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Secretary of State also changes title of photo ID amendment

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: July 9, 2012 - 12:59 PM

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who is being drawn into court for his proposed change to the title of the marriage amendment question, also proposed changing the title of the photo ID amendment.

On Monday, the same day marriage amendment backers filed suit against him for changing the title of the ballot question to define marriage, Ritchie announced he planned to change a separate amendment from the Legislature's title of "Photo Identification Required for Voting" to Changes to in-person & absentee voting & voter registration; provisional ballots."

Late last month, Ritchie announced he would change the title of the marriage amendment from "Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman" to "Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples."

Both amendment questions are due to be before voters on their November general election ballots.

Backers of the marriage amendment sued over Ritchie's title change, asking the Supreme Court to change the amendment's title back to what the Legislature passed. (See the legal papers below.)

Ritchie has already been hauled into court over the photo ID amendment by its opponents. Foes of that amendment say that the question presented to voters is too vague because it only be speaks of photo ID, rather than including other changes that would also be forced by the amendment. Ritchie, a photo ID opponent, declined to defend the question. The Legislature and others, however, are defending it.

The court will hear oral arguments on that case on July 17.

Ritchie's new proposed photo ID  title underscores the point the amendment opponents made to the supreme court -- that the amendment does far more than just require voters to present photographic identification.

Ritchie, backed by the state's attorney general Lori Swanson, says that state law dictates that the Secretary of State "shall provide an appropriate title" for constitutional questions. He has also said that Gov. Mark Dayton's symbolic veto of the constitutional marriage question negated the title the Legislature proposed. Dayton similarly symbolically vetoed the photo ID question.

Ritchie, Swanson and Dayton are all Democrats. The Legislature is controlled by Republicans, who gave the vast majority of the votes to approve the two amendment questions.

2 - Petitioner's Brief and Appendix

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