Secretary of State Ritchie wants newspapers to print full text of proposed constitutional amendments

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is asking newspapers around the state to print the full text of the two proposed constitutional amendments that will be on the statewide ballot Nov. 6.

Most references to the amendments — the marriage amendment and the voting amendment — use short-hand references to what the amendments will do, if adopted by a majority of those voting.

And on the actual ballots, voters will only see a question, not the full proposed change to the constitution.

Ritchie, in his letter to the state’s newspapers, says he wants them to print the full text.

He said the Legislature used to pay for printing of the full the text of proposed amendments in the papers but stopped doing it 20 years ago because of budget constraints.

Earlier this month, Republicans filed a compaint against, Ritchie, saying he was illegally campaigning against the voting amendment.

On the voting amendment, the words on the ballot will be:

“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?”

But Ritchie wants voters to see, in advance, the actual words that would be added to the constitution, which are:

“All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic identification before receiving a ballot. The state must issue photographic identification at no charge to an eligible voter who does not have a form of identification meeting the requirements of this section. A voter unable to present government-issued photographic identification must be permitted to submit a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot must only be counted if the voter certifies the provisional ballot in the manner provided by law.

“All voters, including those not voting in person, must be subject to substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification prior to a ballot being cast or counted.”

He notes that there is no mention on the ballot question of the terms “provisional ballots” and “substantially equivalent” verification of all in-person and absentee voters.

The marriage amendment wording, is, arguably, less confusing. The question on the ballot says:

Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?

The actual addition to the constitution, if the amendment passes, will be:

 Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.

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