Election Notebook: Donation Requests Packing Inboxes

Last-minute email fund-raising appeals are landing in many Minnesota inboxes by the dozens.

They came from a diverse crowd.

For instance, Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann appealed for an “emergency contribution” to fight back against comments made about her by former President Bill Clinton. On the opposite end of the political spectrum, Garrison Keillor used two proposed constitutional amendments Republicans support to raise money.

“Republican extremists have stuck a couple of claptrap constitutional amendments on the ballot, to deny equal rights to our gay friends and neighbors and to disenfranchise the young, the poor and the elderly with a totally unnecessary voter ID law,” Keillor wrote.

The nationally known public radio variety show host, and long-time Democrat supporter, admitted that his was one of many asking for money: “I know that this is the 9,783rd email you’ve gotten, pleading for money. I got them, too.”

Those Wednesday emails follow release of figures showing the marriage amendment campaigns already have set a record for spending.

The major group against the amendment reported 62,000 contributors, 85 percent from Minnesota, have given almost $10 million. The pro-amendment group reports more than $5 million in donations since the campaign began.

Romney ads coming

Minnesota has not been featured in either major presidential candidate’s campaign, but a group supporting Republican Mitt Romney plans to buy television advertising in the final days of the campaign.

Restore Our Future announced it will spend $1.1 million for putting two commercials on Minnesota stations.

One spot blames Democratic President Barack Obama for middle class economic problems. The other commercial, which the group calls “a positive spot,” tells the story of Romney helping to find his business partner’s 14-year-old daughter after she disappeared in New York City.

‘Like North Dakota’

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills uses North Dakota as an example.

“We need America to turn into what North Dakota has,” he said at a campaign stop. “They’re utilizing a natural resource base.”

He referred to North Dakota’s oil boom, which has made the state the country’s second largest producer.

“The things that you produce from the earth: That’s where wealth comes from,” he said. “It’s a great gift from God and our creator.”

DFL touring state

Top Minnesota Democrats are touring the state as Tuesday’s election nears.

The “Road to Progress” tour kicked off Wednesday.

After hitting some Twin Cities suburbs Wednesday, Thursday stops include the state Capitol, Duluth and Cloquet. On Friday, the tour starts in Red Wing, then heads elsewhere in southeast and south-central Minnesota.

The tour travels to St. Cloud, Willmar, Morris, Moorhead and Mahnomen on Saturday, with Sunday stops in Red Lake, Bemidji, Cass Lake, Grand Rapids and Brainerd.

The tour wraps up Monday back in the Twin Cities.

Polls accessible

Disabled Minnesotans can vote at polling places around the state, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said.

“Polling locations must be fully accessible and provide at least one parking space for persons with disabilities near the accessible entrance and election officials must provide assistance when requested,” Ritchie said.

Every polling place has at least one ballot-marking device to assist the disabled and the elderly.

Voters may request help from an individual of their choice other than an employer, agent of an employer, officer or agent of their union or a candidate for election. A voter also may seek assistance from two election judges who are members of different political parties.

Voters who cannot get into polling places may ask that two election judges take the ballot to their vehicle, Ritchie said.

Also, www.mnvotes.org has a list of organizations that provide rides to polling places.