Election 2012: At this moment

- Marriage amendment defeated 
- Voter ID amendment defeated 
- DFL regains control of Minnesota Legislature
- Rep. Chip Cravaack concedes defeat to challenger Rick Nolan, a DFLer, in 8th District
- Maryland approves same-sex marriage measure, clearing way for same-sex couples to wed
- Maine voters approve a citizen-led ballot initiative to recognize same-sex marriage
- Bachmann holds off Graves
- Walz, Peterson, McCollum, Ellison, Kline, and Paulsen re-elected to Congress in Minnesota
- GOP holds onto U.S. House; Dems hold onto U.S. Senate

  • AP VIDEO: A crowd of Obama supporters hug and cheer outside the White House: apne.ws #Election2012
  • More details on Maryland's same-sex marriage vote

    The Baltimore Sun says that, with 93.3 percent of the state's precincts reporting, Maryland's Question 6 marriage ballot initiative has passed: 51.7 percent of voters approved the measure; 41.9 percent opposed it.

    In February 2012, Maryland's General Assembly passed a bill to recognize same-sex marriage in the state. Gov. Martin O'Malley signed it into law the following month. A referendum generated enough signatures to put the law to popular vote in today's election.

    Until today's adoption of the law -- called the Civil Marriage Protection Act -- Maryland recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states (and the District of Columbia), but would not issue its own marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Similar to the initiative passed in Maine this Election Day, the Maryland law included a religious exemption, as well. According to the language on the ballot, the initiative "protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs." [Full text of the proposed law]

    "This is the civil rights issue of our time," [Baltimore Mayor Stephanie] Rawlings-Blake told [a crowd of supporters tonight].

    [WBAL-AM: More on the vote]

    Returns on marriage-related votes in Washington and Minnesota are still being updated.
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  • Photos: Minnesota election night winners, losers
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  • Voter ID opponents stop just short of declaring victory

    Dan McGrath, director of TakeAction Minnesota, the group working to stop the photo ID amendment, stopped short of declaring victory but said the campaign’s momentum and eleventh hour sprint to the finish line could be credited to a strong and painstaking grassroots effort.

    “We had trusted messengers and that is how we moved these polls. It was an incremental conversation over months and months and then by the time we got to August all those organizations were in same direction and we suddenly hit a critical mass and that is when you saw the dramatic numbers change, that drop from 80 percent to down into the 50s was the result of grassroots work.

    He says volunteers from existing community based organizations went voter by voter to get their message across.

    “We didn’t have money for media buys we made up for that by getting people’s stories into the media – trusted voices. And Dayton and Carlson’s support were critical because they modeled the kind of politics people want in the state. It was statesmanship and bipartisanship and pragmatism at its best.”
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  • DFLer Nolan "extremely optimistic" in 8th Congressional District race

    From MPR News reporter Mark Zdechlik:

    The Rick Nolan campaign is extremely optimistic about the chance for victory over Rep. Chip Cravaack, with campaign manager Michael Misterek saying that Nolan’s numbers are running, on average, eight percent above Jim Oberstar’s 2010 showing -- and that’s with most of St. Louis County, a Nolan stronghold, still not yet reported.
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  • Obama in victory speech: "We know in our hearts ... the best is yet to come."
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  • Washington marriage vote still reporting returns

    Washington is reporting a turnout of 48.62 percent of the state's nearly 4 million registered voters, with an estimated 517,300 still on hand to be processed.

    At this point, the vote to affirm Washington's same-sex marriage law is coming in at 51.8 percent in favor of Referendum 74 -- and 48.2 percent against it.

    The measure, which if approved would allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington, would also modify the state's domestic partnership law to require all domestic partners (except senior citizens) to either dissolve their domestic partnership or apply for a marriage license.

    It also includes a provision for religious institutions, much like similar initiatives passed today in Maryland and Maine, which would "preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony." [link]

    Washington's ballot initiative this Election Day is similar to Maryland's, as both ask voters to approve or reject a law granting marriage rights to same-sex couples that had been passed by their respective state legislatures and signed by their governors.

    In Washington, unless the measure is approved, marriage between two people of the same sex is prohibited explicitly by law. Washington does not recognize same-sex marriages issued by other states or the District of Columbia.

    If the initiative is approved by a majority of Washington voters, the same-sex marriage law, known as Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239, will take effect Dec. 6, 2012, 30 days after Election Day -- and it would make Washington the only state west of Iowa to allow same-sex marriage.
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  • Hand count Wednesday morning for three Minneapolis precincts

    City of Minneapolis news release:

    Minneapolis has provided the vast majority of its election results this evening as usual, and every vote cast will be included in the City’s final election tallies. However, there are three precincts (out of 117) where results will not be available tonight. These precincts are 10-1, 10-2, and 10-8. A number of ballots in these precincts have technical printing errors affecting the margins of the ballots that would not even be noticeable to the voter, but which cause them to be un-scannable by the standard ballot tabulators. These printing errors do not affect the ballot content or any races or issues on the ballot.

    Following state rules and guidelines for scenarios like this, the City and Hennepin County will work together, beginning tomorrow, to include these un-scannable votes in the final vote tallies. Beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, ballots from these three precincts will be hand counted at the Minneapolis elections warehouse, which is at 732a Harding St. NE. The hand count will be open to media.

    Again, only a very small percentage of the City's precincts have been affected. Voters should be assured that every ballot will be counted.
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  • Washington's Referendum 74: The Seattle Times offers a glimpse of where Washington's same-sex marriage referendum stands so far. With 48.62 percent voter returns, the results remain tight at 51.8 percent in favor of the law establishing same-sex marriage in the state and 48.2 percent against it.

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  • Bachmann to speak to her supporters shortly

    From MPR News reporter Brett Neely:

    Michele Bachmann will come down to the stage shortly to deliver a short speech her aides describe as an update “to the state of play.”

    Bachmann, a three-term Republican Congresswoman, is locked in a close race with DFL challenger Jim Graves.

    The party at the Bloomington Hilton had deflated after the networks called Ohio for President Obama. But news that Bachmann would address the crowd has brought partygoers back into the ballroom.
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  • Portland Press Herald reports Maine marriage concession

    Opponents of same-sex marriage in Maine concede defeat around 1:30 a.m. #mepolitics bit.ly/YGYMck

    — PressHerald (@PressHerald) November 7, 2012

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  • Video: Mainers approve gay marriage referendum

    PORTLAND, Maine — Maine made history Tuesday when it became the first state in the nation to approve same-sex marriage by voter referendum.

    At 12:40 a.m., with 360 — or 62 percent— of 578 precincts reporting, there were 234,462 votes, or 53.7 percent, in favor of Question 1 and 201,905 votes, or 46.3 percent, opposed.

    Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, which supports Question 1, declared victory just before midnight.

    “Three years ago, Maine made history as the first state to pass marriage through a state legislature and have it signed into law by the governor. Maine made history again this year when we became the first state to bring a citizen’s initiative to voters in support of the freedom to marry. And we have made history tonight,” he told about 1,000 cheering supporters at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. “For the first time, we have won marriage at the ballot box.”

    More from the Bangor Daily News: Mainers approve gay marriage referendum (with video)
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  • Maryland voters approve same-sex marriage law

    From the Baltimore Sun:

    Marylanders made history Tuesday as they voted to make same-sex marriage legal — a question that had been defeated each of the 32 times it had been on the ballot in other states.

    "To Maryland's children – please know that you and your families matter to the people of our state," Gov. Martin O'Malley, who pushed for the law, said early Wednesday in a statement declaring victory. "Whether your parents happen to be gay or straight, Democratic, Republican or Independent, your families are equal before the eyes of the law."

    The Free State joins six others and the District of Columbia, which have allowed same-sex marriage. Local courts can begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in January.

    More from the Sun: Maryland one of four states with issue on ballot
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  • The economy vs. same-sex marriage

    Anecdotal evidence in several races for the Minnesota House of Representatives appears to suggest that voters who are against the same-sex marriage amendment aren't holding it against some of the lawmakers who put it on the ballot.

    Here are three examples. In District 53 in Woodbury, incumbent freshman Andrea Kieffer won re-election with about 55% of the vote, while the same voters shot down the same-sex marriage amendment with 57% of the ballots showing a "no" vote.

    In District 48B -- Eden Prairie -- incumbent freshman Jennifer Loon had an easy time of it, garnering almost 59% of the vote, while a nearly equal percentage of people voted against the same-sex marriage amendment.

    And in District 44A in Hennepin County -- Republican Sarah Johnson appears headed for re-election with 52% of the vote in a district in which only 41% of the voters favored the same-sex marriage amendment.

    Four Republicans voted "no" last spring in the floor vote to put the same-sex amendment before voters. Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing paid no price for the vote. He was re-elected with nearly 57% of the vote. The amendment passed there with 51% of the vote.

    Rep. Rich Murray of Albert Lea, a Republican, also voted against the same-sex marriage amendment. He may lose the seat, but it probably has more to do with a third party challenge in the district, which overwhelmingly approved of the same-sex marriage amendment.

    The two other Republicans who were against putting the amendment to voters either did not run for re-election of lost in the primary.

    So what does this limited data mean? Probably that voters are concerned about the economy and little else, since the lawmakers didn't make the amendment -- or most social issues for that matter -- part of their re-election campaigns. Voters were more than willing to separate the two and not penalize all lawmakers for running on economic platforms and legislating on some social issues.

    But, as morning approaches, it appears the DFL is poised to regain control of the House. If there was a motivation to put the amendment on the ballot to draw "the base" to the polls -- as opponents of the amendment charged when it was being debated last spring -- it backfired. The amendment drew opponents to the polls, and appears to have given a boost to DFLers in open seats, and made life miserable for Republicans in close races.
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  • MPR News reporter Mark Zdechlik in Brainerd: DFLer Rick Nolan expected to speak soon, and may declare victory in challenge to Rep. Chip Cravaack.
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  • DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen: "The Speaker just called and congratulated us on taking back the House."
  • Status update on both sides in Minn. marriage debate

    From MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert:

    Minnesota for Marriage supporters -- who have been working in favor of passing today's constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- say they're calling it a night.

    The reason: Minneapolis has announced that it will be hand-counting votes tomorrow for three of its precincts.

    They won't have an answer tonight, chairman John Helmberger said. "It's that close."

    From reporter Sasha Aslanian:

    Cristine Almeida, the board chair of Minnesotans United for All Families, which opposes the amendment, says the group is "continuing to watch" election results as they come in, precinct by precinct.

    They will come back to share what they know at 1:45 a.m.
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  • Rep. Chip Cravaack concedes defeat to DFL challenger Rick Nolan
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  • Where the Minnesota marriage amendment stands: With 83.1 percent reporting >> 50.6 percent of voters have cast 'No' ballots; 48.0 percent have cast 'Yes' votes and 1.4% of voters have left the question blank (which count as 'No' votes).

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  • AP call: Photo ID to vote amendment is defeated.

    — Patrick Condon (@pcondonap) November 7, 2012
    Patrick Condon covers politics for the Associated Press in Minnesota.
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  • AP call: Gay marriage amendment is defeated

    — Patrick Condon (@pcondonap) November 7, 2012
    Patrick Condon covers politics for The Associated Press in Minnesota.

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  • Minnesota voter ID amendment defeated

    From MPR News reporter Jess Mador:

    Before a jubilant crowd at St. Paul's River Centre, Our Vote Our Future campaign manager Luchelle Stevens declared victory in the voter ID race.

    She thanked volunteers, saying, "When people said we couldn't, you said yes we can -- and against all odds we did, so thank you."
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  • Minnesotans United manager: "We did this together."

    Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, is addressing supporters tonight after The Associated Press announced that the state's proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman had been defeated:
    This is truly a historic night.

    Minnesota has become the first state in the nation to beat back a freedom-limiting amendment like this.

    Minnesota is now the first state in our country that has faced this question and said "No."

    No to limiting the freedom to marry.

    No to telling some families they are less than others … We did this together.

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  • We are ending our live blog updates. Thanks for joining us. Please look for the latest news at MPRnews.org.
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