MN Supreme Court Expected To Rule On Constitutional Amendments

The court hears arguments about amendment titles

The court hears arguments about amendment titles

Minnesota’s Supreme Court is expected to issue two opinions soon that could profoundly change the fate of two proposed constitutional amendments currently on this November’s general election ballot.

At issue is the title given to the amendments, which could influence how people vote on them, and whether one of them will appear on the ballot at all.

The court normally issues its opinions Wednesday at 10 AM and its opinion is needed before the state can start the process of printing ballots. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says the necessary to have a decision by Monday August 27 to print the ballots on time. The opinions issued at 10AM Wednesday did not include a ruling on the misleading ballot question case or the title cases. Instead, the court issued an order saying it will consolidate the two title cases and issue just one ruling on both titles. The misleading ballot question case is still a separate case.

The court generally gives parties involved in the cases advance warning when the opinions will be issued. One party to the misleading ballot question case, Common Cause’s Mike Dean, said that a ruling is likely soon.

The voter restriction or voter photo ID amendment could possibly be stricken from the ballot if the justices decide the ballot question is misleading. Although one Justice during oral arguments suggested that the amendment may be unconstitutional on principal because it restricts people from voting. It’s also possible that the entire amendment which is several hundred words long could be placed on the ballot. Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky says if that happens, some cities with many judge races may have to go to a two page ballot to fit it all in.

The bold title that goes above each question on the ballot has also been challenged. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie changed the titles to more accurately reflect the breadth of each amendment. Republicans challenged Ritchie’s action, petitioning the court to return to the titles the Republican legislature gave the amendments.

Follow our twitter feed @uptakemn for the news as it breaks and/or check back here later today.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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