Posts Tagged ‘Coleman’

Ann Coulter: Wrong on Minnesota

As Al Franken’s lead expands past 250 as of this writing, watch as Norm Coleman supporters begin downplaying the importance of the unofficial margin that they have been trumpeting for a month and a half now. Not an observation, but a prediction. You don’t need to source predictions.

I will source, however, the evidence against Ann Coulter’s claims made in her articles about the Minnesota Recount (12/15, 12/17). Specifically, she’s dubiously cited the following instances as evidence of vote fraud, when indeed it’s just shit that happens after elections: 100 mystery ballots in Mt. Iron, 133 missing Dinkytown ballots, 100 typo’d ballots, and 32 absentee ballots left in a car. None of these instances were vote fraud, and anyone who tells you that they are is lying or has something to sell.

Indeed, Coulter and her ilk are trying to sell you on the idea that any post-election fluctuations are unlikely, that recounts are dangerous because it only gives the Democrats a second chance to steal the election, and that Secretary of State Mark Richie has been bought and paid for by George Soros. But worst of all, she wishes you to believe that Minnesota’s electoral process is as corrupt as Illinois and as broken as Florida. For her to say any of this with a straight face, she’d have to be completely ignorant of the multipartisan State Canvassing Board that has been running the recount, of the armies of observers who watched every single vote get recounted, and of the fact that Minnesota has gone so far as to scan and publish online every single challenged ballot.

And you know what? She probably is.

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?

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.

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