Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional amendment Tuesday that would have required them to show photo ID before they cast their ballots.
It was past 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when the Associated Press called the ballot question for the Vote No forces.
At 1:45 a.m., with 87.47 percent of precincts reporting, the Minnesota Secretary of State estimated that yes votes were 45.74 percent of all ballots cast.
Update (Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.). Unofficial results now show these results:
- "Yes" votes: 1,362,879
- "No" votes: 1,536,296
- Blank responses (estimated): 41,647
- Estimated total number of votes: 2,940,822
- Estimated percentage of "Yes" votes: 46.34 percent
The ballot measure needed more than 50 percent to pass.
Earlier in the long evening, with about 675,000 ballots counted, Our Vote Our Future spokesman Eric Fought said, "We're optimistic" about the Vote No chances.
He added, "It could tighten up a little bit. We want to see more [results] come in from some other places in the state."
Did he expect to see significant differences in how people in different areas of the state voted?
"Not really. A lot of folks in the [Twin] Cities and Duluth moved earlier [to a Vote No position]," Fought said. "But people in Greater Minnesota are really concerned about the amendment."
Fought said the recent movement in polls toward the Vote No position reflected undecided voters making decision as Election Day neared.
Fewer than 26,000 voters who cast the first 675,000 ballots counted left the Voter ID question blank. Fought chalked that up to two high-profile amendments on the ballot—"and both on the front side of the ballot," he noted.
The Vote No party in St. Paul was picking up steam, Fought said, after Gov. Mark Dayton (D) made an early appearance. "[Former Republican Gov. Arne] Carlson is here right now," he said. "People are excited, but cautious."
State Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) learned about the first results in the Voter ID amendment referendum when Patch called her at about 9 p.m.
"It's absolutely, way too early," Kiffmeyer said then. She said the urban counties of Hennepin and Ramsey would have low support for voter ID, while support would be higher in the suburbs. "You at least want a blend" of results from those kinds of counties," she said.
Her watchword for evaluating Voter ID returns: "Wait."
But after five more hours, the Vote Yes cause was lost.
"The people of Minnesota are smart," said Our Vote Our Future's Fought in a 3 a.m. email. "For the past six months amendment proponents had the opportunity to convince voters that this was necessary. They failed to do so. There were far too many costs, consequences and questions left unanswered."