Voter ID amendment fails in Minnesota

Opponents of the Voter I.D. amendment waiting results at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.
Opponents of the Voter I.D. amendment waiting results at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.
Photo: Andy Mannix.

In an outcome that seemed nearly impossible just a few weeks ago, Minnesotans have defeated a controversial amendment to the state constitution that would have created stricter voting laws in the state, including a requirement for voters to bring a government-issued photo I.D. to the polls.

With 94 percent of precincts reporting, only 46 percent of tallied votes are in favor of the amendment, with 53 percent against it.

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Passed by the Legislature in 2012, the proposed voter I.D. amendment generated plenty of aggressive high-ranking critics, including Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Gov. Mark Dayton. Supporters call the amendment "common sense," but the mostly Democrat opposition contested it was unfunded -- it would have run us somewhere between $1 and $100 million, depending on who you ask -- and an answer to a problem that doesn't exist, given Minnesota's low frequency of voter fraud cases.

A few months ago, polls showed the amendment was poised to pass with an advantage well into the double digits. At the time, it seemed like supporters would hardly have to get out of bed to win this one.

But in the past few months, that gap continued to close. Monday morning, a survey released by Public Policy Polling showed the Vote No crowd had pulled ahead.

Such a dramatic flip begs a question: Did Our Vote Our Future -- the primary opponents of the amendment -- just run one of the most impressive campaigns in Minnesota history, or did its supporters run one of the worst?

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