Polling place photo ID activists launch St. Paul petition drive

Categories: Politics
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The bitter fallout has spread wider in the aftermath of Norm Coleman's recount loss to Al Franken in last year's U.S. Senate race: A petition drive now underway in St. Paul, backed by Republican activists, could lead to a charter amendment there requiring voters in city elections to show a valid photo ID before they get to cast ballots on Election Day.

The Minnesota Voters Alliance is spearheading the petition drive, and a similar effort in Duluth. Andy Cilek, the group's co-founder, says the change is necessary to combat voter fraud and restore public confidence in elections. If successful, he plans to use the results to put pressure on the Legislature to pass a similar law. Previous attempts to pass photo ID laws at the state level have gone nowhere.

Cilek's critics say he's is offering a solution in search of a problem, and likely trying to intimidate voters along the way. They point out that Minnesota residents already must furnish proof of identity when they register to vote, either with a drivers license, a Social Security number, or other documentation, or with someone's sworn oath. On Election Day, voters sign a polling place roster that confirms their eligibility to vote, as well as their understanding of the penalties if they are providing false information.

Cilek's petition would require that voters bring a photo ID with them on Election Day as well. Here's the charter amendment Cilek wants to see:

In all St. Paul elections for the offices of Mayor and City Council, and special elections held under the City Charter, voters voting in person must present a valid photo ID card prior to casting their ballot.

Such Photo ID must be one of the following; a current Minnesota Driver License, State ID, an ID card issued by the U. S. Government, or a Tribal Government, all with a valid St. Paul voting residence. If a citizen cannot afford a photo ID, The City shall provide the means for the voter to obtain a Minnesota ID at no cost.
Cileks, a self-described right-wing activist who says he convinced -- despite any hard evidence -- that dead people voted in the last election, and that ACORN has sullied the integrity of voter rolls, wants to know how could anyone oppose what he calls such a "reasonable measure."

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