The Star Tribune's Jim Ragsdale reports in Judge dismisses complaint against secretary of state over photo ID that Administrative Law Judge Bruce Johnson has dismissed a complaint filed by state senators Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) and Mike Parry (R-Hey Hey Good-bye) against Secretary of State Mark Ritchie over the SOS's statements on the costs and effects of the voter restriction amendment.
Parry and Newman, who sponsored the photo ID constitutional amendment that appears on Tuesday's ballot, accused Ritchie, a DFLer who opposes photo ID, of making false statements about the costs and effects of the proposal on his website and in other communications.
They argued that Ritchie's actions amount to a violation of state laws governing the veracity of campaign statements. Ritchie responded that he believed the statements about the costs and effects of the amendment -- particularly that it will end same-day registration -- are true.
The judge ruled for Ritchie on all counts. The judge said:
-- The amendment would be "a significant change in the process for same-day registration," and therefore Ritchie's statement that it would end same-day registration is "not a false statement."
-- Ritchie's statement that implementation of photo ID and related election-law changes could cost $50 million for startup and $10 million in ongoing costs was "within the range of other estimates."
-- Ritchie's statement that enacting photo ID would trigger oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice is correct.
-- Ritchie's statement that it is not clear how out-of-state absentee voters could continue to vote is "an opinion about a question about which there are differing views."
-- There was no evidence that Ritchie compelled his staff to engage in political activity, as the senators claimed.
Late in October, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board dismissed a related complaint against Ritchie. Bluestem Prairie broke that news in MCFPB finds Newman & Parry complaint against Ritchie "insufficient to require an investigation"
Here's a copy of Judge Johnson's order:
Photo: Senator Scott Newman, a former administration law judge himself, is so not happy with Adminstrative Law Judge Bruce Johnson.