Minnesota Supreme Court Hears Voter ID Case

By KBJR News 1

July 17, 2012 Updated Jul 17, 2012 at 9:49 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- The battle over the language of the Voter ID amendment went in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court Tuesday.

Secretary of State Mark Richie and his team recently changed the wording of the amendment after several groups said the way the question was formed was misleading.

The Legislature voted to put the proposed Voter ID constitutional amendment on the ballot; if approved, it would require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

But several groups petitioned the court to take it off the ballot because they say it doesn't adequately describe the effects of the actual amendment.

They claim the wording on the ballot doesn't notify voters that the amendment would implement a bulky provisional balloting system, doesn't specify that a government–issued ID is required to vote and doesn't note that the measure could end same–day registration.

"Don't the people have a right to vote on something that's not deceptive. Because here's what I'm looking at, our precedent with respect to the law says that there's law that says when we're dealing with a fundamental right like voting, we are to cast a skeptical eye," said Justice Paul Anderson of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

"And I don't find it misleading, I find it entirely consistent with the history of the legislature's development and legislature's development and formulation of ballot questions," said Thomas Boyd, who is defending the bill's language.

Some voiced skepticism Tuesday, wondering whether the state's highest court even has the authority to take the question off the ballot or change the wording of it.

The case is expected to wrap up sometime in August.