ID for smokes, beer … and ballots?

The push for tighter voter ID requirements is undemocratic.

There is a new petition circulating in Minneapolis that calls for a mandatory photo ID check in order to vote. Strangely, this motion to change local elections isnâÄôt coming primarily from Minneapolis residents. As the Minnesota Independent reports, most of the petitionsâÄô backers live outside of Minneapolis. So, why should they care? Conservative action groups like Citizens for a Better Minneapolis and the Minnesota VotersâÄô Alliance are trying to alter Twin Cities politics by targeting those traditionally liberal voter blocs least likely to have a valid photo ID handy: the elderly, the poor and the young. It may seem intuitive to ask voters to show a valid photo ID at the polls, but any measure that discourages already abysmally low voter turnout should be discouraged. WhatâÄôs more, transient college students rarely keep driverâÄôs license addresses up-to-date. Earlier this year, the state Legislature defeated a similarly undemocratic voting amendment authored by Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano. Emmer, who is also running for governor this year, has a history of advocating for tighter voter ID requirements. Current federal law calls only for the identification of first-time voters registered by mail who didnâÄôt already mail in verification. Only half of states currently call for some form of identification beyond the federal rule. Seven states require a photo ID at the polls. Citizens across the political spectrum have a stake in voter transparency and participation and should be working hard to ensure that no legitimate potential voters are turned away from the polls.