Trying to predict what voters are going to do is a perilous pastime. Tuesday's choice by Minnesotans to support a record number of educational levies at a time of upheaval and insecurity is a case in point.
Consider three points that might have led soothsayers to have predicted doom and gloom for school districts that were asking residents to dig a little deeper into their pockets and come up with financial support.
-- The nation is beset by an expensive foreign war against terrorism and a rash of internal security threats that include anthrax mailings and concerns that terrorists might blow up bridges or fly planes into the nation's nuclear power plants.
-- The economy has slowed to a snail's pace in many locations and Wall Street is extremely jumpy about the coming year.
-- Minnesotans, who have been used to receiving tax rebate checks, are being told those good times are over in the light of national and international events.
And yet communities such as Brainerd, Crosby-Ironton, Pequot Lakes and others across the state told educators they were willing to invest some of their money in education in the 2001 election.
In the state's sole legislative race, voters in Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties decided to send their first Republican to St. Paul in almost three decades when they elected Little Falls dairy farmer Greg Blaine to fill the unexpired portion of DFLer Steve Wenzel's term.
The Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis each elected new mayors as Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton was defeated by newcomer R.T. Rybak and DFLer Sen. Randy Kelly was the apparent victor over Jay Benanav in a close race.
For most of the nation, it was the first chance for those who were shocked by the tragedies of Sept. 11 to exercise their right to vote. Those who took advantage of the opportunity found that stepping into the voting booth can be every bit as satisfying as flying the flag or wearing flag lapel pins.
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