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St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt, left, listens Sept. 18 as another speaker addresses an ecumenical gathering of clergy at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul to demonstrate their unity in favor of the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment. Nienstedt's archdiocese is leading the effort in raising most of the money in support of the amendment which goes to the voters in the November general election. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Local voters split on constitutional amendments as tally shows Beltrami County preferences

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Local voters split on constitutional amendments as tally shows Beltrami County preferences
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI – Strong voter turnout at Beltrami County precincts led to results trickling in late Tuesday and early Wednesday.


A look at the complete, unofficial tallies show local voters sided with nearly all of the candidates elected for federal offices.

But Beltrami County voters split on the two constitutional amendments on the ballot, most notably favoring the proposal to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, there were an estimated 22,189 voters in the county. By 7 a.m. Election Day, there were 24,658 voters registered, and reports of many more who registered at the polls.

On Tuesday, Minnesota became the first state to reject a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. In Beltrami County, though, there were 11,334 “yes” votes, compared to 10,563 “no” votes and 292 blank votes, which count against as a no vote.

The estimated percent of “yes” votes in the county was 51.1 percent.

For the voter ID amendment, the county followed suit with the rest of the state. There were 10,078 “yes” votes, compared to 11,755 “no” votes and an estimated 356 blanks. The estimated percent of “yes” votes in Beltrami County was 45.4 percent.

In the presidential race, local voters favored President Barack Obama, who collected 53.6 percent of ballots in the county, over challenge Mitt Romney, who received 43.7 percent of votes. Obama easily carried Minnesota on his way to earning a second term in the White House.

Likewise, Sen. Amy Klobuchar received 63.8 percent of the county vote on her way to a second term, while Rep. Collin Peterson, who represents the 7th Congressional District, collected 68.3 percent of ballots in Beltrami County. Bemidji’s Adam Steele collected 593 votes – or 4.4 percent – of the county’s ballots in finishing a distant third.

But local voters slightly favored Rep. Chip Cravaack over challenge Rick Nolan, who won an upset bid over the incumbent. In Beltrami County, just 60 votes separated the candidates, with Cravaack receiving 50.3 percent of ballots cast to Nolan’s 49.5 percent.

In Minnesota’s Supreme Court races, the incumbents all won re-election. Tim Tingelstad of Bemidji won the Beltrami County vote, though, in his bid to oust David Stras.

Tingelstad received 53.6 percent of the county’s ballots in the race. With 99.6 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Stras had a commanding lead with 55.9 percent of the overall vote. 

Steve Wagner
Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several newsroom roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and cops/court reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His experience includes extensive reporting related to Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with projects about immigration, the fatal 2002 train derailment in Minot, N.D., and the 20th anniversary of Gordon Kahl's massacre of U.S. marshals. Wagner also worked as a reporter at newspapers in the Twin Cities and Iowa. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.
(701) 780-1104