Is "Free" Voter Photo ID A Poll Tax?

At a debate on Minnesota's proposed "voter photo ID" constitutional amendment, Minnesota Majority's Dan McGrath says people who don't have a photo ID will get one for free. But what's "free" comes with cost that people might have to pay, which could be challenged as an illegal poll tax. Bluestem Prairie watch the debate and weighs in with this evidence:

First, he(McGrath) implied that a petition of variance for an photo ID was free. McGrath starts talking about how those who currently have no ID could obtain them, beginning sat the 26.36 minute mark.

. . .for those few who do lack identification--I know a couple of people who don't have it--they'll be provided with an identification at no charge, it's going to be at state expense. I expect the state will pay somewhere around $2 million the first year in order to get those people indentification.

To the individual. there's no cost. Some have suggested there couldbe costs if they have to get a birth certificate, if there's something like that in order to get the identification card.

So he recognises that getting the documents for the "free" ID card might cost something, but at the 27:00 mark, he implies that that wouldn't be a problem, since the petition for variance is available:

But: if you don't have . . . a birth certificate, if you have extraordinary difficulty in obtaining a birth certificate or other supporting documents that you need to get your identification, there's already a process in place in current state law called a petition for variance, that enables people in those circumstances to get id without those primary and secondary documents. It takes a little longer to get your id because the Department of Public Safety has to check out your story but ultimately, it's no cost to the voter and it's minimal cost to the state for election integrity...

McGrath fails to note that there's a charge for the petition itself.

As Bluestem outlined the problem and the process earlier in the week in Minnesota Majority's Dan McGrath mansplains voter restriction to local election judge.

There's reason to be annoyed with McGrath . . . Perhaps the most disconcerting is this assertion:

99% of people have the documents they need to get ID already. For the rest, there's a one page form called petition for variance available from DVS to allow people who don't have a birth certificate, etc an ID. Do you really think there's any valid person in Minnesota who couldn't get a valid ID? The state already has procedures for unusual circumstances.

. . .Bluestem contacted Carolyn Jackson, lobbying coordinator at the American Civil Liberties Union-Minnesota with questions about the petition for variance.
Lawyer that she is, Jackson outlined three civil rights problems inherent in McGrath's suggestion:

A citizen must pay $10 for the petition for variance (The cost of the variance, when applied to voting, would be an unconstitutional poll tax)
The variance is granted at the discretion of government (the rights of American citizens are not discretionary)
DVS staffing levels are such that the investigation required for granting a petition is not a high priority and thus an investigation may take up to 30 days; should more petitions be filed, the average time could increase and exceed the system's capacity (due process)).
However, the form requires documentation -for instance, if one's name has been changed.

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