Minnesota Supremes: Please Help!

On page one of today’s Star Tribune, reporter Richard Meryhew opines on a point about the Senate recount that I have been harping on for some time. First, that the automatic hand recount is really a good thing, because it puts Minnesota’s much praised election system to the test. Do our voting machines work? Are the Election Night counts accurate? In short, can we trust our elections to be fair?

The answer, by and large, seems to be “yes.” Although some human errors were made in counting and securing ballots, the system seem to work pretty well. One big exception is the absentee ballots — something is clearly wrong when as many as 1,600 ballots that should have been counted are wrongfully rejected.

I’m hoping the the Minnesota Supreme Court will look beyond the narrow questions raised by the Coleman legal team and look to the larger — and more important — issue of fixing this problem as soon as possible, either by ruling from the bench, or directing the SOS or Legislature to pass new rules or laws for absentee voting. I think the simplest and best solution is to simply adopt an “early voting” mechanism, as other states have. What do you think?

7 Comments so far

  1. mnblrmkr on December 18th, 2008 @ 9:39 am

    Don’t count on it bob. Supreme courts generally prefer to issue rulings on as narrow of grounds as possible.

    Of course, I do agree that the issues need to be addressed by the legislature. Even if they were to punt it to a "blue ribbon" committee for action.

    From Ritchie’s comments on Almanac last week (esp. regarding absentee requirements), I expect that he will take the issue to the legislature himself this next session.

    I do think that the State Canvassing Board should be given the authority to either review rejected absentee ballots themselves, or directly order the county boards to undertake the review.


  2. Robert Moffitt (justpbob) on December 18th, 2008 @ 9:49 am

    As there is a good chance that this may end up in their lap anyway, I was hoping the justices might make the call now. I also think that they are the one player in the game who can make the decision without being accused (as much) of being partisan.

    As for the absentee ballots, I find the idea that they were "not cast" because they were wrongfully not counted to be absurd. The voters "cast" them, it was the local election officials who failed to make the catch. These are not new votes, but rather "missplaced" ballots that should have been in the mix, but were not due to human error.

    Count ’em! Let the chips fall were they may.


  3. mnblrmkr on December 18th, 2008 @ 7:54 pm

    Well, they weighed in this afternoon, Bob. Probably not the kind of help you were hoping for.


  4. Robert Moffitt (justpbob) on December 19th, 2008 @ 7:39 am

    Tru dat. Count the votes, but only if BOTH candidates in a bitter recount agree. Huh?

    At least Barkley doesn’t get consulted on the absentee ballots.


  5. mnblrmkr on December 21st, 2008 @ 1:17 am

    And that is right after they say that the boards DON’T have the authority to correct the mistakes.

    Giving the campaigns the authority to say which ballots get to be counted opens up the window for to many shenanigans.


  6. Robert Moffitt (justpbob) on December 22nd, 2008 @ 7:52 am
  7. Robert Moffitt (justpbob) on December 29th, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

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