check out pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.
If you are not registered to vote, you can register at the polls on Election Day. If you live on campus, just bring your student ID because Minnesota Election law requires college campuses to provide their housing roster to local polling places. If you live off campus and you are not registered, bring a picture ID, like a state driver’s license, Minnesota ID card, your student ID, a Military ID or a Tribal ID. In addition to the photo ID you will need a utility bill dated within the last 30 days. You can use your electric, gas, water, sewer or solid waste bill. You can also use your TV/cable or phone (cell phone included) bill or an itemized rent statement from your landlord. If you run into any problems, please call the voter-rights hot line at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
We, as young people are going to make our voices heard and make the politicians pay attention to what we care about. It’s easy, it’s important and no one can stop us.
Jamison Tessneer is an organizing director for Minnesota Public Interest Research Group. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.