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MN-Senate: Counting Chaos!



The Minnesota Senate race could end up being decided by a few dozen votes. (Photo -- Reuters/Eric Miller)

As the manual recount in the Minnesota Senate race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken nears its conclusion, the identity of the winner is growing increasingly unclear.

Franken's campaign proclaimed Wednesday that by their own calculation they had gone up by 22 votes.

The secretary of State and Star Tribune put Coleman up 303 votes.

The Coleman campaign said (facetiously) they are leading by 2,200 votes in a release in response to Franken yesterday.

What gives?

After several conversations with people far smarter than us on both sides of the aisle, here's our best take on where things stand, the discrepancy in counts and where we go from here.

First, the facts.

By Friday, all 2.9 million (or so) of the votes cast in the race will have been manually recounted. As of today there are roughly 138,000 votes that have yet to be recounted.

The process by which the votes have been recounted is simple: an independent arbiter looks at each ballot (on a precinct by precinct basis) and rules on whether it is a vote for Coleman or Franken. Each campaign has an observer in place at the recount and that observer can challenge the ruling of the independent judge. By and large the voter intent is obvious and the ballot is not challenged but in some cases one side or the other makes a challenge -- typically on the basis that the voter's intent is not clear.

It is these challenged ballots, which number roughly 6,000, that are responsible for the confusion.

The secretary of State's office chooses not to count any of these ballots in its overall vote count -- meaning that when the recount ends on Friday there will be 6,000 or so fewer votes than there were on election day.

The Franken campaign, on the other hand, is counting all 6,000 votes -- using as its standard the judgment of the independent observer. So, if the independent analyst ruled a ballot as a vote for Coleman -- even if Franken is challenging it -- the Franken campaign counts it as a vote for Coleman.

In short: the secretary of State is counting none of the challenged ballots and the Franken campaign is counting all of the challenged ballots. It's that simple.

The fate of the race likely rests in the hands of how these 6,000 challenged ballots shake out. Once the recount ends, a five-person canvassing board is set to meet on Dec. 16 to make final rulings on the remaining challenged ballots.

Our take: This race is about as close to a tie as you can get. But, remember that in politics perception matters and both sides are, smartly, seeking to win the PR battle.

The Coleman campaign is emphasizing that he was ahead on election night and, according to the secretary of State he is ahead in the recount.

The Franken folks stand by their +22 number and believe -- publicly and privately -- that this is a race that will be decided by a few dozen votes.

Remember that the closest Senate race in history -- the 1974 New Hampshire contest between Republican Louis Wyman and Democrat John Durkin -- wound up being litigated by the Senate itself and, eventually, concluded in a re-vote in which Durkin emerged as the winner.

Could we be headed down that road again?

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 3, 2008; 4:38 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Wag the Blog: Hillary's Experience

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Chris:


Do your realize there will be an uproar in this nation if Obama has to withdraw? No one understands the sucession will fall to Biden and no one appears to want to accept that.


It will be bad.


Half the people I talk to feel McCain should get it if Obama is out and half say Hillary should get it.


It is hilarious.


Some people say we have to have a re-election McCain v. Hillary - they all feel that Obama's disqualification applies to Biden too.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 4, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The Franken/ Coleman Race makes it easy to wonder exactly what 633-6000 confused Minnesotans have in their head at substitute of a brain. Its not just this state. There's either a need to address how state citizens don't understand how to use their ballot or how to address their change of mind while in the booth. I was watching Hardball and some of these 'chad' ballots would have better credibility being filled in by chimps. Theres research to prove it too.

Posted by: lucy-fir | December 4, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Ah, recounts. In 1972, I graduated from college in Massachusetts and ran as a Republican for the state senate, against an entrenched Democrat, Senator Joe Ward, in a 4-1 Democrat district that last elected a Republican in 1938. All voting was by paper ballot, which gives a better record than a machine, but creates lots of margin for voter error.

The polls closed at 8 pm. I trailed all night, but slowly caught up, and the last town to come in, Shirley, put me ahead at 6:30 am the next morning—by 9 votes out of over 60,000 cast.

The recount went for weeks. Both sides challenged many ballots. For example, if someone wrote in Mickey Mouse for President, then voted for me for senator, the Ward side challenge it as an identifying mark. It is illegal to identify your ballot, to protect the secret ballot. Otherwise, you could sell your votes, ID your ballot, and poll observers would know how you voted. (Coming soon to union elections.)

One fellow wrote in his own name for every office but state senator, where he voted for me. Of course, that was a challenged ballot. People wrote things like, "They are all crooks," or "Nixon's a bum" (this was the Watergate--McGovern year). All such ballots were challenged, but counted.

Challenged ballots, though counted, were sequestered in case there was a court or senate investigation. I emerged in mid December with a 126 vote lead. Sen. Ward asked the senate to review the challenged ballots and seat him anyway. This had happened in my district in 1938, where a Republican-controlled senate threw out a few challenged ballots and seated the Republican, who was slightly behind after the recount.

The senate president, Senator Kevin B. Harrington, made the call that the senate could not throw out 127 votes and would not review the election, and that I would be seated. I served five terms, winning the next four elections by wide margins, and retired from elective politics undefeated in 1982 at age 36.

The Honorable Kevin Harrington died last week on Thanksgiving at age 79. I'm flying to Massachusetts tomorrow for his funeral. I figure it's the least I can do.

Robert A. Hall
www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com

Posted by: tartanmarine | December 4, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

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Clearly this is a Weak Administration - you have all the Obamaniacs on here claiming that Obama is so smart, blah blah blah


However, read the postings about Hillary on this blog....


The appointments so far have been silly - a group of inexperienced blowhart artists who would be rejected by any human resources department in all the major corporations in the country.


Hillary is not qualified, period.


Richardson's performance at the Department of Energy should BAR HIM from all federal government buildings.


Eric Holder did a horrible job at Justice during his years there - he DOES NOT deserve a promotion to head the Department of Justice - the primary motivation in his appointment appears NOT THAT HE IS THE BEST QUALIFIED PERSON TO BE ATTORNEY GENERAL BUT THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN.


Napolitano may have been a good Governor, of a state with border issues, however let's be serious: DOES SHE HAVE ANY EXPERTISE AT ALL IN SECURITY ISSUES ??? Homeland Security has become a fairly important post and it appears that Obama doesn't know what he is doing appointing someone with so little experience in the actual field of HOMELAND SECURITY.


Rahm Emanuel ? As Chief of Staff? Why doesn't Obama just offer it to Bill Clinton himself. This DOES NOT represent change, and is a little silly to throw back in the faces of all the people who supported Obama in the primaries because they did not want another Clinton administration.


Overall, ONE HAS TO STATE THAT OBAMA HAS SHOWN POOR JUDGEMENT OVERALL IN THESE SELECTIONS - HE DOES NOT EVEN DESERVE A "C" - MORE LIKE A GRADE OF A "D"


Again, thank you for reading the truth.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 4, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

PSSST!
Minnesota mystery box with 133 pieces of paper inside now available to highest bidder -- meet me on Ebay in the Corporate Jet section. Hurry.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | December 4, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

37thOStreetRules:

I'm no lawyer, but the snippet you posted seems to say that Hillary can't be Secretary of State if that office were created between the time she was elected to the Senate and now, or if the emoluments (salary and benefits) of Secretary of State were increased during that time. I know the former condition doesn't hold, and I'm pretty sure the latter doesn't either.

I'm not a supporter of the Democrats or Hillary, but given the myriad options Mr. Obama could have pursued for Secretary of State, I'm quite satisfied with Hillary Clinton being the nominee. But more to the point, I think the Constitution snippet you posted (assuming that's where it came from. I didn't look it up, and it could be a prank from a South Florida radio station) is designed to prevent a member of Congress from creating a cushy job or doubling the Salary for a current job, and then getting themselves appointed to it.

I'll defer to any Constitutional scholars who may be reading this; but it seems to me that you're using as an offensive weapon what was handed down to us as a means of defending our liberty.

Posted by: mark51 | December 4, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Grow up 37thOStreetRules. Obama was born here. Something which is easily checked. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthcertificate.asp


So grow up and stop spreading what you know is a lie.

And Hillary will have resigned before she gets appointed as Sec of State. Her appointment is legal.

All you do with your statements is show your ignorance and hate.

Posted by: MikeOLeary | December 4, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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Pesky document that Constitution isn't it?


Read this


No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.


It appears Hillary can not be Secretary of State.


So NOT ONLY IS OBAMA DISQUALIFIED BECAUSE HE WAS BORN IN KEYNA, HILLARY CAN NOT BE SECRETARY OF STATE.

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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 4, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

37thZero St.Sucks nwrote:
Franken thinks this is a comedy act - if he had any self-esteem he would act more dignified.
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You mean like Bush dancing with the natives in Africa ?

Or pretending he was doing a soft shoe while he waited for another Republican loser ?

Or trying to open a locked door at an international forum ?

Or giving up golf, for Christ's sake, to make the parents of all the soldiers that he killed feel better about losing their kids ?

A comedy act like one of those ?

Moron.

Posted by: dennissuper | December 4, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Why don't both candidates just shut up and let the count proceed as mandated by law? What possible PR advantage could there be in issuing opinions based on incomplete information?

Posted by: DOBRYDN | December 4, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"Minnesota should have a system like in Virginia. If the ballot is mismarked then it is rejected by the ballot reader and the voter can redo his ballot. I remember reading that the Illinois legislature mandated these readers in all of the state except Chicago. Wonder why?"

Actually, we do. The scanners reject the ballot the ballot and the voter can either fix it or push the "accept anyway" button. If they don't know why it was rejected, they can ask a judge for help. Voters can also ask for help if vision problems make it hard to read the directions, or coordination problems make it hard to fill in the oval.

However, many voters don't know they can ask for help, are too proud to ask for help, or maybe they think the scanner is the problem, not the ballot. Also, absentee voters aren't present to correct the problem.

Posted by: eric5 | December 4, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

smokescreen2 wrote:

"This article is unclear. It states "according to the Secretary of State he (Coleman) is ahead in the race". It doesn't state this as a personal quote or explain. The Secretary of State's site itself shows Franken ahead by 11,271 votes. So is this an official quote from the Secretary of State himself and how can he quote something different than what is on his website? The author of this blog is not clear. Could he please clarify?"

I had the same question, which others have also asked in the comments. I noticed, however, that the SoS site only refers to votes cast on election day and the recount of those votes. They don't mention votes cast before election day, which seem to be exempt from the recount for some reason.

I found a site which gives the results the day after election, with 100% of precincts reporting. It shows a higher number of total votes for both candidates, so I assume it includes votes cast before election day and on election day. It shows Coleman ahead by 206 votes. See it at http://content.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/SenateHouseResultsByState.aspx?sp=MN&rti=G&cn=1

Now, how do we make sense of the current numbers on the Sos site, assuming they're not showing votes cast before election day? They show that Coleman lost 2,501 votes if all the challenged votes are not counted (which is the basis for the SoS's current unofficial result, according to the article). The results also show that Franken loses 2,602 votes if all challenged votes are excluded. This amounts to a net loss of 101 votes for Franken, which puts Coleman ahead by 307 votes (206 as of election day plus 101 gained by the recount).

This explains why the SoS currently says Coleman is ahead (excluding challenged votes) despite what their web site shows. But it does not explain why the votes cast before election day seem to be excluded from the recount. Anyone have any idea about that?

And please note that the SoS count is just one way of trying to characterize where things stand today. It doesn't mean anything else. No one knows how the challenges will be adjudicated, so different assumptions are made to try to guess where we are. Franken's campaign assumes all challenges will be adjudicated in favor of the original ruling by the independent recount official. The SoS just ignores the challenged votes in their estimate, assuming the result from them will be a wash. These are both idealized assumptions, and the official result will likely be somewhere in between.

Thus the point of the article still stands. The race is too close to call. Every vote is critical. It all hinges on how the 6,000 challenges are adjudicated.

Posted by: mark51 | December 4, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The predictable RNC is doing its slimy magic and trying to do another "West Palm Beach" in MN. Norm Coleman is a disgusting little man, just another GOP shill. Al Franken would be a breath of fresh air for the state. If the Recount is inconclusive, the only thing to do to be fair to the voters of MN is hold a runoff-type election as in GA. Yes, the Republican party is a minor regional white-supremacist, irrelevant party at this point. May it rest in peace!!

Posted by: JanisL55 | December 4, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

So far there's been one mild personal attack against Coleman (someone called him a "doofus") and about twenty personal attacks about Franken.

Gee, Republicans are mean.

Posted by: mrcoldmiser | December 4, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

This article is unclear. It states "according to the Secretary of State he (Coleman) is ahead in the race". It doesn't state this as a personal quote or explain. The Secretary of State's site itself shows Franken ahead by 11,271 votes. So is this an official quote from the Secretary of State himself and how can he quote something different than what is on his website? The author of this blog is not clear. Could he please clarify?

Posted by: smokescreen2 | December 4, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

mullett writes
"Uh, hello folks, if any of you have actually looked at the Secretary of State website, Franken is ahead,unofficially, by 12000 plus, not 2000 plus.
So it pretty much, unoffically, Franken is the new senator"

Mullett, you've leapt to an invalid conclusion. The SOS website shows recount tallies that have been completed, much like on election night. They still have 10% or more of the vote to finish today & tomorrow. Depending on which precincts are still uncounted, a 12000 vote lead for either candidate could evaporate quite quickly. In my precinct for instance, Franken won 65% of the vote to Coleman's 20% & 14% for Barkley. There are outstate counties that will show similar leads for Coleman over Franken. Unless you know which precincts are uncounted, you don't know who's 'winning'.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 4, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Minnesota should have a system like in Virginia. If the ballot is mismarked then it is rejected by the ballot reader and the voter can redo his ballot. I remember reading that the Illinois legislature mandated these readers in all of the state except Chicago. Wonder why?

Posted by: roscym | December 4, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Having participated in local election challenges with smaller total votes, I can say from experience that in a close vote ["within the so-called "margin-of-error] we never know and cannot ever know who won.

A CPA wag friend once suggested that recounts continue until two consecutive recounts were identical. Think that would be easy? It's not.

bsimon, who lives in MN, suggested yesterday that a GA style run-off would have made more sense, been cheaper, and generated more light than heat.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 4, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

If you are so stupid that you don't know how to fill in a circle by the person you want to vote for then your vote shouldn't be counted. At some point you have to hold the voter responsible and this guessing what they intended is stupid. Also I am getting a little suspicious when votes keep turning up that werent' counted on election day and they always seem to benfit Franken. We are not living in the 70's and the senate won't take this up because even though Reid might want to I am sure that there are enough dems that don't want to get involved in this mess and feel that they have to much on their plates to deal with to make this the big story which it would be. Let MN settle it and if they determine a winner the other one should let it go and move on. Franken is just a mean ugly man and why voters even voted for him shows a great deal of stupidpity and it reminds me of when they voted for Ventura for gov and then had buyers remorse.

Posted by: sque1 | December 4, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Say what you want about which side is more eviler, but we'll never know for sure who won this election. I think we need to use the BCS rankings to break this tie.

Posted by: spidey103 | December 4, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

FayeKane wrote "So what's happening, it seems, is that Franken's people are playing fair, but the repuglicans are up to their same old mafia-like evil."

Seriously? What are you, 10? Grow up, and then you can come join the adults talking about grownup things.

Posted by: Laskdjf2001 | December 4, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

If the canvasing board chooses a winner, then the loser should bow out then. I think both men have a claim and the right to keep fighting, but after a recount you have to let it go or you run the risk of looking like a sore-loser.

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 4, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

They should either have a run off or let it be decided by the Senate next Jan which i think woulcome down to Joe Biden as Vice President?

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | December 4, 2008 6:50 AM | Report abuse

"The Franken campaign is upfront that their number is their best guess, based on the assumption challenges will be overturned and the local officials' decisions will stand. Coleman is claiming the Franken number is just made up. Eventually, there will be a real number, but there isn't yet. The Franken campaign has been culling challenges, meaning they're withdrawing ones they feel sure will be rejected."

Its just different assumptions. The Franken campaign is making the assumption that all the challenges will be rejected. I'm not sure if he is counting challenges to include ballots that were originally rejected. From this point of view, the candidate who has challenged fewer ballots is at an "advantage" since he is likely to get more ballots added back once the challenges are thrown out.

The reality is that some of the ballots are going to be thrown out. How many? I don't know. However, this vote is REALLY close, and a few tossouts can make a difference.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 4, 2008 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Chris explained the question of challenged ballots very clearly. The Franken campaign is upfront that their number is their best guess, based on the assumption challenges will be overturned and the local officials' decisions will stand. Coleman is claiming the Franken number is just made up. Eventually, there will be a real number, but there isn't yet. The Franken campaign has been culling challenges, meaning they're withdrawing ones they feel sure will be rejected. The Coleman campaign says they'll wait until the counting is done, so their number is going to appear to jump.

Since challenges are expected to be a wash, the deciding factor will be the wrongly rejected absentee ballots. Thousands were rejected, but some unknown number were rejected due to election worker error. Franken has been seeking to have these wrongly rejected ballots counted, and Coleman is trying to keep them out. No one can know who those ballots would help.

Posted by: eric5 | December 4, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Dear LP,

Your grammatical glass house is rather susceptible. Allow me to cast a few stones.

Your paragraph:
"This happens every day. It is egregious and unacceptable. As a consequence, I have stopped reading an article, these days, after the first second grade grammatical error."

Is properly rendered:
This happens every day. It is egregious and unacceptable. As a consequence, I stop reading an article, these days, after the first second-grade grammatical error.

The hyphen between "second" and "grade" is required for clarity. Your version is not a mistake, grammatically speaking, it's just sloppy.

The use of "have stopped" is simply wrong. These days, you stop reading an article in which you find a second-grade error. Not "have stopped".

If you insist on using "have stopped," the sentence could be rendered thus: I have stopped finishing articles in which I find a second-grade grammatical error.

Back to your grammar primer you go.

Posted by: eddymac99 | December 3, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

LP - You are correct, but rather than affecting a smug demeanor, how about a simple note? Correct usage of the comparative is hardly "basic grammar".

Still. Give yourself two stars and a pat on the back. While you're doing that, you should probably note that you have failed to distinguish between the print edition (where there is actually time to check grammar) and on line.

Yes yes yes. You're smarter than a 2nd grader. Just not as cute.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 3, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Uh, hello folks, if any of you have actually looked at the Secretary of State website, Franken is ahead,unofficially, by 12000 plus, not 2000 plus.
So it pretty much, unoffically, Franken is the new senator

Posted by: mullett | December 3, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that a newspaper as well respected as the Washington Post can publish an article with no regard to the basic rules of English grammar?

To wit: "After several conversations with people far smarter than us on both sides of the aisle, here's our best take on where things stand, the discrepancy in counts and where we go from here."

Please! The word 'than' takes the Nominative case as in 'We.'

This happens every day. It is egregious and unacceptable. As a consequence, I have stopped reading an article, these days, after the first second grade grammatical error.

LP

Posted by: perez59 | December 3, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

After reading comments by DDAWD refering to: "the person who circled the guide for the optical scanner (across from Franken's name), placed a check mark next to Franken's name, but ignored that little oval next to Franken."

And the one by Jontorrence refering to:

"due to the discovery that 171 ballots had not previously been counted", it is becoming more and more apparent that both voters and poll workers should be tested to prove their competentence before they are even allowed onto the property.

Posted by: joealan | December 3, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

"So what's happening, it seems, is that Franken's people are playing fair, but the repuglicans are up to their same old mafia-like evil. They're arbitrarily challenging lots of votes which the independent observer said were for Franken,not because there is anything wrong with them, but just because they were for Franken.

THESE VOTES ARE THEN DISCARDED even though an independent observer said they were for Franken! Thus, the 'uglies can arbitrarily neutralize any number of votes just by challenging them."

Dude, do you HONESTLY think that votes are thrown out just because Coleman wants them out?

Idiot.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Please, please, please let the dufus, a failed Dem comedian win. How much better can it be than that we have a rebirth of the Clinton Administration than that we also have the same state that gave us Jesse Venture bring forth a loony failed comedian as a Senator!!!

Bring back Sonny and Cher!! Please. Reincarnate Reagan. We need as many lousy entertainment types as possible on Capitol Hill!

Cause the joke is on us.

Please. Bailout out some more billionaires. Let bailout money go for spa sessions. Let Morgan Stanley raise Chicago parking to $6.50 an hour and have complete foreign ownership of our highways.

We need to complete the Dem-Repub splitting of America into rich and poor. No middle class. Private schools for the rich. Dingy public housing and schools for the rest of us.

A complete two-tiered America.

Al Franken. D-MN. Ha. Jeaneeus. Shear jeaneuss. From the "Minnesota nice" folks.
Yet again.

A true Third World state, Barack Obama, Emperor for Life! A Limousine Liberal Country Club Conservative Production. Brought to you by the Masters of Our Universe, Government Sachs Inc.

Posted by: wpfree | December 3, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Why does there remain so much interest in the Republican Party?

Let's face it. the GOP has been reduced to regional party dominated by white men.

To call the GOP a national party is an oxymoron.

Posted by: bobnsri | December 3, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Coleman was a staunch supporter of the Republican pary and a true believer in Republican philosophy. Ironic a member of the vote suppression party might win by recounting a record turnout.
Regardless, Coleman still represents a failed political/economic/social philosophy and even if re-elected, will be easy to defeat after six enlightened years of Democrat governance. Let Minnesota suffer the cash shortage from their inability to loot the public coffers and this disgusting little man will be as gone as Ted Stevens.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | December 3, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

==================
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OHHHH, no they don't!

Apparantly the system is set up so that either observer can challenge any vote, and those votes are not counted. But for some reason, coleman's people challenge as LOT of votes.

So what's happening, it seems, is that Franken's people are playing fair, but the repuglicans are up to their same old mafia-like evil. They're arbitrarily challenging lots of votes which the independent observer said were for Franken,not because there is anything wrong with them, but just because they were for Franken.

THESE VOTES ARE THEN DISCARDED even though an independent observer said they were for Franken! Thus, the 'uglies can arbitrarily neutralize any number of votes just by challenging them.

We can't let the repuglicans get away with stealing another election.

The dems need to stop playing nice guy with these immoral thieves. They need to undo the 'uglican gerrymandering and fix the laws to prevent an 'uglie challenge to legitimate votes, just to neutralize those democratic voters who didn't fill in the form right but who made their choice known..

-- faye kane, homeless brain
See more of my smartmouth opinions at http://blog.myspace.com/fayekane

Posted by: FayeKane_HomelessSmartypants | December 3, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

As one who has wrestled with the confusion of minor recounts on a county level, I admire the calm, controlled manner in which Minnesota has managed this major recount on a state-wide level. I am very much impressed with the optical scanners as voter counters. And I am even more impressed with the way the paper ballot has performed in the manual recount. I have serious doubts that touch screen machines would be performing in a similar manner. The paper ballots associated with the optical scanner is independent of the computer. On the other hand, the paper trail associated with touch screen voting machines is generated by the computer and since the machines have been demonstrated to be hackable, they might be affected by accidental mistakes or intentional manipulation of the vote totals. Minnesota has set a high standard for other states to meet in their election machinery.

I have to observe that most comments by partisans are just attempts to irritate the other side and will have no effect on the final winner.

Posted by: Thependulumswings | December 3, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse


If Franken does actually count the votes and realized he lost, maybe he could go work with Obama -


OH WAIT


Franken was not in the Clinton administration so he is disqualified from working with Obama, right?


Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 3, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

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Franken thinks this is a comedy act - if he had any self-esteem he would act more dignified.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 3, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"Some of these are 95-99% clear, no matter which candidate you support. Count 'em, tell us who won, and start fixing the country."

The SOS not including the challenged ballots is just a procedural thing. They will be counted once the judges start looking at them. The vast majority of the challenged ballots will eventually be included in the totals. (also, there are ballots that are initially discarded which the campaigns are challenging to have them put back in)

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1, much thanks for the link. It really helped me understand the process. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2008/11/19_challenged_ballots/

Clearly, just because either camp challenges a ballot doesn't mean it should not be included. Some of these are 95-99% clear, no matter which candidate you support. Count 'em, tell us who won, and start fixing the country.

Some

Posted by: amaikovich | December 3, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

One can not get too much more disingenuous than Coleman. He supported Bush up and down the line and when it became a liability to do so he could not have run away faster were he Usain Bolt.

Is this really who the people of Minn. want to represent them? If so they deserve him and Saxby as well.

Wake up America, at heart, these are not good people.

Posted by: coverrisk | December 3, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

As of 8PM last night 12/02/08 Franken was ahead according to the Minn. Secy of State's official Web Site. I wonder why CC says Coleman leads? I would love for him to respond.

Posted by: coverrisk | December 3, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Franken will win.

Coleman is a total doofus.

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 3, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I just want to encourage people to watch a podcast about the 1963 Recount in the race for Governor of Minnesota. Thanks.

http://discussions.mnhs.org/collections/2008/11/1963-andersen-%E2%80%93-rolvaag-election-recount-2/

Posted by: llwilliamson | December 3, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I just want to encourage people to watch a podcast about the 1963 Recount in the election for Governor of Minnesota.

http://discussions.mnhs.org/collections/2008/11/1963-andersen-%E2%80%93-rolvaag-election-recount-2/

Thanks.

Posted by: llwilliamson | December 3, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

What about the numbers on the MN SoS site: http://electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/20081104/SenateRecount.asp

Franken is ahead by 2623 with 92.7% recounted.

Posted by: mbc2000 | December 3, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, bsimon. That was a cool link. Some of those are truly ambiguous. Franken is assuming that 100% of the challenges are frivolous. The reality is that 99.99% of them are frivolous. I can see some of those ballots being rejected, especially the ones with signatures.

In a race where the two candidates are separated by 25 votes, that 0.01% might be huge.

But yeah, some people are really stupid, especially the person who circled the guide for the optical scanner (across from Franken's name), placed a check mark next to Franken's name, but ignored that little oval next to Franken. The intent is clear, so the vote should be counted, but wow, that was stupid.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

counting challenged ballots?? - you do what you must. the result of challenged voters. If the state is evenly split on electing stuart smalley the buffoon,perhaps an adult intervention is apt. Or cede them to Canada, the land of loons.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 3, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Correction: later reports now have that as a 36 vote net loss for Franken in one Minneapolis precinct today. Unless I've misunderstood and the earlier reports were describing a net loss occurring in more than just that one precinct, that suggests that Franken is behind by 14 votes plus or minus whatever other changes occurred during the recount today.

Posted by: jontorrance | December 3, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

direct link to a challenged ballot story, including ballot images:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2008/11/19_challenged_ballots/

that story has links to two more stories (with more pics).

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 3, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"How recent are these results? Last I heard, Coleman was winning even if all the challenged ballots were counted."

The MN Secretary of State's office announces the latest numbers at 8 PM, Central, every night. As The Fix notes, the SOS does not include challenged ballots, while the Franken campaign does. If the challenged ballots aren't counted, Coleman is still ahead. But the margin is a couple hundred votes, while six thousand are in the 'challenge' pile.

For detailed info on the chaos to which The Fix alluded, various MN news sources have detailed info on what kinds of ballots end up in the challenge pile.

startribune.com
mpr.org
minnpost.com

Both the Strib & MPR have ballot images that demonstrate how collossally inept some voters are at filling in ovals.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 3, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD:

I'll assume your question was genuine. My understanding is the Franken camp's claim that their count had them ahead by 22 votes applied as of the end of recount activity on Tuesday. It therefore included the net gain of 37 votes for Franken in Maplewood yesterday due to the discovery that 171 ballots had not previously been counted there but does not include the reported net loss for Franken of 44 votes in Minneapolis today or any other recount activity today. Since no one else seems to be keeping track of the initial rulings on challenged ballots, we have little choice but to wait for the Franken camp to update their tally in order to be pretty sure where the recount stands, though it seems reasonable to assume it's in the neighbourhood of Franken being behind by 22 votes as of the end of today.

Posted by: jontorrance | December 3, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"I'm a bit confused--nothing in your story suggests chaos. Quite the opposite given it is a slow laborious process taking place.

Everything is going according to Minnesota law so why are you trying to hype it into some sort of controversy?"

Newspaper people are obsessed with alliteration. I think that has 90% to do with the title.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

clearly that moron Franken will do any matter of idiotic and obscene activities before, during and after the election. Coleman has been too kind to this nitwit.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 3, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"By the way DDAWD you are smoking pot. Rotten repugnicant party pot to be exact. There is no way in hell Coleman wins. There is no way in hell he can be winning with the disputed ballots counted. You are spreading propaganda. The story said Franken is counting the disputed ballots that independent observers give Coleman as Coleman's. You are an idiot plain and simple."

Dude, you are deranged. This is a recount, not a revote. What the hell is the point of propaganda?

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

By the way DDAWD you are smoking pot. Rotten repugnicant party pot to be exact. There is no way in hell Coleman wins. There is no way in hell he can be winning with the disputed ballots counted. You are spreading propaganda. The story said Franken is counting the disputed ballots that independent observers give Coleman as Coleman's. You are an idiot plain and simple.

Posted by: Henry_of_BrowardCounty | December 3, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit confused--nothing in your story suggests chaos. Quite the opposite given it is a slow laborious process taking place.

Everything is going according to Minnesota law so why are you trying to hype it into some sort of controversy?

Posted by: archpundit | December 3, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

It's not a surprise that the disqualified or contentious ballets would be for Franken. Anyone so dumb they couldn't even vote properly is certainly a Franken voter.

Posted by: pgr88 | December 3, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I really hope this goes to the courts and that Al Franken is declared the winner. The repugnant party has stolen enough elections in this country. Since the idiotic supreme court hung idiot george around our necks, the repugnant party cannot be against the courts now giving us Al as the winner right? What was good once must surely be good again. Payback is a b!atch!!

Posted by: Henry_of_BrowardCounty | December 3, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA's CO-OPT CITY: MAKING SENSE OF HILLARY AS SEC/STATE

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/obamas-co-opt-city-making-sense-hillary-secstate

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 3, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

How recent are these results? Last I heard, Coleman was winning even if all the challenged ballots were counted.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 3, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I guess this shows the benefit of having run-off elections. While they may be a little more expensive, at least it gives a chance to have a clearer outcome.

Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | December 3, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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