A few years ago, organized opposition was mounted in churches and among charitable gambling beneficiaries to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment which would permit the Minnesota legislature to create a state lottery. Forty-five days before the election, lottery popularity was slipping in the polls, and all political experts were predicting defeat of the measure. No organized pro-lottery group had yet emerged. Making things more challenging, Minnesota law counts any voter who votes on any ballot item but not on the constitutional amendment question as if they voted "no." Our campaign had to educate supporters that it was important to vote on this issue.
Within that 45 days, Padilla Speer Beardsley created the Proponents of the Lottery Law (POLL) coalition, organized a statewide volunteer network to distribute information, raised the necessary funding, and handled all media communications, public relations and editorial briefings. Radio spots, information distribution through retailers who would eventually sell lottery tickets, and door-to-door canvassing helped build support for the constitutional amendment. PSB created a media information kit and support materials for local proponents which researched the beneficial uses of lottery proceeds in other states. Other information countered the criticism that lotteries prey on the poor by demonstrating that the majority of tickets are purchased by middle and upper income people with full-time jobs and families.
Voters contradicted all political projections by achieving a very high voter turn-out on the issue and 65 percent voted in favor of the lottery amendment. This reflected a 20-point turnaround in the pre-election polls. A very well financed campaign to pass a different constitutional amendment in the 1994 election failed, leaving PSB still holding the distinction of organizing the last successful constitutional amendment campaign in Minnesota.