Minnesota state House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R), who is strongly pushing for passage of a voter ID law, has now backed away from comments he made in a radioÂ appearance on Wednesday -- when he said of the act of voting: "I think it's a privilege, it's not a right."
"When you go to even a Burger King or a McDonald's and use your debit card, they'll ask you to see your ID," Zellers said during a late-night interview, the Star Tribune reports. "Should we have to do that when we vote, something that is one of the most sacred -- I think it's a privilege, it's not a right. Everybody doesn't get it, because if you go to jail or if you commit some heinous crime your rights are taken away. This is a privilege."
In fact, voting is referred to as being a right in numerous amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The next day, Zellers walked back the comment. "I fully understand it's a right we all have," Zellers said on Thursday. "I probably should have said it a little bit better at that late hour at night."
According to the Star Tribune, the comment occurred some time after 11 p.m.