Two-thirds of Minnesotans would support amending the Minnesota Constitution to protect electronic data from warrantless searches, according to a poll commissioned by advocates for the effort.

The survey of 500 Minnesota voters conducted Feb. 24-25 by Public Policy Polling revealed that 66 percent would support the amendment which would, according to its proposed language would shield “electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects.”

Sixteen percent of respondents would oppose such an amendment, while 18 percent were not sure, according to the poll paid for by Liberty Minnesota and the Republican Liberty Caucus.

Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, lead sponsor of the amendment and a key privacy advocate in the Legislature, is heading a broad coalition in support of the amendment. said he hopes the results will help the measure gain traction in the Senate, where Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, has been reluctant to give the bill a hearing, saying it's redundant in the wake of court rulings that already protect electronic data. Two House committees have signed off on the amendment, with a few more remaining.

“It’s great news,” Petersen said. “If policymakers didn’t already know, this should send a clear message. Hopefully this can add to the momentum that we have going and continue to convince those people sitting on the fence that their constituents really care and are generally concerned about how the state may have access to their personal information.”

Poll respondents who evenly identified as Democrats, Republicans and Independents, shows widespread support for keeping data private, but respondents were evenly split on whether to rein in government surveillance under certain circumstances. Slightly more democrats supported the amendment than Republicans, while 18-29 year olds showed the broadest support for the amendment with 86 percent support.

Petersen said the questions are straightforward, and do well to reflect the public mood when it comes to privacy.

“We used what I think is relatively objective language,” he said.

See the poll results here:

Minnesota Results

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