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Ballot measure title fights come to Minnesota high court

Two sides in the fight over how to word the titles of two controversial ballot measures – on gay marriage and photo IDs at polling places – will clash in the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday.
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The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear more arguments Tuesday over the wording of two highly controversial November ballot measures.

Supporters of the marriage amendment and the photo ID amendment are seeking to stop Secretary of State Mark Ritchie from writing titles that the supporters find misleading and worry might hurt the chances for passage, the Star Tribune reports. Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson argue that state law requires Ritchie to write the titles, and that the wordings he chose accurately describe the two amendments.

Lawyers arguing over titles for the state's two proposed constitutional amendments won't get extra time to make their case at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the Pioneer Press reports. An order Monday from Chief Justice Lorie Gildea denied a request for additional time from lawyers representing state lawmakers and advocacy groups supportive of the amendments and of the titles selected for them by the Legislature, the newspaper says.

The Uptake is offering a live video stream of the arguments.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls. In a separate decision, the court also threw out ballot titles written by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for the voter ID amendment and another amendment to ban gay marriage. Republicans had argued that Ritchie overstepped his authority and was trying to influence voters to reject both amendments.

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Minnesota Supreme Court justices will hear arguments Tuesday about the titles of the Constitutional amendments that will appear on the fall ballot. Backers of the marriage and voter ID amendments want the court to get rid of the titles supplied by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and restore the original titles the Legislature wrote. The court refused to extend the time limits for attorneys to make their arguments.

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