MN Canvassing Board : Franken By 50 Votes

From the Strib:

The State Canvassing Board today made changes to a handful of withdrawn challenges in the U.S. Senate recount battle and gave DFL challenger Al Franken a net gain of four votes, nudging his unofficial lead to 50.

What's left? The improperly rejected absentee ballots:

The board is meeting in St. Paul, where its five members also will take up the dispute over improperly rejected absentee ballots. . . . The state Supreme Court has ordered election officials, together with the two campaigns, to identify and count absentee ballots that all agree were wrongly rejected. Last week, local election officials submitted 1,346 ballots that they believe were improperly rejected. The campaigns began the process of seeking agreement on a final list Monday. That effort continues today and the rest of this week at regional meetings around the state.

The Minnesota Supreme Court's ludicrous ruling will, without a shadow of a doubt, lead to chaos:

[S]ome of those regional meetings, however, things ground to a halt. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann told the board that in Anoka and St. Louis counties, no absentee ballots were sorted because of disagreement between the two campaigns over the process.

. . ."Things are not going as smoothly as we hoped," Gelbmann told the board.

I'm shocked. Not.

Speaking for me only

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  • Display: Sort:
    Astounding (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by SOS on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:01:58 AM EST
    this country has become so dysfunctional we can not even have clean, fair, and ethical elections.

    And not in Minnesota (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:19:14 AM EST
    means not anywhere . . . as we sadly have learned next door, too.

    Let's see, at a resolution of about four votes per week, with thirteen hundred to go, Minnesota may have a Senator by the next election cycle?:-)


    Disagree (none / 0) (#8)
    by eric on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:40:36 AM EST
    the election was clean, fair and ethical.  The only problems, have been two:  First, 133 ballots in an envelope were misplaced and could not be recounted.  The situation was remedied by using the original count.  Second, some election officials wrongfully excluded some absentee ballots for technical reasons.  There are not many of these, perhaps 1,600 total, and this was simply a case of human error by local election officials.

    There has been absolutely NO evidence of dysfunction, unfairness, or unethical conduct.  Quite the opposite actually, as the full recount shows evidence of a very well executed election.

    This was a close election.  Because it was close doesn't mean anything went wrong.


    What went wrong (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:42:38 AM EST
    imo, was the Supreme Court of Minnesota's decision on the improperly rejected absentee ballots.

    Now the chaos ensues.


    Agreed (none / 0) (#11)
    by eric on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:44:37 AM EST
    that was a bad decision.  Not so much wrong as it was naive to think there would be agreement.  But I am sure it will be revisited.

    Of course it will be revisited (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:45:57 AM EST
    Which is why it was a ridiculous decision.

    Adding (none / 0) (#13)
    by eric on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:46:27 AM EST
    as I posted last week, my wife cast one of the wrongfully excluded ballots in Minneapolis.  We got a call from the Franken campaign and sent in an affidavit.

    and not only that... (none / 0) (#23)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 05:32:53 PM EST
    but disputed ballots were scanned into PDF's and put on the web, so that the whole world could see what these challenges were about.

    Minnesota is to be praised, imho, for being as transparent as possible.


    I've seen this kind of chaos any number of (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:10:44 AM EST

    There was a judge, Judge [insurance company name]*, in a county where I practice who was notorious for resolving civil discovery motions by telling counsel to "go outside in the hall and work it out, and if you can't work it out I'll impose sanctions."

    Needless to say, if counsel would have been able to work it out, they would not have spent the time and money on preparing a motion in the first place.  But Judge [insurance company name] couldn't let that logic pass from outside the Judge's head into the inside.  The quote above was all the decision one would get.  If you pressed, Judge [insurance company name] would shout and threaten contempt sanctions.

    And, of course, this sort of indecision was capitalized upon by defense lawyers representing insurance companies who sought to abuse the discovery system, by withholding discovery that was, in fact, due, and then forcing plaintiffs to beg for what they were entitled to, and in effect bid against themselves.

    That's the kind of stupidity and injustice the Minnesota Supreme Court engaged in when they punted on making a decision and, instead, told the Coleman and Franken campaigns to go out in the hall and work it out.  I lost a lot of respect for them when they decided to emulate Judge [insurance company name]'s style of indecisive decidering.

    * Judge [insurance company name] earned that nickname because said judge had worked as a captive defense lawyer for that company for all but one of the years of that judge's pre-judicial lawyering career.  The last year prior to appointment to the bench was working in a private firm not representing insured defendants, where this future judge learned just enough other parts of the law to be dangerous, and not enough to be good.
    Of course, as a result, this judge had never met an insurance company argument the judge could ever disagree with, while simultaneously not knowing of any plaintiff's argument that passed any muster.  
    Since Judge [insurance company name] has gained 17 or 18 years' judicial experience, everyone knows the drill, which is (1) avoid this judge if at all possible, (2) stick to the form book at all costs, (3) settle.

    Probably cheaper than (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:41:08 AM EST
    the threat here:  if you come back here on anymore discovery motions, I will refer you to a private judge referee.  $$$$$$

    That's gotta be a violation of (none / 0) (#14)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:52:34 AM EST
    the constitutional right of equal access to the Courts, and probably of a public-accommodation law, too.

    You gotta understand, though.  Judge [insurance company name] is not just small [of character], but also petty and vindictive.  Works a good sneer from the bench, too.


    Trial court judge has discretion, under (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:47:17 PM EST
    Rules of Court, to appoint a referee and decide how to apportion the fees between the parties.

    Coleman to Franken: (none / 0) (#4)
    by Faust on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:25:58 AM EST
    If I can't have it you can't either!

    i don't understand... (none / 0) (#5)
    by wasabi on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:33:25 AM EST
    Supposedly the current battle is over ballots that were rejected for reasons OTHER than the 4 accepted reasons by Minnesota law.  Why can't they count all the ballots that were improperly rejected?  Makes no sense to me if the object is to count every vote.

    Counting every vote is not the object (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:38:06 AM EST
    at least for Coleman.

    Counting every Republican vote and no Democratic votes is Coleman's objective.

    Please make a note....


    The Canvassing Board should have been the (none / 0) (#15)
    by WS on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:58:53 AM EST
    ones to decide which ballots were improperly rejected and which weren't.  Allowing the two campaigns to veto which ones are picked is completely nuts.  

    But the MN Supreme Court did say they will use contempt of court if they feel campaign people are frivolously challenging ballots.  

    The uptake has the best coverage on this race so head on over there!


    The canvassing board abdicated (none / 0) (#17)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:50:04 PM EST
    its responsibility, it seems, and then so did the state supreme court.  

    Now, it's a good ol' fashioned 19th-century duel.


    Not at all (none / 0) (#22)
    by WS on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 04:25:14 PM EST
    The Canvassing Board decided to count the improperly rejected ballots, but the MN Supreme Court overruled and created these new conditions.

    Coleman is getting desperate and is trying to cherry pick which ballots to count.  The MN Supreme Court put up a deadline of Jan. 2nd to count these improperly rejected ballots.  Hopefully, the Canvassing Board can certify the winner (Franken) once the last of the votes are added in.      


    Sorry, a St. Paul Pio Press story (none / 0) (#26)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 08:45:34 PM EST
    steered me to a different conclusion.  I have to remember to read both it and the Strib . . . and then give up and just wait to see what the court ultimately decides in this case.  Because it looks like that's where it will be decided, and not soon.

    But the horror if the people of Minnesota do not have a Senator!  Ooops, sorry, that's the Illinois thread. . . .


    The deadline of Jan. 2nd was actually (none / 0) (#29)
    by WS on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 02:52:40 PM EST
    for deciding on the improperly rejected absentee ballot process.  

    The official date for the totals, according to the uptake, is Jan. 5th or the 6th.  


    Soon, certification (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:07:20 PM EST

    Dear MN canvassing board: (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:26:26 PM EST
    Saturday is my birthday.  I'm just saying.

    Well, Happy Birthday (none / 0) (#20)
    by Lil on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 02:38:30 PM EST
    and just in time; I really want to see Franken seated in this new session. Does anyone think that's a possibility?

    More likely than not (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 02:53:48 PM EST
    But I think it won't be on the first day.

    Here's a minor victory, though: Norm's pervious term will have EXPIRED.


    Minnesota media say it's going to court (none / 0) (#27)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 08:46:43 PM EST
    according to recent reports I've read -- going to court no matter which way it comes out this week.

    Of course, a Senator can be seated and then be unseated by a later court decision.


    Hey, ruffian-- (none / 0) (#25)
    by caseyOR on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 06:28:16 PM EST
    Saturday is my sister's birthday, too. Happy Birthday.

    And it's a day celebrated in Paris (none / 0) (#28)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 08:48:36 PM EST
    as the feast day of its patron saint who saved it from starvation, Ste. Genevieve.  So it will be celebrated in the Missouri city of that name, too.

    Don't ask how I know -- Catholic education gets embedded in the brain cells, decades after the nuns fill us up with such significant information.:-)