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Minnesota high court rejects attempt to rewrite ballot titles

Minnesota’s Supreme Court “threw out ballot titles” written by Minnesota’s Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, on Aug. 27.

The state’s high court also tossed out a legal challenge to “a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls.”

In the first order of business, the Supreme Court chose to stick with the language written by the Legislature when it wrote the measure that sent the marriage amendment and the proposed voter ID to the people to decide whether either would become part of the Minnesota Constitution.

Ritchie, a Democrat, changed the verbiage of the proposed ban on gay marriage from “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman” to read “Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.”

He also took a stab at confusing voters by rewriting the title of the voter ID ballot measure by changing it from “Photo identification required for voting” to “Changes to in-person and absentee voting and voter registration; provisional ballots.”

“Both decisions were victories for conservatives,” said The Associated Press following the court rulings. “The Republican-controlled Legislature pushed both proposed amendments through over opposition from Democrats including Gov. Mark Dayton. Dayton last year vetoed a bill to require photo ID, but has no power to block constitutional amendments that are sent directly to voters.

“The court majority wrote that the photo ID ballot question ‘is not so unreasonable and misleading’ that it should be taken off the ballot.” The justices said striking the question from the ballot would have been “unprecedented relief” and that the voters will be “the sole judge of the wisdom of such matters.”

That is a wise decision. Why allow men and women appointed to the high court to decide an issue that the Legislature had placed on the fall ballot for all Minnesotans to decide? Let the people speak. The court agrees.

Now it’s up to the people of this state to decide whether they wish to have the Constitution amended to define marriage as a legal union of one man and one woman; and whether voter identification is required to vote.

Both sides of each issue will ramp up their efforts heading into the Nov. 6 election.

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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