Minnesotans go to the polls this Tuesday representing critical movements in national politics. The state had been polling solidly for Obama until the most recent week. Obama led by 8.4 points at the time of the first debate and saw that lead climb to 9.3 after the Biden-Ryan debate.
However that lead has dropped precipitously recently. Obama has lost more than half of his lead in the polls and is currently leading Romney by only 5 points in the Real Clear Politics poll. With 10 electoral votes Minnesota is a necessary win for Obama both in terms of regional importance as well as in terms of securing victory in what were once considered non-competitive states. From 1932 onward, the state has primarily voted Democratic, last voting Republican during Nixon’s landslide victory in 1972. In 1984, Minnesotans gave homegrown Senator Mondale his only state in the lopsided loss to Ronald Reagan. In 2008, Obama defeated McCain by 10%.
Congresswoman and former presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann is facing a surprising challenge in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. The GOP firebrand and Tea Party darling is facing tough competition from Democrat Jim Graves. Graves is a self-made millionaire who represents everything that conservatives like in an elected official. He is a businessman outsider not influenced by insider politics and is a private sector job creator. The Star Tribune endorsed Graves with this scathing critique of Bachmann, “Bachmann has little to show for her six years in Congress besides empty rhetoric in self-promoting TV appearances and a presidential bid that quickly ran out of steam when her extreme positions became too much for her own party to stomach.”
There are two legislatively referred constitutional amendments on the state ballots with national implications. Amendment 1 is a measure to ban same sex marriage. The measure would define marriage in the Minnesota constitution as between one man and one woman in the state. The constitutional amendment is similar to the one passed earlier this year in North Carolina. Despite the national polls and the most recent state polls showing that people are generally evenly split on same sex marriage, the provision has never passed a popular vote. Same sex couples can marry in six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont) and the District of Columbia but none of those state measures were voted on by election ballot. The measure is opposed by Obama and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. The controversial measure prompted a lawsuit filed by supporters of the amendment against the Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
Amendment 2 is a proposal to require that all voters in the state show photo identification before voting. Legislation to enact similar laws without a constitutional amendment passed both chambers of the Republican led Minnesota legislature, but was vetoed by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton. The latest poll taken by SurveyUSA showed 53% of voters supported the amendment vs. 40% who opposed it. Former Vice President Walter Mondale and Former Governor Arne Carlson oppose the measure.
Minnesotans have one senator on the ballot. One term Democratic incumbent Amy Klobuchar is expected to easily hold her seat against Republican nominee Kurt Bills, Independence nominee Stephen Williams, Grassroots' Timothy Davis, and Minnesota Open Progressives candidate Michael Cavlan.
Another Republican Congressional incumbent is being challenged. Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District race between Republican incumbent Chip Cravaack and Democratic challenger Rick Nolan is currently considered a tossup by Real Clear Politics; however the latest Star Tribune poll has Nolan up by 7 points.
A total of 8 congressional seats are on the ballot held by 4 Democratic incumbents and 4 Republican incumbents.
A total of 67 seats will be up for election in the Minnesota state senate. Republicans won control of the chamber after the 2010 election. The new redistricting maps could give the advantage to the Democrats, according to a report in the Minnesota Post. A total of 16 incumbent senators have been paired together and there will be eight open seats with no incumbent.
All 134 seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives will be on the ballot this year. A total of 30 incumbent representatives have been paired together and there will be 15 open seats with no incumbent.
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from the state of Minnesota live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page
Update 11:45AM Libertarian Gary Johnson appears to have received around 1% of the vote. Another resouding rejection of the conservative right. Johnson's concession speech,
Update:9:35AM Democrats defeated the two Republican senators that set off a firestorm over the controversial statements about rape. Claire McCaskill defeated Todd Akin in Missouri and Joe Donnelly defeated Richard Mourdock of Indiana. You might recall that Akin said that a women's body could shut down to prevent pregnancy during a rape and Mourdock said that a pregnancy via rape was ordained by God.
Update 9:30AM Congratulations to the brave state of New Hampshire which for the first time in history has an all woman delegation in office. NH elected women to serve as governor, congresswomen and senators.
Update 8:30AM Bachmann wins. Democrats pick up 1 seat on Congress.
Update 6:00AM Obama Victory Speech
Update 5:00AM Romney Concession Speech
Update 4:15AM Rick Nolan has defeated incumbent Chip Cravaack. Bachmann in dead heat with Graves.
Update 4:00AM Amendment 1, the state constitutional ban on same sex marriage and Amendment 2, the voter id law have both been defeated.
Update 1:40AM The long faces of Fox News Reaction
Update 1:20AM Less than 100 votes between Bachmann and Graves. Nolan leads Cravaack 52% - 48%
Congressional race projection: 4 democrats, 2 Republicans
Congressional Winners: Tim Walz (D), John Kline (R), Erik Paulsen (R), Betty McCollum (D), Keith Ellison (D), Collin Peterson (D)
Same Sex Marriage : Less than 500 vote difference; virtual tie 49-49
Update 1:15AM The official White House photo of Obama congratulating Biden after the announcement has become the most "tweeted" picture ever.
Update 1:00AM Romney can walk away knowing that he ran the course. But Fox News, Karl Rove, Dick Morris who up until just 15 minutes ago steadfastly refused to concede the race have lost all credibility. Dick Morris, the worst pollster in history, has to fold his tent. Karl Rove will have to put away his whiteboard and get an iPad.And Fox, well, back away from the knives, put down the gun, step away from the ledge.
Update 12:50AM 120 votes separate Bachmann from the challenger Jin Graves. Nolan leads 51% to 49%
Update 12:45AM Obama has won every battleground state except for North Carolina
Update 12:30AM NY Times calls Virginia for Obama; Obama wins Colorado.
Update 12:10AM Maryland and Maine pass same sex law.
Update 12:00 Amendment 1 - The state constitutional ban on same sex marriage with 37% of precincts reporting is behind with 49% voting "no" and 46% voting "yes"
Update 11:46 The winner and stiiilllll President, Barack Hussein Obama!!
Update 11:31 Michelle Bachman is in a tight race. 50-50. Nolan is leading 51-49.Update 11:21 OBAMA WINS
Update 11:05 Obama wins Wisconsin, Iowa; Romney wins North Carolina; Democrats retain majority in Senate
Electoral Vote Count
Obama : 238 Romney : 191
Popular Vote: Obama 48% (36.314,242) Romney 50% (37,644,941)
Update 11:00 ABC, CBS and CNN project that Obama wins Minnesota.
Update 10:45PM Three U.S. Representatives have won re-election in Minnesota, with early calls going to Keith Ellison in the 5th District, Erik Paulsen in the 3rd and Betty McCollum in the 4th. Amy Klobuchar has won re-election to a second term in the U.S Senate Tuesday, easily defeating Republican challenger Kurt Bills.
Update 10:33 with 16% of precincts reporting Obama is leading 54% to Romney's 44%
Update 10:30PM Obama wins New Hampshire.
Electoral Vote Count
Obama : 147 Romney : 158
Popular Vote25,995,637) Romney 51% (27,309,053)
Update 9:50PM Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham tweets the first conservative alarm bell.
Update 9:45PM Obama wins Pennsylvania; Tammy Baldwin wins Senate election in Wisconsin becoming the first openly gay Senator in history. Elizabeth Warren defeats Brown in Massachusetts; Democrat Joe Donnelly wins in Indiana defeating Richard (rape is a gift from God) Mourdock.
Update 9:40PM Huffington Post says Ohio Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown wins re-election.
Update 9:30PM Battleground State Snapshot
Update 9:00PM Polls have closed in Minnesota; Obama wins Michigan; Republicans retain majority in House
Electoral Vote Count
Obama : 123 Romney : 152
Obama 48%(12,108,114) Romney 51% (12,946,182)
Update 9:00PM St. Paul, MN voters will decide whether to send $39 million to city schools to continue an excess levy for new technology and continued support of all-day kindergarten.Funding for all-day kindergarten and preschool programs is a key part of the $30 million annual levy that has been in place in St. Paul for six years. The new levy would be in place for eight additional years.
St. Paul Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva also is pushing for a $9 million technology levy as a means to help students learn anytime and anywhere.She envisions struggling students being able to revisit course work and view videos electronically, and high school students taking classes in the morning, working an internship in the afternoon and taking online courses at night.
Students would have 24/7 access to electronic textbooks and interactive quizzes. Parents could track children's homework.
Update 8:55PM Early Returns
Vermont: Incumbent Senator Bernie Sanders wins re-election.
Florida: 62% of the vote counted, Obama 50%, Romney 49%
Ohio: 25% of the vote counted, Obama 57%, Romney 41%
North Carolina: 56% of the vote counted, Obama 49%, Romney 50%
Virginia: 32% of the vote counted, Obama 44%, Romney 55%
CNN Electoral Votes: Obama : 64 Romney : 82
CNN Popular Vote: Obama, 42%, (8,674,789) Romney 52% (9,528,320)
Update 8:30PM CNN will display the electoral results on New York City's Empire State Building
Update 8:15PM Amendment 1 the vote on same-sex marriage is the most expensive and divisive ballot question in state history. 30 other states have changed their constitutions to add language defining marriage as only the union of man and a woman.Maryland, Maine and Washington are also voting on same-sex marriage today.
Obama kept with his tradition of an Election Day basketball game.
A savvy basketball fan, Obama was joined by former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen, childhood friends Mike Ramos and Marty Nesbitt, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former captain of Harvard's basketball team.
Others who played included Obama's chef Sam Kass, first lady Michelle Obama's brother Craig Robinson, former Bulls player Jeff Sanders, and Alexi Giannoulias, the former Illinois state treasurer and 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee.
Giannoulias said Obama was player-coach of his team, which included Giannoulias and Pippen. The game had referees and the teams played 12-minute quarters. Duncan and Nesbitt played on the other team.
Update 6:30PM Hashtag #showmeyourballot is trending on Twitter. Voters are uploading pictures of their ballots to Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites. In some states that is illegal. In Minnesota § 204C.17 states that "a voter shall not reveal to anyone in the polling place the name of any candidate for whom the voter intends to vote or has voted" (emphasis added). It is unclear whether Minnesota courts would apply this section to photography which subsequently reveals to the public how the voter has voted. Err an the side of caution and don't do it in Minnesota.
To read more: http://tinyurl.com/d8r4c67
Update 7:00PM The red “I Voted” sticker is probably the most Instagram and Facebook photo of the day. The Minnesota Secretary of State purchases the “I Voted” stickers to promote voter participation. The stickers cost $.002368 per sticker and the office ordered 4.2 million stickers this year at a cost of $10,182. Yale University researchers found that emphasizing high turnout motivates on-the-fence voters. When you see an “I Voted” sticker, it reinforces that you should also go vote. For two-tenths of a cent per sticker, it’s not a bad investment.
Update 6:20PM Susannah Dodge, an election judge, helped Hawo Mumin through a long voting line at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis. She was applying for voter registration and it was her first time voting.
Update: 12:15 Presidential Poker
Update 12:00PM Ready , Set Vote!
Update 11:30AM Obama ends campaign on a high note by sending a congratulatory note to Romney.
"I also want to say to Governor Romney, congratulations on a spirited campaign. I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today. We feel confident we’ve got the votes to win, that it’s going to depend ultimately on whether those votes turn out. And so I would encourage everybody on all sides just to make sure that you exercise this precious right that you have that people fought so hard for, for us to have,” he said, according to the pool."
Update 10:45AM Help for non-English speaking voters
You have the right to request special assistance when voting.
If you need assistance, you may be accompanied into the voting booth by a person of your choice, except by an agent of your employer or union or a candidate.
Election Day FAQS
Poll Hours: 7:00 AM-8:00 PM
For state elections, most polling places open at 7:00 a.m.; a few polling places in small townships located outside the eleven-county metropolitan area may open as late as 10:00 a.m. All polling places close at 8:00 p.m.
Can I get time off from work to vote?
Yes. Minnesota voters may take time off from their jobs for the purpose of voting without penalties or reductions in their pay, personal leave, or vacation time. This is allowed on the day of a state election for the time necessary to appear at the polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work.
If I did not pre-register, can I vote on election day?
Minnesota voters may register to vote on Election Day. To register at your polling location, you must provide proof of residence, complete a voter registration application, and sign an oath stating that you are eligible to vote in the precinct.
Minnesota Weather: http://www.weather.com/outlook/weatherbystate/minnesota
Minnesota Polling Place finder: http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/
Minnesota Election Ballot: http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/Default.aspx
State Voter Guide: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=134
State Election Web Site: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=4
Are you a registered vote: https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/VoterStatus.aspx
Voter ID Requirements: A non-photo ID on Election Day.
For more information about voting in Minnesota, https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/mnvoteswithlinks.aspx
Voter Turnout: The Gopher State hopes to break the record this year with over 3 million eligible voters on Tuesday. Minnesota has topped the country in turnout in seven straight elections, dating back to 1996. In 2008, 77.8 percent of Minnesotans voted in the presidential election.
2008 Election: Obama won by 10 points in 2008.
Minnesota Quick Facts
(Electoral Classes 1 and 2)
(1.72% of 309,785,186)
2012, 2016, 2020 Electoral Votes:
(1.86% of 538)
(1.84% of 435)
(1.75% of 281,998,273)
2004, 2008 Electoral Votes:
(1.86% of 538)
(1.84% of 435)
Update 7:15PM Plan your election party properly
Update 2:30PM As evidence of the growing importance of Minnesota, former President Bill Clinton and Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan appeared at separate rallies on Sunday. Ryan's rally at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport attracted thousands of Romney supporters and was the first major public event held by the Romney campaign in Minnesota. Ryan appeared with Congresswoman Michelle Bachman among others. Ryan told the crowd, "I've got a question, Minnesota, are you going to help us win this election? We can use your help." The Romney campaign is trying to make a late push for Minnesota. This morning, Josh Romney, one of Romney's 5 sons, attended a GOP closing election closing rally in Plymouth. Meanwhile the Obama campaign rolled out the big guns and sent Clinton back into St.Cloud where he appeared with Bachman challenger Jim Graves.Clinton's visit marked his second in as many weeks. Clinton also campaigned in Minneapolis and Duluth last week.Clinton told the standing room only and overflowing crowd, which had many supporters shiverring, waiting and listening outside the St.Cloud State University that "I'm here to support President Obama "But I'm also here to support what I hope will be our next congressman, Jim Graves." Supporters started queueing up two hours in advance of Clinton's scheduled appearance. Clinton was here to ensure that entusiasm remains high going into election Tuesday. Supporters said, "This will help, to hear from somebody who did such a great job as president." Romney supporters and the GOP reacted positively and tactfully to the appearance of Ryan and Clinton. Republican party bosses say Clinton's visit represented "a last-ditch effort to save a state they mistakenly took for granted." Bachman used the Clinton visit to send an urgent rallying email to her followers saying Clinton was there to personally campaign against her in her home district. Republicans are hoping to win Minnesota's 10 electoral votes in an effort to breach the Obama "Midwest firewall" of Minnesota,Ohio and Wisconsin.
President Clinton's Speech