5 things to know about Minnesota's election - FOX 35 News Orlando

5 things to know about Minnesota's election

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MINNEAPOLIS -

Minnesota voters are weighing in on dozens of races, including ballot initiatives about gay marriage and voter ID, the presidential race, representatives for Congress and the U.S. Senate. Here's a few things worth knowing about election day in Minnesota:


1. DOING NOTHING MEANS NO

Voters deciding two constitutional amendments -- one defining marriage as solely between one man and one woman and the other dictating voters must carry photo identification at the polls -- are weighing in just by showing up at the polls.

To prevail, the constitutional amendments require affirmative support from a majority of voters in the election. Ballots with the questions left blank automatically go in the "no" column.

While many people have already decided how they are going to vote on those issues, some voters who spoke with FOX 9 News admitted they still aren't sure what a 'yes' or 'no' vote would mean -- especially in regards to same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage is currently illegal in Minnesota, and a vote against the amendment will not change that. If the amendment passes, however, the Legislature or Supreme Court would not be able to take it out without another edit of the Constitution. If it fails, the law could be repealed or altered in the future.

A vote against the voter ID amendment would also have no effect on existing law, but the amendment's passage would require voters to prevent a government-issued photo ID at elections in the future; however, it is still unclear what will or will not be accepted.

At this point, it is still unclear how it would affect same-day registration, student voters from out of state, or how much it would cost to implement.


2. RECOUNT READY

Minnesota's election motto of late: Why count them once when you can double the fun? The last two statewide elections have yielded recounts. The 2008 Senate race wasn't decided until Democrat Al Franken prevailed in court during the summer of 2009. The 2010 governor's race didn't wrap up until nearly Christmas.

A recount is automatic when candidates are separated by less than one-half of 1% of the total votes cast, but it's a different story for the amendments on the ballot because they are not eligible for automatic recounts. 

It is possible that a recount could be ordered through a court challenge, but whoever filed that challenge would be responsible for the costs associated with the case.

3. NOT REGISTERED? NOT A PROBLEM.

If you are not registered to vote or need to update your registration information, you may do so at your local polling location on Election Day as long as you can provide proof of residence.

To register at your polling place on Election Day, you must bring one of the following with your current name and address to verify your residence in the precinct :

  • A valid Minnesota driver's license, learner's permit, Minnesota ID card, or receipt for any of these
  • A valid student ID card including your photo, if your college has provided a student housing list to election officials
  • A Tribal ID card that contains your picture and signature
  • A valid registration in the same precinct under a different name or address
  • A notice of late registration sent to you by your county auditor or city clerk
  • A voter registered in the same precinct as you who can confirm your address with a signed oath
  • An employee of the residential facility where you live who can confirm your address with a signed oath
  • Both 1) a photo ID from the list below, and 2) a current bill from the list below with your current name and address in the precinct

Photo IDs (may be expired)

  • Minnesota Driver's License
  • Minnesota ID Card
  • United States Passport
  • United States Military ID Card
  • Tribal ID Card
  • Minnesota University, College, or Technical College ID Card

Bills (delivered electronically or by mail)

  • Utility bill due within 30 days of election day:
    • Telephone (landline, cell, VOIP, etc.)
    • TV (cable, satellite, etc.)
    • Internet services
    • Electric
    • Gas
    • Solid Waste
    • Sewer Services
    • Water
  • Rent statement dated within 30 days of election day that itemizes utilities
  • Current student fee statement

Thousands of absentee ballots have already been cast, and the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office estimates the state will probably have the highest voter turnout in the country. Current projections estimate that 78 percent of eligible voters will cast a ballot this year.


4. DON'T WEAR YOUR VIEWS TO THE POLLS

Aside from the amendment battles and a few hot regional campaigns, Minnesota had a quiet election season -- but the signs of the campaign have been seen across the state on signs, T-shirts and buttons. As voters head to the polls, however, election officials want them to know those displays won't be allowed near the ballot box.

"One hundred feet from the door, the outside, is the beginning of the quiet zone," explained Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. "From that point on, no buttons, no hats, no paraphernalia, no lobbying, no attempt to influence. I think Minnesotans put a high value on having that calm last moment to be on their own, and we try to protect that."


5. THE STREAK

Through presidential landslides and squeakers, Minnesota has been a place Democrats could count on. The party's nominee has won the state in every election since 1976. That's nine in a row, a Democratic streak unmatched anywhere in the country. Richard Nixon was the last Republican to come out on top, in 1972. That history was one reason Mitt Romney seemed ready to concede Minnesota - right up until a final-week TV ad blitz and a quick visit from Paul Ryan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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