Mpls. could require landlords to give new tenants voter info

A proposal to require Minneapolis landlords to give new tenants information about voter registration has won unanimous support from a City Council committee.

Advocates say the ordinance will boost voter turnout because renters move frequently and may not remember to register to vote at their new address.

Council Member Jacob Frey, who sponsored the measure, said he could have used the reminder about voter registration when he was younger and frequently changed apartments.

"When you're thinking about your study group and your track team and the girlfriend and the social and what you're going to do that weekend, and all the other trillions of stimuli that you have at a university, for instance, you don't think to register," Frey said.

Some rental property owners oppose the measure. Mark Jossart manages 50 apartment buildings in the city. He told the committee the requirement would do nothing but add to his workload.

"We don't need more to do. It's a difficult job as it is," Jossart said. "Happy to have you in my office for a day to see what goes on."

If the full Minneapolis City Council approves the proposal next week, it would go into effect in March.

Madison, Wis., passed a similar measure in 2012 only to have it overturned by the state Legislature. The Denver suburb of Westminster, Colo., also considered such a policy but the City Council ultimately shelved the proposal, after strong opposition from landlords.

While many states require voters to register ahead of time, Minnesota has allowed voters to register at the polling place on Election Day since the 1970s.

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