Photos from the Recount

I was bored today, so I decided to go visit the Minneapolis Ballot Warehouse, where all ballots in the city are (slowly) being recounted. My goal was twofold – one, get as many photographs as possible so I could do a blog post for the Metblog. And two, to get a photograph of a challenged ballot for Wikipedia. Recently, I’ve been contributing to the bulk of the Wikipedia article on the Senate race, and the article would be infinitely sweetened by a few Creative Commons-licensed photographs. By the way, all of these photographs are Creative Commons-licensed, so feel free to steal them and post them as you will – just credit me for them.

Anyways, my trip was only a moderate success. I’ve gotten photographs, but none of them are very interesting. After asking her a few times, the Director of Elections for Minneapolis had refused to allow me access to the contested ballots “as an administrative decision,” meaning she didn’t damn well feel like it. So the only photos of contested ballots I could get were from afar, and even then, the election judges were covering up the parts of the ballot that had the Senate votes so as to foil me.


Your eyes do not deceive you, that is the ballot warehouse for Minneapolis, a monster of a building containing 10 teams of two election judges, one Franken representative, and one Coleman representative each. Not to mention the bulk of the warehouse being dedicated to housing a city’s worth of ballots, ballot transportation units, and ballot counting machines. On top of that, there are election officials, lawyers, observers, and media wandering around in the taped off zones in the center. Busy.


The recount was a fairly smooth endeavor, with election judges gliding through ballots that had been sorted by the machines, and verifying that they were indeed Franken or Coleman votes. Representatives from each campaign were watching intently – if a ballot looked questionable to them, they put it aside, and when the precinct was done, it would be brought over to the challenge table, where volunteers, lawyers, and election judges would duke it out.


The challenge table was made off limits to me and the only other media there today, KARE11 News. This table was usually crowded with volunteers who didn’t belong there, but were just interested to see how the challenges were going down. This was a quiet point where there were only the appropriate people there.


A challenged ballot. As I mentioned, judges were covering up the votes for Senate on contested ballots, but it’s easy to see how this voter may have screwed up. Come on, people, learn to read the instructions. To be fair, though, only 0.06% of all ballots are like this, so there isn’t an alarming number of stupid people in our state. Just enough to throw an election.


This is a bogus ballot being challenged by Franken. If you can see here, the mark for Coleman has been smudged. I’m not sure what the Franken representative might be thinking this could be – perhaps they were trying to smear the ink into Franken’s bubble? Probably not. This is an example of a ballot that will get denied its challenge by the Elections Director, who will be, as you will hear on KARE11 tonight, stopping all frivilous challenges from going up to the State Canvassing Board.

For more photos from the recount, feel free to visit my Flickr album.

1 Comment so far

  1. greg on November 21st, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

    This is a fascinating post. Really cool.

    Btw, do you ever think there’s not much difference between Coleman, Franken and Lizard People?



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