Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 08.16.2012

August 17, 2012

Today: Kate Carlson, returning youth exchange student outbound to Italy

 Birthdays: Leo Lawlor (8/15), Tim Madigan (8/16)

Next Week: Geralyn Sheehan – Classification

Last    Week:

No hedging here. Chuck Samuelson, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota, says “vote no” this November on two state constitutional amendments, the one limiting marriage to one man and one woman and the one requiring voters to have a photo ID.

The ACLU’s mission is to protect and defend the constitutional rights provided by the Minnesota State Constitution and the United States Constitution. Both proposed state amendments limit those rights in Samuelson’s view. He says they are unnecessary and would fundamentally change the framework of our state’s governing principles.

For the first time, the ACLU has created a political action group called “Vote No 2012” to oppose what he considers to be strictly partisan initiatives.

Samuelson said the ACLU sees the marriage amendment as redundant. There is already a state statute that limits marriage to one man and one woman, providing heterosexual couples with some 515 benefits not afforded to same sex couples. A constitutional amendment would only serve to tie the hands of future Legislatures, which in his mind is bad public policy.

The Voter Photo ID amendment, he said, is a partisan initiative designed to disenfranchise the young, the poor and the elderly. It would create an entirely new system of voting. It would confound the process for 40,000 absentee voters, including deployed members of the military. It would create problems for the 235,000 Minnesotans who do not have valid driver’s licenses. And he noted, passports would not be considered a valid photo ID.

This amendment also provides for “provisional ballots.” People who cannot provide a valid photo ID would have their votes set aside and given a period of time to produce the ID. He called this voting purgatory, creating a second category of voters. Supporters of the amendment say the initiative is designed to address voter fraud. Samuelson says there is none.

He acknowledges the Legislature’s right to proposed constitutional amendments, but he said it is the citizen’s duty to vote on them. And he encourages us to vote no.

Guests: Mathew Kaste (Kaste), Ruth Crane (Crane), Michele Merxbauer (Hoschouer)

Scholarship Enhancement: Duane Benson

Announcements:

— It was “throwback” bike tour T-shirt day, and several of the order showed up with bright yellow 1995 originals. After an agonizingly suspenseful tiebreaker, Keith Covey won the coveted cup with removable spoon as a prize. Our orders are to create an ambulatory bridgade of bike tour promotion. So find those shirts and keep wearing them.

— Scott Richardson reported that Mark Henke was still in serious, but stable condition at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, following emergency surgery August 4. Since then, his condition has improved, but he will need to get stronger before he undergoes further surgery to deal with his original health issue, renal cancer.

— Carl Caskey and company are looking for the next Rotary Good Neighbor.  Nominees will be considered for having given expression to the Rotary motto of “service above self” by performing selfless acts of kindness or service that contribute to a stronger, more cohesive community. They must be a resident of the Northfield School District. Rotary members and their family members are not eligible for the award. Submissions will be accepted through September 20.

 — The Key is looking for donated art to sell at an upcoming Community Art Sale. If you have something to donate, contact Nancy Amerman at 649-2087.