Archived Story

The countdown: Top stories of 2012, No. 15-6

Published 11:43am Monday, December 31, 2012

12.Election 2012: Minnesota shoots down marriage, voter ID amendments

Volunteers opposing the limitation of marriage to one man and one woman wave to supporters along 18th Avenue SW before the election. -- Herald file photo

Election Day in Mower County proved that its residents were mostly divided on the two biggest voting issues in 2012: voter ID and gay marriage.

In Mower County, 47.8 percent voted for the photo ID amendment, but 57.2 voted yes on the marriage amendment.

Though the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage was ultimately defeated, Mower County DFL Co-chair Wanda Lunning thought the reason a gay marriage amendment got support locally was residents’ religious beliefs. That sentiment was reflected in statewide exit poll data, which found 7 of 10 voters who attend religious services supported it, along with 4 of 5 born-again or evangelical voters.

While area residents voted with the rest of the state to block a voter ID amendment, some local issues showed the voting process may need more attention from legislators. At least that’s what Mower County Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh thinks. A squabble in Mapleview between a voter, city council member and election judge that led to a complaint filed in Mower County Court is one reason.

“It’s an example of the election problems and how the legislature may use this example to tighten up the election process,” Groh said about the Election Day disagreement, in which a woman said the election judge badgered her husband about his living situation and eligibility to vote in Mapleview.

Another issue in which three people allegedly voted illegally in Austin raised further questions for Groh. While Groh doesn’t believe there should be a voter ID amendment, he believes in tighter restrictions.

In addition, local residents and Minnesotans largely supported incumbent candidates, as Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm, U.S. Rep Tim Walz, DFL and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar all were re-elected to office.

One of the biggest shocks may have been when Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, upset incumbent Republican Rich Murray of Albert Lea, to help the DFL take control of the Minnesota Legislature. Four-term County Commissioner Ray Tucker also lost his seat to Polly Glynn.

— By Matt Peterson


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