The Democratic mayors of Minnesota’s two largest cities are speaking out against a proposed voter identification constitutional amendment. During a state Capitol news conference today, mayors Chris Coleman of St. Paul and R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis warned that the proposed change in state election law will be expensive for their cities. They also claim it will restrict the rights of many eligible voters. The mayor of St. Paul offered numerous adjectives describing the effort to require all eligible Minnesotans to show photo identification in order to vote. Within just a couple of minutes, Mayor Chris Coleman said the amendment is terrible, unnecessary, restrictive, cynical and wrongheaded. Coleman is also concerned about the cost to his city, which he estimated at $870,000 just for first-year implementation.
“It is just another example of an unfunded mandate by the state of Minnesota to push problems of the state, or perceived problems of the state, or political battles on the part of some of the legislative delegation,” Coleman said, “to push these costs back onto the cities of the state of Minnesota, at a time when cities are really struggling to make basic budgets.”
Rybak similarly criticized the amendment, which he contends would cause a mess for local governments. But unlike Coleman, neither Rybak nor Minneapolis elections director Grace Wachlarowicz would estimate the cost to their city. However, Rybak said he is troubled by the potential effect.