Marriage amendment supporters investigate Ritchie's ballot title change

The pro-marriage amendment group Minnesota for Marriage Friday called into question Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's actions after he unilaterally rewrote the title of the ballot question Thursday without warning. The group is requesting correspondence between Ritchie and state Attorney General Lori Swanson, who are both Democrats, and other documents. The group says the new phrasing hurts their cause.
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The pro-marriage amendment group Minnesota for Marriage Friday called into question Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's actions after he unilaterally rewrote the title of the ballot question Thursday without warning. The group is requesting correspondence between Ritchie and state Attorney General Lori Swanson, who are both Democrats, and other documents. The group says the new phrasing hurts their cause.

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Ritchie changes title of the marriage amendment ballot question

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has submitted the title “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples" to Attorney General Lori Swanson for final approval, the Associated Press reports. Supporters of the constitutional amendment want it titled, "Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman."

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Supporters of the constitutional marriage amendment have filed a lawsuit asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to change the ballot title question back to “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman." Last month, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson changed the tittle voters will see in November to “Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.”

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Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is changing the title of the constitutional amendment to “Changes to in-person & absentee voting & voter registration; provisional ballots." Sponsors of the measure, seeking to require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot, want the question titled "Photo Identification Required for Voting." Ritchie is being sued for changing the title on the marriage amendment question.

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Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's changes to the title that will appear over the marriage amendment on the fall ballot came under attack in papers filed with the state Supreme Court. Lawyers for Republican lawmakers and other backers of the amendment say Ritchie's changes will make voters less likely to approve the Constitutional amendment. They also argue that it's up to the Legislature - not the Secretary of State - to write the title. A hearing before the court is coming up later this month.

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Each side is digging in in the fight over the titles of the proposed Constitutional amendments that will appear on Minnesota's fall ballot. Attorney General Lori Swanson filed papers with the Supreme Court insisting it's up to the Secretary of State to come up with the titles. Meanwhile, a Senate committee scheduled a Friday hearing to question Secretary of State Mark Ritchie about his changes to the titles suggested by the Legislature.

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