Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, citing his legal duty to "provide an appropriate title" for constitutional questions, has provided a new one for the amendment commonly known as the Voter ID amendment.
The amendment was formerly titled, "Photo Identification Required for Voting." Fairly straightforward and easy to understand. Ritchie's more "appropriate" title is, "Changes to in-person & absentee voting & voter registration; provisional ballots."
Ritchie is already being sued for his title to the marriage amendment that is also on the ballot this November: it was originally titled "Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman." Ritchie renamed it "Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples."
Ritchie and other critics of the voter ID amendment claim it will do much more than requiring photo ID at the ballot box; it will also force the state to change other voting procedures to comply. But here is the full text of the amendment: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?"
State constitutional amendments rarely spell out the exact procedures of the measure it proposes. It is typically up to the state legislature and state agencies to determine how the measure shall be carried out.
Ritchie's new amendment title is an obvious attempt to confuse the voter and argue against its passage. Ritchie, as we said before, needs to do his duty as secretary of state by overseeing fair elections, not by trying to infulence our votes.