Minnesota election news

Suspend your ebullience over Obama’s election last night, and consider instead the more depressing summary of the Minnesota state election results. It’s not all bad; we have a little bit of good news.

  • Our Democratic-Farmer-Labor party senator, Amy Klobuchar, won re-election handily.

  • The DFL retook the state house.

  • The DFL retook the state senate. We now have a DFL governor and legislature.

  • The constitutional amendment that would have required voters to show a photo ID failed. One more Republican attempt to restrict voter rights has been defeated.

  • The constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman only was defeated. Minnesota has no gay marriage ban.

  • Oh, yeah, Minnesota’s 8 electoral votes are all going to Obama.

But there was tragic news, as well.

  • Minnesota’s 6th district (not mine!) re-elected Michele Bachmann to congress.


Oh, well, it was a very close race. She’s showing signs of weakness, and we’ll give her the boot next time.


  1. Johnny Vector says

    Well that’s two more years of a plentiful guano supply. Fertilize your fields while you can.

  2. rork says

    We in Michigan have always thought ‘sota folks grave and level-headed people. Figured Bachmann was a fluke, but how do you re-elect after actually seeing the creature up close?
    (We aren’t perfect either, I admit.)

  3. katie says

    On the plus side, she’ll be much lonelier without all the other teabaggers to bobble-head along with her unfortunate ramblings. Probably she’ll be much less voncincing, too.

  4. fernando says


    I have a question: im a foreigner and i don`t understand the problem of showing an id with photo when voting (i always show my id with photo when voting), why is so many people in the USA against that?

  5. says

    The problem is that many low income people, older folks, immigrants, and others don’t have photo ID, don’t need photo ID in most other aspects in their lives, and therefore need to spend time and resources acquiring it just to vote. The general perception is that these groups are more likely to vote Democrat, and therefore the photo ID requirement is intended to suppress their votes.

  6. fernando says

    Thanks for the explanation timgueguen.

    So its another foul trick of the Republicans to limit the right to vote of possible suporters of the Democrats.

    That is a shame, and i can only praise the democratic posture of the many american citizens in stop that.

  7. Beatrice says


    I didn’t understand that either, since I’m also used to showing my id when voting. But, from what people have explained to me, the system in US is different. Where I legally had to get an ID card when I turned 16, that is not true in US. Those who don’t have any sort oh photo ID are usually poor, often immigrants who can’t cover the costs of getting an ID card. Since those are the people who usually vote Democrat (since Republicans aren’t exactly friendly towards immigrants or poor people), Republicans are trying to mandate ID cards in order to keep these people from voting.

  8. blf says

    fernando @5,

    Partly history: ID-to-vote was a common(?) tactic of the so-called “Jim Crow” laws intended to keep blacks from voting.
    (Other common tactics were proof-of-literary, situating polling stations far from the voters with inconvenient opening hours, ….)

    Partly practicality: Less well off people won’t necessarily have a suitable ID.
    (It used to be the case there was no requirement to carry or have ID. I think that is still true, but is increasingly(?) awkward.)

    Partly intimidation: Having to show ID is considered authoritarian (in part due to the above reasons).

    Probably other reasons as well. For instance, I can’t think of how it could possibly apply to mail-in ballots (that is, seems unfair).

  9. steve84 says

    It does have a gay marriage ban. Per law. The amendment would have just made it doubly illegal

  10. darwinharmless says

    Bachmann is a good source of comedy relief, or would be if her moronic statements weren’t so damaging and believed by so many.

    It’s always a mystery how somebody that ignorant and stupid can ever get support from anybody other than the equally ignorant and stupid. Uh…. maybe I just explained something there. She has a demographic base. Doesn’t reflect well on you Merkans I’m afraid.

  11. says

    Well, Virginia technically has a voter ID law. However like everything Virginia, they give you lots of options. Your voter ID could have been:

    – A Virginia voter registration card
    – A valid Virginia driver’s license
    – Military ID
    – Any Federal, Virginia state or local government-issued ID
    – Employer issued photo ID card
    – Concealed handgun permit
    – Valid student ID issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
    – Current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter
    – Social Security card (only if not a first-time voter)

    But that said, most Voter ID laws severely limit the choice of ID – usually requiring an ID with two things: a photo and a current address – things which are not found on a LOT of documentations.

  12. thebookofdave says

    She faced a serious challenger this year. I still don’t regret throwing a few bucks to the Jim Graves run. It’s a pity I live too far away to ring a few doorbells for his campaign.

    In the meantime, count on her wacky hijinx to keep the out-of-staters rolling in the aisles for another two years. Gotta go freshen up my popcorn now, before the intermission’s over.

  13. chigau (棒や石) says

    I (in Alberta, Canada) got my first government-issued photo ID when I turned 18.
    The governmental body that issued it was a liquor store.

  14. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says


    One of the other problems with the voter ID laws is that the economically disadvantaged are far more likely to move more often than those with stable jobs and higher paying jobs. Keeping an ID current for your current address can be very difficult (and expensive).

  15. carbonbasedlifeform says

    In the US, the standard ID is the driver’s license, which has one’s photograph on it. In most, if not all, states, one can also get a photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    My 91-year-old mother-in-law had to give up her driver’s license because she failed her driver’s test. She lives in a small town in rural Wisconsin, and the nearest DMV office is over 30 miles away. Since she no longer has a photo-ID and no ready way to get to the DMV office, she has effectively been disenfranchised. Admittedly, the last time I saw her, I took her to the DMV office to get a state ID card.

  16. iknklast says

    “•Minnesota’s 6th district (not mine!) re-elected Michele Bachmann to congress”

    She’ll get along very well with Nebraska’s new Republican senator, Deb Fischer, who managed to win election in a state that despises big government and welfare handouts by taking the position that government should keep making her rich (not technically; she was opposed to any attempts to impose fair market standards and prices on rannching permits for federal land, which is how she made her millions – government money).

    And, in a totally laughable move, we just added an amendment to our constitution guaranteeing the right to hunt, even though the right to hunt is not even close to being threatened, here or anywhere else in the country.

    But, on a slightly up note, Ernie Chambers returns to the Nebraska legislature – one of the few open atheists in such a position anywhere in the country. Three cheers for Omaha!

  17. jefrir says

    The other problem with voter ID measures is that they are aimed at a problem that doesn’t actually exist. There is no evidence of widespread voting fraud – at least, not in the form of people pretending to be someone else to vote.
    Voter suppresion tactics and dodgy ways of counting the votes, of course, are another matter.

  18. raven says

    •Minnesota’s 6th district (not mine!) re-elected Michele Bachmann to congress.

    It did cost them a lot though.

    IIRC, the Tea Party and christofascists poured a huge amount of money into her campaign. It’s a zero sum game. That money could have been used, in theory, anyway to support other, saner candidates.

    Just think of Minnesota’s 6th district as a National Sacrifice Area. They took a christofascist for the rest of us.

  19. says

    Looks like marriage equality passed in Maine, Maryland, and Washington – and at least wasn’t rejected in Minnesota. Pretty much a clean sweep for sanity.

    And marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington, and not just for medical purposes. I have cautious hope that we might have turned a corner in Prohibition 2the ‘war on drugs’.

    And many of the wackiest tea party candidates – Mourdock and Akin, particularly – lost despite money-shoveling. I anticipate something close to a full-scale civil war in the Republican Party. It probably won’t even be settled by the 2014 mid-terms.

    Overall, about as good a result as could reasonably be hoped for.

  20. jaranath says

    Just to elaborate messily on timgueguen’s and others’ wonderfully succinct explanations, Fernando:

    Our election system registers voters on the local level, so if you show up to your local polling place they (and only they) should have your name in the books already. In other words, it’s already been verified that Jaranath X. is a real person and an eligible voter.

    Republicans in the US have tried to make this system controversial by pointing out that theoretically, without an ID requirement at the polls, anyone could show up claiming to be unregistered (where they’re allowed to do that) or to be me and vote in my place (presumably against my wishes, for candidates I’m unlikely to choose). There are fundamental problems with this argument. It’s a highly impractical form of fraud. To sway an election with made-up voters or voters impersonating other voters at the polls would take massive coordinated effort with tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country. Such a large conspiracy collapses under its own weight (with that many people some insider is guaranteed to talk, and the odds of attracting a “spy” from the opposition or law enforcement is too high). It would also be blatantly obvious at the polls. Many people would be arriving at the polls only to be told they’d already voted, or not showing up on registries at all. This would quickly raise big red flags, and it greatly raises the odds of some of the importers being caught and prosecuted. Essentially there is no way to commit this sort of fraud to any significant, election-affecting degree, without leaving an obvious signature that it had been done.

    The vast majority of the Republican rhetoric on this issue has simply stated “it could happen”. When they do present evidence, the vast majority of the alleged fraudulent votes turn out to be completely normal–slight differences in the registration records with name spelling, address changes, typos, precinct assignments, etc. Of the tiny fraction who were ineligible to vote, there is usually an obvious, non-fraudulent reason (like simply not understanding they were ineligible or not registered). Whittling down through the impressive-sounding numbers of “questionable” voters the Republicans present, we typically find in any given state that the numbers of voters who MIGHT have committed actual, deliberate, in-person voter fraud comes to down to double or single digits. A few dozen, more or less.

  21. says

    I live in MN, and have had the pleasure of voting against Bachman, but only once. Although she is horrible and a fucking embarrassment to to our state and to the entire country, there is a very, very small silver lining to her winning the election. She reps the most conservative and backwards part of MN and one of the most conservative districts in the country. Also, despite her awful record of saying really shitty things, she makes almost no serious effort to get anything done in congress.

    If Bachman does ever get defeated, the Dem win would only last for two years. The republican who would replace that Dem would almost certainly be a less awful person than Bachman, but only in their rhetoric. The theoretical republican would most likely share all of her views, but would work harder to get actual, terrible bills passed.

    Bachman cares most about building her brand, and has little desire to propose legislation that will ever get made into law. That said, I still wanted her to lose soooooo bad.

  22. says

    Unfortunately, it appears District 6 never got the memo that the whole ‘Vote Cthulhu, don’t settle for the lesser evil’ thing was a joke.

    People, we’ve got to do a better job with the paperwork.

  23. butchpansy says

    She spent over $20,000,000 for that seat, 12 times what her opponent spent, and only won by a tad over 4,000 votes. Of course, it wasn’t her own money, but that scammed from her fearful base. Do you think they feel besieged? It’s a big, scary world full of demonic forces out there!

  24. says

    As for the problems with the voter ID, due to a paperwork snafu that seems to have occurred when I was 5, it has taken me the better part of ten (10) years to get an ID with my actual, legal name on it.

    Last year was the first year of my life in which the name on my birth certificate and the name on my social security card were the same, so it is the first year of my life I was able to get a valid state ID in the state I am currently residing.

    Ten years. Because some schmuck decided the fact that my last name didn’t match my father’s was obviously an error and ‘helpfully’ corrected my social security information. And another schmuck decided that of course my last name would match my father’s, and input that into my school ID when I was enrolled. Note – In addition to the whole ‘ya know, not everyone does the name change thing’ bullshit, I was actually born almost two years before my parents got married.

    As it is, even if I were so inclined to take my husband’s name, it is now an impossibility for me. We may in fact, have to have him divorce this person who doesn’t exist (the name I married him under) and then remarry me in order to get the paperwork sorted out.

    So hi. I’m one of the people the voter ID bill would have screwed. And to be honest, I’m one of the folks the voter ID bill was designed to screw.

  25. Francisco Bacopa says

    Don’t feel so bad about Bachman, Texas just put Ted Cruz in the Senate.

    I don’t understand how Cruz didn’t have a Birther-style challenge. Born in Canada and his dad was at one point an actual communist in Castro’s Cuba. Oh, wait a sec, his mom was a US citizen and his dad had political refugee residency status, so he’s a proper American.

  26. tubi says

    I voted for Graves. To be honest, I didn’t expect to win-I have learned not to where Bachmann’s concerned. But given the rest of the outcomes in the state and across the country*, I look at it as having ordered a giant hot fudge sundae that they just forgot to put the cherry on top. I’m still satisfied, and I’ll just get two cherries next time.

    *Only one of our two school levies passed, so no all day kindergarten for anyone who wants it, district’s technology budget cut in half, and potential layoffs of up to 100 staff district-wide. That sucks too, especially after the awesome letter I wrote to the local paper editorial page.

  27. truthspeaker says

    7 November 2012 at 8:14 am

    The problem is that many low income people, older folks, immigrants, and others don’t have photo ID, don’t need photo ID in most other aspects in their lives, and therefore need to spend time and resources acquiring it just to vote. The general perception is that these groups are more likely to vote Democrat, and therefore the photo ID requirement is intended to suppress their votes.

    You should also need to know that we have to prove our identification to register to vote. That gets you on the list of voters, and you stay on unless you move without updating your registration. The registration card gets mailed to the address on file, and if it comes back, they’re supposed to remove you.

    Also, the Voter ID amendment proposed here only allowed Minnesota-issued IDs, so passports and military IDs (which are more reliable) wouldn’t have been enough to allow you to vote.

  28. says

    To sway an election with made-up voters or voters impersonating other voters at the polls would take massive coordinated effort with tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country. Such a large conspiracy collapses under its own weight (with that many people some insider is guaranteed to talk, and the odds of attracting a “spy” from the opposition or law enforcement is too high).

    You are talking about people that, in some cases, still think that there was some secret, implausible, large scale, conspiracy to fake Obama’s birth certificate, so that he would appear to be American, with the intent of, decades later, having him run for president, or any of a number of other crazy assed conspiracies about him, and others (like the secret plot of a vast number of invisible Muslims to take over our government, or the secret conspiracy of tens of thousands of scientists to hide the truth about global warming, and the real age of the earth). I have no problem, at all, believing that these idiots think there is some vast plot, of thousands, or even tens of thousands, of “sleeper cell” voters, all waiting to rush to the polls and cast illegal votes for someone. What I have a problem with is that, like really extreme religious views, this doesn’t qualify as bloody clinical insanity.

  29. gregpeterson says

    When I was a kid growing up in Red Wing, MN, there was a polio survivor in a wheelchair who used to play checkers with the kids down at our largest municipal park. After seeing what this guy’s life was like, no one could ever convince me that vaccines aren’t crucial.

    Bachmann is that kind of cautionary tale. She gives us someone to point at and say, “See? This is what theocratic nonsense looks like.”

    In that role, she is invaluable. And since she never does anything, has no actual accomplishments, her ability to do harm is limited.

  30. crocswsocks says

    You think THIS is depressing?! I live in Kansas! There weren’t even Democrats on any ballot but the Presidential one, and all our electoral votes went to Romney!

  31. jaranath says


    Agreed. Too many of them actually swallow this crap…yet another reason we need more skeptics! I’ve driven past “Vote fraud is a crime!” billboards in urban democratic areas of a battleground state. I can’t imagine someone doing that if he didn’t believe it. It’s like political homeopathy.

  32. fernando says

    Your explanation was quite useful and made this subject more clear to me, jaranath, and im grateful you (and others) took some of your time to explain all that.

    Obama is the president of the USA once again and i hope he can achive and protect some reforms (the health reform: not remember the name now) and end some problems (wars badly planned and the prison at Guantanamo) inherited from the Republicans.

  33. says

    Last night I saw that Amy Klobuchar had won re-election in your dear state. I uttered a Woo-hoo (can’t remember if that was before or after Elizabeth Warren was declared the chosen one from MA). My half asleep wife asked “why are you celebrating?”

    I said “someone won from my highschool class won” (not really, comeon, I’m from,hang my head in shame, WV and what are those coal miners thinking about (besides their jobs and livelihood?)

  34. says

    And a re post from over at the “Daily Kos” in regards to “that” constitutional amendment:

    “You dug down and fought for love, with love,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told hundreds of amendment opponents gathered at the RiverCentre in St. Paul late Tuesday night. “You understood compassion. This wound up being one of the most inspirational things that’s ever happened in Minnesota. Minnesota is going to be the state that’s going to show the country exactly what Minnesota values are all about.”

    An early and vocal opponent of the amendment, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said “Minnesota is better than this” and criticized the ballot initiative as the “wrong way to lead, the wrong way to govern.”

    Thank Odin for those barely concealed socialists in your state PZ.

    Time to don the War Armor. On to 2016. Oops, 2014. Time for a takeover.

  35. stubby says

    It was a great night in Minnesota. I’ve seen a lot of grumpy old people today. Good times.

  36. says

    Okay, now you guys have four years to manage getting everyone photo ID cards, and supplying for those who can’t afford to pay the fifteen to thirty dollars these things cost. Anything wrong with that?

  37. Esteleth, Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo says

    So, Felix, you support DMVs and other such offices having mandatory office hours more frequent than an afternoon a month, easy to follow and clear-cut forms and processes for getting IDs, and programs to deal with the issue of people who don’t have high-quality birth certificates and consistent names across all their documents disproportionately being poor, PoC, and women, right?

  38. rrhain says

    Just to be pedantic, Minnesota does ban marriage equality. The vote last night was for a constitutional amendment to do so.

    Laws of Minnesota 1997, Chapter 203, Article 10 was signed by the governor on June 2, 1997. It declares marriage to be only between people of mixed sex and specifically prohibits same-sex marriage. This is in addition to Laws of Minnesota 1977, Chapter 441, sec. 1 which redefined marriage to include the phrase, “between a man and a woman.” This was in reference to the Baker v. Nelson case in 1971 which tried to establish the constitutionality of equal protection for gay people with respect to marriage (which failed).

    Currently, there is a course pending in the Minnesota courts, Benson v. Alverson, which deals with this. It was originally dismissed. It was then appealed on the grounds that the Minnesota DOMA law from 1997 violated the Single Subject and Freedom of Conscience clauses of the Minnesota Constitution. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled against them saying that the statute did not, but also sent the case back for review regarding Due Process, Freedom of Association, and Equal Protection issues. The original judge that dismissed the suit to begin with is now hearing motions.

    Sorry, Doc, but your state still bans equality. It’s just doing it through plain law, not a constitutional amendment.

  39. qwerty says

    rrhain – No need to be pendantic with us Minnesotans as those of us who are glbt know we cannot get married in our state.

    The amendment was a cynical attempt to get the Republican base out to the polls and a sincere attempt by “true believers” in religion to defend their religious based bigotry.

    That said, I’ve been dreading this vote for over a year, but I am estatic that it’s gone our way. Even more estatic that the state houses are now both in the DLF’s (our name of our democrats party) control.

    This has truly backfired on the Republicans in that now, in the next legislative session, I am positive some of our glbt representatives or senators or their allies will introduce a bill allowing same-sex marriage in our state.

    Even though I am currently single, I rejoice at this possibility which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t had the motivation to defeat this hate filled amendment. Yea!!!!

  40. says

    On a side note… My father, and brother, are both seriously pissing me off. They are not conservative, but they have never the less fallen for enough of the bullshit spread about Obama that today they where whining about how California should be allowed to sink into the sea, instead of getting any sort of help for their own deficit problems, because they helped reelect Obama. They also seem to not comprehend that the very rich people they hate for screwing us over, where the source of 99% of all the money that went into trying to elect Romney, or that Ryan, and his people, are just insane, and that either of those things, by themselves, should have been enough to make them keep their fraking mouths shut about Obama being reelected, instead of someone else.

    My niece put it quite succinctly when she said that both of them are impossible to talk to, because, even being otherwise liberal, they have a huge assed bloody blind spot, when it comes to the reality of what this election was about, and just how bad things have gotten in politics. I.e., its not just, “Things swing back and forth, like a pendulum (or wrecking ball in this case)”. Someone cut the original ball in half, and we are now witnessing what happens when the extremes of either one are not necessarily rational, and the point where they meet, as they swing back, is a really bad place to be standing.

    I really drives me nuts trying to get either one of them to comprehend why this was not like some case of electing another Reagan, or a Clinton, the former of which wouldn’t have been necessarily good, but wouldn’t have been a complete fucking disaster either.

  41. michaelvester says

    Congratulations America. After seeing 8 years of George Bush, I thought an magic underwear wearing pathological liar was going to be the next president. Glad I was wrong. I am glad to see Michelle Bachman keep her seat. She is wonderful specimen of what delusional religious beliefs can do to a person. Also, I think she is hot so I enjoy watching her. I only say this because she is not a politician in my country, thank the fsm for that.

  42. jedibear says

    Washington State’s news was likewise mostly good (tax rebellion and charter schools aside.) However, we did re-elect Doc Hastings, who is my representative.