From: Steve Hesse
There still appears to be some misunderstandings about the two Constitutional amendments included in the Minnesota ballot. It’s my hope that this letter will answer those questions. For more information, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website which also includes links to sites providing more information.
Both of these amendments were proposed by our state legislatures as bills to be voted on in the next general election. Right now, only marriage between one man and one woman is legal in Minnesota. But this is only a law, and laws can be changed by individuals. This has already happened in the states where gay marriage is now legal. Our state representatives wanted to ensure that this wouldn’t happen in Minnesota, which is why this bill was created and added to the ballot. Once this amendment passes with approval from the voters, it is enshrined in the Constitution and cannot be altered or changed by anyone without undergoing this same voting process.
In regard to the voter ID, the intent for this amendment is to require a valid ID when voting, in an effort to reduce voter fraud and verify a voter meets the constitutional qualifications for voting.
For either of these amendments to pass, a majority of all voters casting ballots in this election must vote “Yes” in order for it to pass. Therefore, casting a ballot but not checking either “Yes” or “No” automatically gets counted as a “No” vote. So everyone who votes has to make an informed decision…they can’t stay neutral on either amendment by simply not voting one way or another.
There’s a misunderstanding that both of these amendments require a two-thirds majority to win. That is incorrect, according to our Secretary of State. Only a majority of all ballots cast is required. They may be confusing this with the second method for the Constitution being amended, which calls for two-thirds of the legislature to vote to submit to the voters a question asking for a constitutional convention to be approved. This is not the process we’re going to be using this coming election (this hasn’t been utilized by Minnesota since the original constitutional convention of 1857).
The following is the wording for the marriage amendment and voter ID amendment as they will appear on the ballot:
Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?
Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?
Voting “Yes” on the marriage amendment means that you want marriage to remain as only between one man and one woman in Minnesota. Voting “Yes” on the voter ID amendment means that you want all voters to provide some form of identification when voting. Because of the abuse to our voting system over the years due to fraud, and the continued push by members of our society to change the definition of marriage, our state representatives decided to give the people of Minnesota a chance to protect our voting laws and our current definition of marriage. I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to become informed and not leave either of these amendments blank when you vote.