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Change to Voter ID Ballot Question Prompts Second Showdown Between Ritchie and GOP

Petitioners ask Minnesota Supreme Court to favor Legislature's original title over secretary of state's revision.

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Supporters of a photo ID requirement for Minnesota voters asked the state Supreme Court Thursday to put the Legislature's original choice of words on the ballot as the title of the amendment.

Minnesota Majority, ProtectMyVote.com and a group of legislators filed a petition and brief with the Supreme Court Thursday afternoon, requesting that the justices throw out Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's rewrite of the amendment title as it will appear on ballots this fall.

The two versions of the amendment title have only one word in common ("Voting"):

  • Legislature' title:“Photo Identification Required for Voting”
  • Secretary of State's title: “Changes to In-person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration, Provisional Ballots.”

State Sen. Dave Thompson (R-District 58), of , said Ritchie's rewording is part of an active campaign against the measure and took him to task for skipping a Senate State Government and Innovation Committee meeting today where Thompson wanted Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson to answer questions about the rewording of the amendment.

The move comes two days after the high court held a hearing on opponents' request that they take the proposed amendment off the ballot altogether.

Supporters say the amendment will prevent voter fraud. Opponents say fraud isn't rampant and argue the amendment will upend features of Minnesota's election process such as same-day registration. (The amendment is one of two the state Legislature approved for November's election—the marriage amendment is the other.)

In a statement, Minnesota Majority noted that—"ironically"—both sides' appeals rely on the same law: Minnesota’s Errors and Omissions statute.

Ritchie contends it's his job to make sure the title reflects the meaning of the proposed amendment, even if that means altering the words the Legislature chose.

The amendment's supporters disagree. "The secretary of state’s duty is purely ministerial," said Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) in a statement. "The secretary’s title is about as clear as mud."

This is the that Ritchie and GOPers have sparred over the Secretary of State's revisions to ballot questions in the upcoming election. Earlier this month, Ritchie drew conservatives' ire after he reworded the title of the ballot question concerning the Marriage Amendment. 

MORE:

  • See the brief and petition amendment supporters filed Thursday by clicking on the PDF thumbnails.
  • .
  • Click here for the original text of the photo ID bill.

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