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Editorial: Credit the youth vote

  • November 11, 2012 - 5:27 PM

Encouraging postelection data illustrates the huge impact of the youth vote in defeating Minnesota's marriage and photo ID amendments.

An analysis of youth-heavy precincts around the state by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, which lobbied against the amendments and helped organize young voters, found that 79 percent voted "no" on the marriage amendment and 69 percent opposed the photo ID measure.

MPIRG looked at voting in precincts near college campuses in Collegeville, Duluth, Northfield, Mankato, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Morris, St. Cloud, St. Paul and St. Peter.

Regardless of how they stood on the amendments, Minnesotans of all ages should be encouraged that young voters showed up at the polls in high numbers despite predictions that President Obama's re-election bid would not generate 2008-level enthusiasm. For example, MPIRG found that turnout increased more than 8 percent over 2008 in some University of Minnesota precincts.

"It is powerful to see our generation rise up this election cycle to send a strong signal to decision makers: students vote and we reject the divisive politics that was the hallmark of the 2012 elections," Emma Wright, a student at the University of Minnesota and board chair of MPIRG, said in a news release. "We said 'no' to the voter restriction amendment as it would negatively impact tens of thousands of youth voters. We said 'no' to the anti-marriage amendment because this generation doesn't believe in discrimination against loving relationships."

Former state Senate GOP aide Michael Brodkorb recently acknowledged that Republican legislators pushed the marriage measure because they believed it would energize social conservatives.

It likely succeeded in that regard, but it also motivated younger Minnesotans to show up on Nov. 6.

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