Ritchie’s alleged campaigning discussed in probable cause hearing

by Bryna Godar

A probable cause hearing Friday addressed allegations that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has abused his office by campaigning against the voter ID amendment.

Sens. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, and Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, filed a complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings Oct. 4 alleging that Ritchie has been misusing the website and public resources to campaign against the ballot question, including publishing website documents “rife with falsehoods.”

The Secretary of State’s attorney said in the hearing that Ritchie believes his statements regarding projected cost of the amendment and potential effects are accurate.

Neither Ritchie nor Parry were present for the hearing, which took place over a conference call.

If the voter ID constitutional amendment passes, the 2013 Minnesota Legislature will have to write legislation to reflect the changes. A lot of speculation has centered on what the specifics will entail.

The judge requested Friday to see further briefs before deciding whether there is probable cause to continue with the case and require the respondent to attend a hearing.