Months ago, reports from Minnesota had the rural vote as crucial to passage or defeat of two amendments. One would ban gay marriage and the other would require a photo ID to vote. Rural voters won one and lost one.
Back in June, we read an article in the Minneapolis newspaper saying, “Rural Minnesota is likely to be the deciding ground in November for the intense campaign over a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.”
In subsequent months, we heard that rural voters in Minnesota were seen as key in two big amendments there — the gay marriage proposal and an amendment that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.
We decided to see what happened in these two closely contested issues.
First, both amendments failed. Gay marriage was not banned in the Minnesota constitution: 51.8 percent voted no on the amendment; 48.2 voted yes.
Voters won’t be required in the state to bring a photo ID to the polls: 53 percent voted no; 47 percent voted yes.
Rural and exurban voters supported the gay marriage amendment: 55 percent of exurban voters supported the gay marriage ban, as did 60 percent of rural voters. This amendment was defeated in the cities, where 58.6 percent of voters opposed it.
Only exurban voters supported the photo ID voter bill, with 51.2 percent supporting. (The exurbs are part of metropolitan regions, but they are places where about half the population lived in a rural setting.)
Rural voters were against the voter ID bill only slightly: 50.7 percent voted against the proposal. In urban counties, 55 percent voted against the bill.
Rural voters made up 26.8 percent of the vote on these issues. Exurban voters were 12.3 percent of the vote; urban voters were 60.9 percent of the total.