The liberal group TakeAction Minnesota on Monday morning held a press conference to condemn what they said was racist imagery being used to promote a proposed voter ID law.
The Republican-controlled Minnesota legislature is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at a polling place.
An online banner on WeWantVoterID.com, a site created by the conservative group Minnesota Majority, shows an African-American male dressed in a black-and-white-striped prison suit and a person dressed in a blue mariachi costume standing alongside fictional characters. All of the characters are lined up waiting to vote and the online banner’s reads" “Voter Fraud: Watch How Easy It Is To Cheat In Minnesota’s Elections.”
“These images are racial profiling of voters at its ugliest, designed to drive fear and racial division throughout Minnesota in order to help pass a photo ID amendment at the legislature and on the fall ballot," Dan McGrath, Executive Director of TakeAction Minnesota. "They’re wrong and they should be removed from public view immediately."
Minneosta State Rep. Rena Moran (D) also condemned the image at the press conference.
Republicans across the country have pushed for stricter voting regulations, such as voter ID laws, to protect against alleged voter fraud. More than 30 states have changed voter laws since 2008, including requiring voter identification cards, eliminating same-day registration on voting day, prohibiting ex-felons from ballot access, restricting early voting and requiring proof of citizenship.
Democrats and others argue that voter ID laws are unnecessary due to a lack of evidence of any organized voter fraud scheme. They say it unfairly targets low-income, elderly, disabled, and minority voters, who are less likely to have a photo ID. Those groups also tend to support Democrats over Republicans.
TakeAction Minnesota called on Minnesota Majority to take down the image and apologize, but the group responded by accusing TakeAction Minnesota of "race-baiting."
"The people of Minnesota are wise to these old smear tactics," Minnesota Majority president Jeff Davis said in a statement. "It’s a testament to the fact that their arguments against Voter ID lack any merit when they resort to mud slinging with the old race card. Ad hominem attacks are a sure sign of losing an argument."