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The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled against a petition brought by government watchdog groups who contended the photo ID ballot question will mislead voters.

Watchdog groups lose ballot question challenge in photo ID amendment case

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled against a petition brought by government watchdog groups who contended the photo ID ballot question will mislead voters.

During the 2012 legislative session, legislators passed a constitutional amendment proposal to require photo ID at the polls, which bypassed Gov. Mark Dayton and will be decided by voters in November.

The League of Women Voters and Common Cause were among the groups that argued the ballot question passed by legislators leaves out or states differently key details of the proposed amendment. For example, the proposed amendment would establish a provisional balloting system, but the wording on the ballot question doesn’t make reference to it.

The majority opinion held the court must provide a high level of deference to the Legislature.

“Our precedent provides us with a much more limited role in reviewing the constitutionality of the manner in which the Legislature submits proposed constitutional amendments to the people. The failures about which petitioners complain do not meet the ‘high standard’ required for the judiciary to intercede into a matter that is constitutionally committed to the legislative branch,” the opinion stated.

Justices Alan Page and Paul Anderson dissented.

Page’s dissent said the ballot question “deliberately and materially misstates the language of the proposed amendment.” He said the majority opinion is “inappropriately deferential.”

“When the question placed before the voters—on the basis of which the voters will decide whether to approve or reject the proposed amendment—is deceptive and misleading, we should not only be wary; our scrutiny should be at its strictest,” Page wrote.

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