On Tuesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard two cases on the same issue: Who has the final authority to write the titles of amendment ballot questions? Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat, changed the ballot titles of both the proposed voter ID and marriage amendments from what the Republican-controlled Legislature had originally written. Solicitor General Alan Gilbert argued that based on a 1919 Minnesota statute, the role of titling lies with the secretary of state and attorney general.
Attorney Jordan Lorence, however, argued that the Legislature, not the secretary of state, has the “higher authority” to title ballot questions. He said there is a two-step process: “the Legislature proposes the amendment; then it goes to the people.” Chief Justice Lorie Gildea seemed to agree. She later said, “I think this is a deal between the legislative branch and the people of Minnesota, and that’s it.”
… For the voter ID amendment, the Legislature penned the title “Photo Identification Required for Voting.” Ritchie changed it to “Changes to In-Person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots,” drawing another lawsuit from voter ID supporters a few weeks later.