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One day more: some last-minute updates on tomorrow’s marriage equality ballot measures

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

As anyone who has been reading this site will know, tomorrow is a huge day for marriage equality, with popular votes in three states regarding equal marriage rights for same-sex couples and a constitutional amendment on the ballot in another than would ban recognition of such rights.  (And, of course, there is the matter of reelecting the most significant pro-LGBT president in American history.)  Here’s a last minute look at some final polling and other news out of the four states that will consider marriage rights in tomorrow’s election.

Washington: On Friday, I wrote about three new polls out of Washington state that showed very promising numbers for Referendum 74.  The most reputable of the three (conducted by the University of Washington) found Referendum 74 leading with a 57.9 to 36.9 percent margin of support amongst likely voters. Importantly, the UW poll also released separate numbers considering voters who might be unwilling to give a so-called “socially undesirable” answer which found 52.3 percent of likely voters supporting the ballot measure and 45.8 percent opposing it. This is a close margin, of course, but support for Referendum 74 has remained above the all-important 50 percent line, so that’s good news.

One very important and unique aspect of Washington’s electoral process is that Washington is an all vote-by-mail state–there is no in-person voting as polling locations.  Furthermore, ballots are counted if they are postmarked by November 6, not if they are received by that day.  What that means is that ballots can come in after Election Day and still be counted in the election.  In some counties (for example, Seattle’s King County), less than half of the total number of ballots that will be received may be turned in by election night.

Nevertheless, there will be an announcement made tomorrow night of the current state of the vote in Washington.  It’s important to remember that that count, by all measures, will probably only be a partial picture of the final state of the election.  County election offices will continue to be updated, probably once daily, and it could take up to a week for the final results to be known.  Long story short: don’t think that tomorrow night’s numbers are the final say on Referendum 74, regardless of which way it falls.

Maine: The Portland Press Herald reported on Saturday that a poll it conducted last week in conjunction with the Maine Sunday Telegram showed Question 1, the marriage equality ballot initiative in that state, leading by a 13-point margin, with 55 percent planning to support the measure and 42 percent opposed to it.  Three percent were undecided.  That’s closer than the 21-point lead the measure held in September, and it’s clear that in Maine (as elsewhere), the final vote will likely be closer than the polls indicate.  Still, that 13-point margin gives supporters of Question 1 a healthy cushion, so it looks like the measure has a good chance to pass.

Maryland: Marylanders for Marriage Equality released its final TV ad on Friday, titled “Maryland, It’s Time,” featuring both President Obama and President Clinton’s support for Question 6.  The ad is running in both Baltimore and D.C.’s media markets, and also features endorsements from the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post, along with NAACP’s chairman emeritus, Julian Bond.  Last Thursday, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters that Question 6 has “a real shot at prevailing” in Maryland tomorrow.

Minnesota: Public Policy Polling’s final poll in Minnesota (from interviews on the 2nd and 3rd of November) found that 52 percent of voters plan on opposing the state’s constitutional amendment on marriage, while 45 percent support it.  The margin of error for the poll was 2.9 percent.  Not surprisingly, PPP found a huge generation gap when it came to the marriage amendment, with seniors supporting it by a margin of 57 to 40 percent, while all other age groups opposed it–for example, those under 30 broke against the amendment, 62 to 36 percent.

One thing that’s important to remember in Minnesota is that, for the marriage amendment to pass, it must garner more than 50 percent of the votes tomorrow.  Because of that, an undecided vote essentially counts as a no vote, and if the final margin is something like 49-47, Minnesota’s constitution will not be amended.  That’s not exactly something to count on, but it does help us a bit in a close race.

There’s going to be a lot of different numbers flying around tomorrow in what will probably be several close races.  We’ll keep our eyes on them and update you as we can when we know how the votes are going.  If you live in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota or Washington, make sure to vote on your state’s marriage measure, and if you live in any of the other 46 states, make sure to get out and vote as well!


  • 1. Todd  |  November 5, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Any of the other 46 states. Unless we've added more since I last counted. :) Thanks for the update!

  • 2. Anthony  |  November 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I don't want to wait a week for the results in WA…this is America, we need to find out tommorow night!

  • 3. Jacob Combs  |  November 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

    What a hilarious and embarrassing typo. Fixed :) Thanks for pointing it out!

  • 4. _BK_  |  November 5, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Crossing my fingers all day tomorrow. Figuratively, of course, but Tuesday could prove to be such a fantastic day for equal rights.

  • 5. Dan  |  November 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Gee, thanks for the lack of a hat tip, Jason Combs. Classy.

  • 6. grod  |  November 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Rick and/or Dave in Maine – but it could apply elsewhere as well. Should the ballot initiative pass, what would be the next step in going forward? One only needs to recall that with Prop 8, issuing California marriage licences was stayed – stopped after Tuesday Nov 4 2008.

  • 7. grod  |  November 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Anthony – Will these last projections help?… G

  • 8. Jonc1959  |  November 6, 2012 at 8:32 am

    My understanding is that the Sec. of State has 10 days to validate the results & then it goes into effect 30 days from that date. There is to decision to be stayed, as in a court case. Marriage Equality would become law in Maine 31 – 40 days from today.

  • 9. jonc1959  |  November 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I should add that opponents COULD try for another ballot initiative to reverse these results, but, hopefully, that would not happen. It would take a lot of signature-gathering & people wouldn't have the stomach for another contest so close on the heels of this one. If Marriage Equality DOES pass in Maine, the best way to keep it from going back to another vote is to live our lives simply & openly & help the voters see that the sky hasn't fallen when boys marry boys & girls marry girls.

  • 10. Jamie  |  November 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Won't ever happen. They would be taking existing rights away from Americans and going against the will of the voters.

  • 11. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  November 7, 2012 at 10:15 am

    […] I wrote the day before the election, Washington has a very unique electoral system that is conducted […]

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