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Voting amendment sides disagree on latest poll trends of support

A coalition of groups opposing the proposed voting amendment released an internal poll Friday showing weakening support for the ballot question as get-out-the-vote efforts dominate the remaining days of the campaign.

Our Vote Our Future released a commissioned poll conducted by Oregon-based Grove Insight that reported opposition to the amendment increasing from 37 percent on Oct. 20 to 44 percent on Oct. 30. (Grove Insight says on its website that it “is proud to have helped an impressive array of Democratic candidates, ballot measure efforts, bonds and levies, issue advocates, labor unions, and corporate and nonprofit clients meet their goals.”)

The poll also showed support decreasing 3 points to 50 percent in the same period. 

Dan McGrath
Dan McGrath

But Dan McGrath, who’s running the pro-voting amendment campaign, said internal polling results his camp received today show “very different” results than what the anti-amendment coalition has released.

McGrath said he’d seen a copy of his opponents’ poll memo, which was emailed to supporters on Friday, but declined to share the specifics of his group’s polling data.

“They released this one to give a push” to their campaign,” McGrath said. “That’s the only reason that they’ve released it.”

Greta Bergstrom, a spokeswoman for the coalition, denied releasing the internal poll as a campaign tactic.

“We have to track our results, and we’re liking what we see,” she said of the poll, which surveyed 500 voters between Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 and had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

“At the end of every campaign, everyone is trying to put their best foot forward … I think the reality is as we walk into the final three days of this thing, including Election Day, we have the ability to close this race out and hold them under the majority that they need, and I think we’re going to do it,” Bergstrom said. “It is cautious optimism.”

McGrath, for his part, said he believes the vote-yes campaign can hold its ground.

“We’ve got our own operations going on, of course, and we’ve got a lot of messaging out there to counteract their lies.”

The voting amendment would require a photo ID at the polls and could significantly alter Minnesota’s election system. In Minnesota, a constitutional amendment must pass with more than 50 percent support of total ballots cast, and blank votes count as a “no.”

 Most important to the Our Vote Our Future coalition, many of those surveyed in the poll reported “soft” support or opposition to the amendment, meaning that they could still be swayed through grass-roots campaign efforts before Tuesday’s vote.

According to a memo that detailed poll results, the greatest movement came from women, Democrats and independents under age 50, as well as voters living in suburban and rural areas.

The 80-organization coalition – which features such progressive grass-roots organizing heavyweights as Take Action Minnesota – has been out in full force for months campaigning against the amendment.

Bergstrom said the effort has reached hundreds of thousands of voters.

Greta Bergstrom
Greta Bergstrom

“As we are closing this race down and as we have statewide phone banks and door knocks going on throughout the weekend until 8 p.m. Election Night, this thing can swing our way because support is soft,” she said in an interview Friday afternoon.

 Take Action is just one group that has regularly scheduled phone banks many nights of the week, and the Our Vote Our Future campaign has raised more than $2.6 million in cash and in-kind contributions. It is also heavily union-endorsed and took in $500,000 from George Soros-backed Open Society Policy Center.

Protect My Vote, the main organization supporting the voting amendment, raised $1.5 million. Roughly $1.3 million of the group’s contributions, which has run a more barebones campaign, came from Joan Cummins, wife of conservative benefactor Robert Cummins.

Voting amendment supporters have seen diminishing support in polls as Election Day has approached. What was once roughly 80 percent approval for the amendment had fallen to 54 percent support in mid-September, according to a report from Public Policy Polling on Sept.12.

 A KSTP-SurveyUSA poll released on Oct. 31 showed 55 percent support to 40 percent opposition.

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Comments (3)

No Motivation Needed

The pro-ID Dan McGrath doesn't need to release his internal poll to motivate his volunteers. That's because he doesn't have any. He has no organization, no get out the vote effort. Just a millionaire business man who has kicked in 90% of the pro-ID money, all because he wants to make Minnesota a Right To Work For Less state. McGrath just has an ad budget.

The Vote No campaign is similar to the 1990 Wellstone campaign.

Vote NO

If those who are concerned about the level of fraud were serious about their claimed mission, they should and would be demanding that a permanent ID be used, such as a finger print, that would last throughout a persons voting lifetime.

It is already present on every person, does not change with aging, and can be reproduced easily for absentee ballot use with a simple display such as using a clean and transparent area of sticky cellophane tape.

If you doubt my word simply give your print a try and you will observe a clearly viewable print.

Does each person's print need to be compared with a record print? Not really, as its presence at the time of voting will serve as self-incriminating evidence that no sane person would be willing to leave behind.

Why You Should Not Vote For Voter ID

I would point out the following for consideration by all voters:

1. The Voter ID amendment does more than require a picture ID, though you would never know it from the ballot question. It also requires establishment of a system of provisional voting in Minnesota which we have never had before, and it will probably put an end to Minnesota’s election day registration system as a result. All of these elements disadvantage poor, elderly, and disabled voters, and most likely students as well.

2. The mechanism for verifying identity of voters has always been a matter of legislation, not constitutional mandate. Constitutional amendments should be reserved for broad principles of liberty, not the nitty-gritty mechanics of how government works on a day-to-day basis. The legislature is the appropriate place for these kinds of changes to take place if they are needed, subject to approval or veto by the governor, and subject to a 2/3 vote to override in the event of a veto.

3. Voter ID does not prevent voter fraud. At best it only combats (not prevents) voter impersonation. But consider this: According to a New York University study, from 2000 to 2010 there were (in round numbers) 649 million ballots cast in general elections in the United States at every level --- municipal, county, state, and federal. During that same ten year period there were 47000 reported UFO sightings, approximately 450 people struck and killed by lightning in the United States, and thirteen (that’s right, 13) credible cases of voter impersonation in the entire United States (none in Minnesota). (The New Yorker magazine, famous for its rigorous fact checking, reported last week there were only seven (7) cases, so NYU may have overstated the problem by nearly 100%). If my math is correct, at worst impersonation occurred in only .0000000002% of all the votes cast during those ten years.

4. There are 87 counties in Minnesota. That means there are 87 elected county sheriffs and 87 elected county prosecutors. If there was widespread voter impersonation occuring as the pro-amendment forces claim, don’t you think that some of those 87 elected sheriffs or some of those 87 elected prosecutors would have investigated and prosecuted those felonies? If they aren’t investigating and prosecuting such felonies (if they are occurring), the solution is to vote public officials out of office if they are not doing their jobs, not to amend the constitution. And don’t forget this: In addition to the county sheriffs and county prosecutors, there are hundreds of municipalities in Minnesota with police departments and city attorneys who could investigate and prosecute these crimes, not to mention an elected attorney general, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a large FBI field office, a large Postal Inspection field office, and a large U.S. Attorney’s office. We have all the laws on the books and law enforcement resources necessary to combat voter impersonation. The lack of prosecution and the numbers above should tell you something: There is no need for this amendment. THAT is common sense.

5. The biggest voter fraud problem in Minnesota is ineligible convicted felons casting ballots. There have been many prosecutions for that. Picture ID WILL NOT prevent felons from voting.

6. The amendment is an unfunded mandate. There will be a cost associated with implementing the amendment once legislation is passed to put it into force. I've seen estimates from $2 million to $150 million, but they are just wild guesses because nobody knows what the enabling legislation will look like. What is probable is that the cost will be in the tens of millions, not single digits. And what is certain is that all of us will be paying for it, either through income taxes (if the state funds the costs) or property taxes (if the legislature dumps it on localities to fund). This is a costly solution to a non-existent problem.