Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced yesterday that he officially titled the anti-marriage amendment “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples,” replacing the proposed title of “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.” Under Minnesota Law (Statute 204D.15, Subdivision 1), “The secretary of state shall provide an appropriate title for each question printed on the pink ballot.”
Though Secretary of State Ritchie simply performed his duty by providing a title, many people and organizations in support of the marriage amendment are angered by the wording and are suggesting that Ritchie worded the title in a way that exposes his personal beliefs and will, possibly, affect the results of the vote. At the time of publication, Chuck Darrell, the Communications Manager for Minnesota for Marriage (one of the largest organizations supporting the marriage amendment) had not responded to voicemails, calls, or emails requesting a statement.
Richard Carlbom, the campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, states, “This is an accurate title for the proposed amendment, but ultimately, we know that Minnesotans will vote on the question that is before them this November, which is whether in 2012, our state would limit the freedom to marry for committed same-sex couples in Minnesota.”
Phil Duran, the Legal Director of Outfront Minnesota (an organization that works closely with Minnesotans United for All Families), states, “Whether his title will make any difference with respect to voters’ perceptions of the amendment on November 6, which is what amendment supporters appear to be complaining about, is impossible to predict, but it does seem like an accurate description.”
The wording of the amendment did not change, so people opposing the anti-marriage amendment should still vote NO.
Also, in order for the amendment to pass, the majority of voters must actively vote “YES.” Any “NO” vote or ballot left blank will be considered a negative vote according to Minnesota State Statute 204D.15 Subdivision 1, which reads, “At the top of the ballot just below the heading, a conspicuous notice shall be printed stating that a voter’s failure to vote on a constitutional amendment has the effect of a negative vote.”
Duran clarifies, “A majority of all people casting ballots November 6 must affirmatively check ‘yes’ in order for a proposed constitutional amendment to pass. If a majority of ballots contain ‘no’ votes or are left blank with respect to these items, the proposed amendment does not pass. For example, consider a hypothetical vote among 100 people. If 49 people vote ‘yes,’ 48 people vote ‘no,’ and three people leave the item blank, the proposal fails because a majority failed to vote yes (49 ‘yes’ votes and 51 ‘no’ or blank votes).”
Cast your ballot on November 6, 2012. To find your polling place and learn more about the candidates on the ballot, visit http://www.pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/.