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Judge dismisses complaint against secretary of state over photo ID

Posted by: Jim Ragsdale under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: November 1, 2012 - 3:08 PM

An Administrative Law Judge Thursday dismissed a complaint filed by two Republican legislators against Secretary of State Mark Ritchie over Ritchie's statements on the costs and effects of photo ID.

The judge, Bruce Johnson, dismissed the complaint filed by Sens. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, and Mike Parry, R-Waseca.

Parry and Newman, who sponsored the photo ID constitutional amendment that appears on Tuesday's ballot, accused Ritchie, a DFLer who opposes photo ID, of making false statements about the costs and effects of the proposal on his website and in other communications.

They argued that Ritchie's actions amount to a violation of state laws governing the veracity of campaign statements. Ritchie responded that he believed the statements about the costs and effects of the amendment -- particularly that it will end same-day registration -- are true.

The judge ruled for Ritchie on all counts. The judge said:

-- The amendment would be "a significant change in the process for same-day registration," and therefore Ritchie's statement that it would end same-day registration is "not a false statement."

-- Ritchie's statement that implementation of photo ID and related election-law changes could cost $50 million for startup and $10 million in ongoing costs was "within the range of other estimates."

-- Ritchie's statement that enacting photo ID would trigger oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice is correct.

-- Ritchie's statement that it is not clear how out-of-state absentee voters could continue to vote is "an opinion about a question about which there are differing views."

-- There was no evidence that Ritchie compelled his staff to engage in political activity, as the senators claimed.

 

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