By T.W. BUDIG
ECM Capitol Reporter
Gov. Mark Dayton has decided not to challenge a recent ruling by a Ramsey County district court judge that his Executive Order 11-31 calling for an election among day care providers on unionization was illegal.
"Although I strongly disagree with the Court’s decision, I will not appeal it. I will work toward electing a new legislature, which will support the right of working people to decide for themselves whether or not they want to join a union," said Dayton in a statement Tuesday.
Republicans in recent days have depicted the issue of child-care provider unionization as a fertile campaign issue.
On another issue – the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment – Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie speaking a few weeks ago argued the amendment is about much more than requiring government-issued photo identification to vote.
"It’s about getting rid of same-day (voter) registration, about changing absentee voting, and it has a little thing on photo ID," Ritchie said.
Although some Democrats have argued the proposed amendment is actually intended to disenfranchise traditional Democratic voting blocs, Ritchie argued that’s missing the point.
"I don’t agree with that," he said. "The big attack is on absentee voters – they have been historically and forever predominately Republican. (It’s) a straight-up attack on election day registration."
"What I see this is making the administration of elections and ability to vote much more difficult, much more expensive, and knocking Minnesota out of our No. 1 position of the leading voter turnout state in the nation," said Ritchie.
Does Ritchie believe the proposed amendment will fail?
"Oh yeah," he said. "It’s a vote over same-day registration."
Although indicating that debating the merits of the proposed Republican Photo ID amendment is politically "uncomfortable," Ritchie argued that sometimes officials cannot remain silent.
And a debate would be useful, he explained.
"I’m dedicated to the proposition that providing a better understanding of the whole system will give us a much better informed look at how we run elections," said Ritchie.
"So I see a big positive benefit to all of us, by engaging in this debate," he said.
Electronic poll books and/or paper print outs of state driver licenses could readily provide the photo identification component to voting some people feel is needed to safeguard election integrity, Ritchie argues.
On another proposed constitution amendment – the same-sex marriage ban amendment – a recent poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) suggests sentiment in the state is shifting.
A poll four months ago showed support for passage of the same-sex marriage ban amendment at 48 percent, with 44 percent of voters against.
But PPP’s most recent poll shows 43 percent of Minnesota voters supporting the amendment, with 49 percent opposing it.
PPP identified a shift in attitude among independent voters as a key factor in the reversal.
Some 74 percent of Republicans continue to strongly favor the amendment, while 71 percent of Democrats remain almost equally strong in opposition, according to PPP.
On Photo ID, PPP polling indicates that 58 percent of Minnesota voters support the proposed amendment, while 34 percent are opposed.
PPP polling also shows Dayton with a 49 percent approval rating with Republicans in the Legislature showing just a 21 percent approval rating.
PPP is based in Raleigh, N.C.