Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ritchie biggest loser in court decision on ballot titles

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the decision of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not have the authority to substitute his ballot titles for the Minnesota Marriage and Photo ID amendments for those supplied by the state legislature.
Ritchie changed the title for the marriage ban from "Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman" to "Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples." He rewrote the photo ID title from "Photo Identification Required for Voting" to "Changes to In-Person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots." 
The biggest loser in this case is Secretary of State Ritchie.  His actions trying to bias the amendment titles was rejected.  His credibility also took a hit.  The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing our voting system.  That's a critically important, nonpartisan, impartial role.  Yet he clearly attempted to use his office to bias the outcome of the ballot questions. 

His public statement regarding the Court's decision retained a degree of self justification. 
As for Ritchie, he issued a brief statement saying in part: "I thank the Supreme Court for its prompt action on this legal challenge to the law first passed by the state Legislature in 1919, affirmed in 1981, directing the secretary of state to title proposed constitutional amendments." He urged voters to read the complete text of the proposed amendments on his office's website.
 This certainly will be an issue if he chooses to run for re-election in 2014.

It should be noted that Attorney General Lori Swanson was also supportive of his activities when she signed off on his title language changes.

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