Mayor, City Council take stand against voter ID requirement
Duluth's mayor and City Council leadership took a stand against a proposed voter ID requirement at a Wednesday morning news conference. Mayor Don Ness said the amendment to the state constitution would place a new financial burden on the city, re...
Duluth's mayor and City Council leadership took a stand against a proposed voter ID requirement at a Wednesday morning news conference.
Mayor Don Ness said the amendment to the state constitution would place a new financial burden on the city, remarking that "legislators from St. Paul want to stick local governments with the tab for a significant overhaul of our elections system that Minnesota doesn't need. This amendment is nothing but an unfunded mandate that will increase property taxes on city residents and set up barriers for eligible Minnesota voters. Talk about putting the cart before the horse."
Proponents of the amendment contend it is needed to guard against voter fraud and to ensure that only legitimate votes determine the outcome of elections.
Council President Dan Hartman said he worries about the effect of the proposed ID requirement on seniors, students, veterans and those engaged in active-duty military service overseas.
"This amendment hasn't been thought through and provides no safeguards to guarantee voting rights for the most mobile -- our students and military personnel -- nor the least mobile: seniors in care facilities," he said in a prepared statement. "I'm urging Duluthians to vote 'No' on this amendment on November 6."
Council Vice President Patrick Boyle represents Duluth's 2nd District, which is home to a large population of students, and said the proposed new voter requirements could disenfranchise many people pursuing degrees in higher education.
"There are over 1,000 students in my district that could be excluded from the polls if this amendment passes. That's wrong and it's bad for Duluth and for Minnesota," he said in a statement issued Wednesday.
If the amendment is enacted, putting it into effect could cost St. Louis County anywhere from $650,000 to $2.4 million, according to a recent report by the Citizens for Election Integrity.
Ness concluded the news conference by talking about what Minnesotans are proud of, including the state being first in the nation for voter participation.
"We want to make it easier for eligible voters to do their civic duty, not place restrictive, confusing barriers in their way," he said.