Last weekend, the DFL held its annual state convention, at which time many of their elected officials spoke to the faithful. Mark Ritchie was one of those speakers:
On May 30,2012, a number of the DFL’s special interest allies filed a lawsuit with the Minnesota Supreme Court requesting the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment not be allowed on the ballot this November. Here’s the description of their lawsuit:
In Supreme Court
League of Women Voters Minnesota;
Common Cause, a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation;
Jewish Community Action, a Minnesota nonprofit corporation;
Gabriel Herbers, Shannon Doty, Gretchen Nickence;
John Harper Ritten; and Kathryn Ibur, Petitioners
Mark Ritchie, in his official capacity as Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota, and not in his individual capacity, Respondent.
The way that last part is written caught my attention because of the way Ritchie was introduced at the DFL convention:
INTRODUCTION: He wants to talk with you today, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
RITCHIE: Thank you, everyone. I’m honored to serve you and all Minnesotans as your Secretary of State. But today, I’m here in my personal and passionate compassion as a social studies teacher.
That’s total BS. The DFL didn’t invite him to speak at their convention because he’s a social studies teacher. He wasn’t introduced as a social studies teacher. He was introduced as Minnesota’s Secretary of State. He was invited to speak because he’s, regrettably, the most hyperpartisan Secretary of State in Minnesota history.
Here’s part of what he said during his speech at the DFL convention:
Ritchie: I want you to go into your packets and get out this yellow sheet of paper that has the actual language of the proposed constitutional amendment dealing with elections…Today, we face the same opportunity to defend liberty and justice for all. Take that yellow sheet of paper out of your packet. Go while I read the four lines that matter in this proposed constitutional amendment. The first line says “All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic identification before receiving a ballot.”
That’s all voters. This is in the Constitution. Every other state that has debated Photo ID has always exempted military voters, absentee voters, the Amish, people with religious objections.
Other states like Alabama and Mississippi and Indiana have exempted people with disabilities, senior citizens. In this proposal, there are no exemptions. It’s in the Constitution forever. It is an affront to us to put this in front of the public.
That hyperpartisan rant calls into question Ritchie’s ability to defend the right of the legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.
Ritchie expressed his disdain for the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment in plain-spoken terms. He said that it’s “an affront to us to put this in front of the public.”
Though he claimed that he was saying this as a social studies teacher, that isn’t a credible statement because he was introduced as Minnesota’s Secretary of State. Whenever he speaks in public, he’s recognized because he’s Minnesota’s Secretary of State.
On May 15, Ritchie spoke to the Stearns County commissioners about the proposed Photo ID amendment. Again, he was introduced as Minnesota’s Secretary of State. Again, he specifically ranted about what a terrible idea the constitutional amendment was.
Did Ritchie cross a line? I’ll let the legal eagles decide that. Can he be trusted with passionately arguing that this constitutional amendment be put on this November’s ballot? I don’t see how after this weekend’s partisan diatribe.