DULUTH-The local DFL party hosted former Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-Minnesota) on Saturday morning for one of the highest profile attacks of voter I.D. so far during this election season.
"This constitutional amendment ought to be defeated on the groups that it's unintelligible, internally contradictory, it is a repressive measure," Oberstar told a group at the Central Labor Body Temple in Duluth.
"It will take Minnesota from first in the nation in voting to worst in the nation in voting on a level with Mississippi," Oberstar said.
Other groups campaigning for voter I.D. say the system is necessary to reduce fraud and that free I.D. cards will be given to anyone who wants one.
But groups including "Our Vote Our Future" (also a host of Saturday's event) say that is an oversimplification and the change would actually be costly to taxpayers who will face new hurdles to cast their ballots.
Oberstar took to the podium before starting a day of action that included door knocking.
He called the description of the I.D. question on the ballot "not enough" for voters to make an informed decision.
He also says calling voting a qualified right - like using an I.D. while boarding an airplane or buying alcohol - misrepresents the democratic process.
"Those are privileges," Oberstar said. "Voting is a right. The fundamental distinction is we should not impose restrictions on the right to vote."
"We should always, as we've done in the history of this country, expand that right. This constitutional amendment proposal takes us back to a dark and repressive era of American history," Oberstar said.
Supporters of I.D.s posted on their "Protect My Vote" website say they have looked at outside states and their rules for reference.
They posted in their F.A.Q. section that in a Georgia court case a judge ruled that protesting groups failed "to uncover anyone who can attest to the fact that he/she will be prevented from voting provides significant support for the conclusion that the photo I.D. requirement does not unduly burden the right to vote."
Groups like the league of women voters disagree and have said the requirement will inhibit groups including seniors, veterans, and students from voting.