Minnesota’s two constitutional amendments on the fall ballot were catapulted onto a legal battle before the people of the state even have a chance to vote on the measures.
In what appears to be a move to confuse the voters of Minnesota, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie chose to give the marriage amendment and voter identification measure new ballot wording.
The “recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman” amendment was reworded to read: “Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.”
He also changed the verbiage of the voter identification amendment to read: “Changes to in-person and absentee voting and voter registration; provisional ballot,” rather than: Photo identification required for voting.”
Now, whether one is a Democrat or Republican, one need not argue whether Sec. Ritchie has the right to make the changes, as the state’s top election official he does have the right to change the title of any ballot initiative.
However, everyone has a right to question Sec. Ritchie’s motivation. His motives are strictly political. It’s a tactic used by many politicians — confuse the voter.
One does not have to be an English major at the University of Minnesota to understand that the original wording of both measures was less confusing than the revamped wording that the secretary has chosen.
Now, we get to watch from the sidelines while the Minnesota Supreme Court considers a ruling on whether the legislature has the right to choose a ballot title or the secretary of state. The court, not the people, will decide one more thing citizens should be determining through their elected representatives.
True, Sec. Ritchie was elected to his office, but one has to ask whether his motives are to secure the rights of the voter or to tip the scales in such a manner that voter confusion, rather than the will of the people will be decided in November.
I believe the secretary of state is intentionally attempting to deceive the people of Minnesota.