MN Voter ID Campaign Exploits Veteran Sympathies in New Billboard

Driving down I-94 over the weekend, I saw an odd new billboard. The billboard says VOTE YES and features a small image of a woman holding a flag and hugging a man in military fatigues. There's absolutely no indication of what the man and woman have to do with voter restriction. To me, they just seemed like random patriotic imagery.

A quick search revealed that MPR actually just produced an article on the billboard. According to MPR's interview with voter restriction chairman Dan McGrath, the billboard is meant to play off a recent television ad:

"We did focus group testing on a number of different concepts, and one of them was around the idea of defending democracy," he said. "We tied the idea of defending democracy in war, military veterans, with voter ID, and it focus-group-tested very well. So that's how our ad came together."

That's maybe a bit more than you could realistically hope to communicate with a single picture.

Leaving that aside, members of our armed forces should be offended at how this ad exploits their service to push for taking away the basic freedoms they have fought for. Our men and women in uniform didn't fight so that some of us could have the freedom to vote; they fought for a country that protects the freedoms of all its citizens. To make matters worse, the voter restriction amendment would make it exceedingly difficult for soldiers stationed overseas to vote. Apparently, they're good enough to be used as props, but they don't actually deserve the right to vote.

Voter restriction proponents have no respect for our military members or the rights they fight for, but they're still perfectly willing to abuse a soldier's image for their campaign.  

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