An administrative law judge has dismissed a complaint filed by two Republican state senators that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie violated state law through his comments on the proposed voter ID constitutional amendment. Sens. Scott Newman of Hutchinson and Mike Parry of Waseca complained to the state Office of Administrative Hearings in October that Ritchie, a Democrat and amendment opponent, made false statements and improperly used his office to work against the amendment. The complaint focused on statements that Ritchie made on the Secretary of State website and through other communications.
Judge Bruce Johnson, in an order issued Thursday, Nov. 1, found no probable cause to believe violations of law had occurred. Either the conduct alleged wasn’t covered by the statutes cited, or complainants failed to establish it constituted a violation, or the statute at issue was superseded by another, Johnson found.
To take one example, Newman and Parry said Ritchie’s claim that implementing voter ID could cost $50 million was false, but Johnson found it “within the range of other estimates.
“The future cost of implementing the proposed voter identification cannot currently be proven or disproven,” the judge wrote. “The Respondent’s statement about the future cost of implementing the proposed voter identification amendment may be pessimistic, but it is not demonstrably false.”