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PoliGraph: Simon misses on voting claim

False image.GIFThe Legislature is weighing a controversial bill that would require voters to present a state-issued photo identification to vote.

Opponents say the proposal would block the state's elderly from casting ballots, as they are less likely to drive.

Among the opponents is Rep. Steve Simon, DFL - St. Louis Park, who frequently says that, "25 percent of seniors don't even have a photo ID."

That's the case in Wisconsin-- but not in Minnesota.

The Evidence

There's a lot of evidence that older people and minorities are less likely than the general population to have photo identification.

But to support their claim, opponents of the bill point to a 2005 Wisconsin study driver license data that found that only 25 percent of those over 65 have a driver's license or a photo ID.

That data is old and based on information from another state.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, about 10.5 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older do not have some form of photo identification. The figure is based on 2009 demographic data and is adjusted for annual mortality rates among the elderly.

The Verdict

Far more of Minnesota's oldest residents have photo identification than Simon contends. His claim is false.

-- By Catharine Richert


Minnesota House of Representatives, Reps. Simon and Winkler Respond to Photo ID Demonstration, Jan. 26, 2011

The Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin, by John Pawasarat, Employment and Training Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, June 2005

Brennan Center for Justice, Citizens Without Proof: A Survey of Americans' Possession of Documentary Proof of Citizenships and Photo Identification, Nov. 2006

U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, accessed May 10, 2011

Interview, Carrie Lucking, spokeswoman, House leadership, May 5, 2011

Interview, Patricia McCormack, Director of Driver Vehicle Services Division, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, May 13, 2011

Interview, Keesha Gaskins, Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice, May 10, 2011

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