Posted: 07/14/15 20:53, Edited: 07/14/15 20:54
by Dave Mindeman
Minneapolis city councilman Jacob Frey recently made a proposal. The idea is that landlords should be required to hand out a voter registration form to each new apartment occupant.
Attorney and former candidate Cam Winton (that name is so "Frasier" thought this was a bad idea....
The proposal is a bad idea, for two reasons -- one practical, one philosophical. The practical reason: We need more affordable rental housing in Minneapolis, but putting additional requirements on apartment owners makes it less appealing for them to build and operate apartments here.....philosophical reason: So far in his first term in office, Frey -- a friendly, hardworking person, to be sure -- has demonstrated a troubling tendency to use the force of law to require action that he deems good.
Both of those "objections" are pretty absurd.
First, handing a new apartment renter one more piece of paper is hardly a big "imposition" on the landlord. Winton even insinuates that this "might" stop them from building a complex altogether. Whew...that's a stretch. But let me add that this idea seem pretty great to me. When doing political canvassing in multi-unit housing, the voter engagement is low. And many who end up wanting to vote fail to know that they must change their address on their registration. Too often they go to the polls on election day and are denied because they haven't been placed on their new residence voter list. And though they can still vote by proving their residency with maybe a utility bill, they more than likely will go away without casting their ballot. Reminding the apartment dweller with a registration form seems more of a courtesy than an inconvenience.
Secondly, in regards to Winton's "philosophical reasoning. Mandating the simple inclusion of a voter registration form (among the myriad of documents that the renter will get anyway) doesn't seem like some "heavyhanded" force of law as Winton suggests. Doing a good thing, in this case is simply doing a good thing.
Winton's complaint seems to be just another Republican objection to attempts to make voting easier and not harder.
And there lies the real motive for this little diatribe. Getting renters to vote seems much to "democratic".