The mayors of the state's two largest cities blasted a proposed constitutional amendment that would make a series of election-law changes, including requiring all voters to show a government-issued photo ID.
Chris Coleman of St. Paul and R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis said the change is unnecessary, will disenfranchise voters without current-address IDs and will cost the two cities money they could be spending to hire police officers or address other needs.
Coleman, a DFLer, called the Republican-backed amendment a "cynical political ploy."
"This is a terrible amendment that is not only an attempt to restrict voting, on the parts of seniors, on the parts of students, it is I think a cynical political ploy, quite frankly, that seeks to undo 40 years of Minnesota being one of the most forward-thinking states in terms of voter eligibility, in terms of getting people out to vote."
Rybak, also a DFLer, said the amendment "will create a mess, passing huge costs onto local governments, disenfranchising seniors and veterans, and creating confusion over something Minnesota should be proud of."
Accompanied by election directors from Ramsey County and the city of Minneapolis, both mayors said implementation of the law will add costs. "It's going to lead to property tax increases in Minneapolis and St. Paul and in cities across the state, as well as make it harder for people to vote," Rybak said.
In addition to requiring a valid, government-issued ID for all voters, the amendment would set up a new system of two-step provisional voting for those without the approved ID cards, and would change registration and eligibility standards in ways that could affect same-day registration.
Supporters say the amendment is needed to prevent fraud, and to give people confidence that their legitimate votes are not canceled out by ineligible voters.