Minnesota is plagued with voter fraud. The evidence – both empirical (200 convictions in Ramsey County – the only county that the Minnesota Majority was able to browbeat into taking actual evidence seriously) and anecdotal (yet again, the stories from the U of M and many precincts in the Fourth and Fifth CDs demand an investigation that will never come) is everywhere.
Most Minnesotans that pay attention and aren’t bobbleheaded Fraud Denialists – the people who’ve grown adept at plugging their ears and chanting “nya nya nya best system in the country la la la” – know this.
So why did the Voter ID Amendment fail?
Not because it wasn’t needed, or because a majority of Minnesotans who actually pay attention voted “no”.
Dan McGrath – who led the effort from the beginning – has a long, detailed take that oozes the exhaustion and disappointment he no doubt feels, over at True North. Go read the whole thing; it’ll be easier than copying and pasting the whole thing here.
A few takeaways, both McGrath’s and mine.
- The anti-Amendment crowd outspent the proponents by a daunting margin. Which is odd, considering that in every poll up to the very end, the measure was passing by a bare minimum of 3:2. Now, polls are obviously a mess, in this state more than most. But what could possibly cause a movement to spend that much money to thwart a measure so overwhelmingly supported by so many people, even – initially – DFL-identified voters? Pure, simple love of the status quo?
- The pro-Amendment forces were not only too small and too underfunded – they were fatally fractured, to the point that some pro-Amendment groups actually fought each other. Precious time and money was wasted. There was too little of both under even the right circumstances.
- The movement started out with massive bipartisan support – and then turned the issue into a partisan one. That might have worked in a year when the conservative/GOP brand was a big winner. It was clearly not, this year – but the lesson remains; it was a huge mistake to make it a GOP vs. DFL issue; that did the DFL’s framing for them. This should have been a “Justice versus Fraud” issue, repeated relentlessly and at every opportunity.
- That failure made it easy for the DFL to tie it to the Marriage Amendment, and kill them both with their “Vote No Twice” campaign; it was elegant, and simple enough to drive into the heads of all the low-information voters that dominated this past election.
My prediction: The DFL is going to build “safeguards” to fraud into the system in the next two years that it’d take a decade of conservative rule to untangle. Look for voters to not be required to give names at the polls by 2014; by 2016, people will be picking up ballots at WalMart. By 2018, they’ll come pre-filled from the DFL.
Facetious? We’ll see.