Minnesota Recount: Getting around the safeguards

posted at 5:30 pm on November 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier, I wrote that Minnesota has a good, solid voting system based on the optical-scan ballot.  The system allows precincts to remove human intervention in the count, electronically transmitting the totals from each precinct to the Secretary of State while printing its totals locally for the judges to sign and publicly post.  Not only should that make the results reliable, but the nature of optical-scan ballots makes it easy for recounts, either by machine or by hand.

That is, unless human intervention happens anyway (via Power Line):

Just as Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was explaining to reporters the recount process in one of the narrowest elections in Minnesota history, an aide rushed in with news: Pine County’s Partridge Township had revised its vote total upward — another 100 votes for Democratic candidate Al Franken, putting him within .011 percentage points of Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.

The reason for the change? Exhausted county officials had accidentally entered 24 for Franken instead of 124 when the county’s final votes were tallied at 5:25 Wednesday morning.

Is this legitimate?  A few precincts do not use the optical-scan ballot, and apparently Patridge Township is one of them.  Leaving off a digit in a vote count can happen when tallying by hand.  Still, as the days wore on this week, all of those “corrections” appeared to be going in a single direction — towards Franken.

John notes that human intervention appears to have occurred despite the optical-scan system:

Hot off the press, the first apparent evidence of fraud. Last night at around 7:30, a precinct in Mountain Iron, St. Louis County, mysteriously updated its vote total to add 100 new votes–all 100 for Barack Obama and Al Franken.

Mountain Iron uses optical scanning, so the Coleman campaign asked for a copy of the tape documenting the ballots cast on election night. St. Louis County responded by providing a tape that includes the newly-added 100 votes, and is dated November 2–the Sunday before the election. St. Louis County reportedly denies being able to produce the genuine tape from election night, even though Minnesota law, as I understand it, requires that tape to be signed by the election judges and publicly displayed.

The irony is that the Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, won election in 2006 after (unfairly) accusing then-incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer of partisanship in her administration of elections.  Ritchie won with the help of MoveOn and the support of ACORN.  Now we will see whether Ritchie means what he says about nonpartisanship, or whether we will see fraud determine the outcome of an election in a state reknowned for its clean operation in elections.  So far, it doesn’t look very good for Minnesota.


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Coleman is ahead by less than 300 votes.

Wethal on November 7, 2008 at 7:16 PM

>>>>>>>>

And when does the fishing expedition officially end? When Coleman is behind by 1? Sounds like 2000 in Florida all over again.

justincase on November 7, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Is there any question in anyone’s mind Franken will be declared the winner?

Wade on November 7, 2008 at 7:27 PM

Ellie Mae on November 7, 2008 at 6:42 PM

Read what I wrote: I wished Bad Things on those who voted for Franken, and still do: higher taxes, more govt intervention, etc

So, read this real slow: To those of you in Minnesota who voted for Franken, may your lives turn to Sh+t

The same applies to all Dem voters, but Dems in the 10,000 Leakes get Special Attention

Janos Hunyadi on November 7, 2008 at 7:29 PM

And when does the fishing expedition officially end? When Coleman is behind by 1? Sounds like 2000 in Florida all over again.

justincase on November 7, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Yes, it will end when they jimmie the results to make Fraken the winner.

Wade on November 7, 2008 at 7:29 PM

It’s a real pain when you don’t stuff enough ballots on election day and have to add a few more later.

jerseyman on November 7, 2008 at 7:41 PM

the same thing is happening in my congressional district (5th) in virginia. the democrat keeps “finding” votes in liberal, academia (charlottesville–home of UVA)to win. just this morning, the dem was 26 votes behind. now he’s several hundred ahead.

kelley in virginia on November 7, 2008 at 7:44 PM

This sounds like a Liberal Kabuki dance!

If Stuart gets his magic number,is their any
way a investigation can be launched?

The DNC want it all,their in a scorch earth
mode!

canopfor on November 7, 2008 at 7:49 PM

Where are all the self-important blowhards like Jimmy Carter, who routinely jet around the globe to “monitor” elections in backward places like Haiti, Nicaragua and Liberia? Aren’t our stewards of Democracy concerned about their own electoral process? Where’s the indignation for ACORN voter fraud when it comes to the left? What about the civil rights violations of honest voters who may see their franchise diluted by multiple voters registered by ACORN? There are too many who are strangely silent about ACORN voter fraud–including
one of their number one proponents: His Eminence, Obama.

Sgt. Hartman on November 7, 2008 at 7:55 PM

I’m not laying claim to any title for our Minnesota voter stupidity nor casting aspersions at other states, but don’t forget we also elected the man Time hailed as “Governor Goofy” long before we elected “Jesse The Clown”.

BadDogMN on November 7, 2008 at 8:18 PM

You guys will think I’m crazy about this one, but for some reason, I’ll be more angry about this loss than the Presidential election. I’m not a Minnesotan, but I despise Al Franken. He personifies everything I despise about the Left; bullyish, arrogant, condescending. His whole career has been built on mocking others while coming up with no ideas of his own. He’s like the b#$@tchy wife at a dinner party that only speaks up when she’s shooting her husband down or mocking him.

And beyond Franken, the thought of the Dems being so scorched earth that they have to annihilate the competition to the point that they rape and pillage to do so, is infuriating to me. The injustice of them cheating at all costs so this assclown can be elected is enraging to me.

What ever scrap of dignity and self-respect left after this election cycle has pulverized us, we should be descending on Minnesota like the holy hounds of hell. Do it for me, please!

ebbtide on November 7, 2008 at 8:18 PM

Voters decide nothing. Vote counters decide everything – Stalin

RegularJoe on November 7, 2008 at 8:23 PM

Well, conservatives tend to have the fear of God in their lives most of the time. Our character is what puts us in a different category than the liberals. However, that character also allows for us to be taken advantage of by those without scruples.

carbon_footprint on November 7, 2008 at 8:24 PM

Wait!! Could this explain how MN went for Mondale in 2004??

RegularJoe on November 7, 2008 at 8:30 PM

all 100 for Barack Obama and Al Franken.

So not a single McCain voter voted for Franken, nor a single Obama voter voted for Coleman out of this sample of n=100.

INCONCEIVABLE. And I know what that means.

HerrMorgenholz on November 7, 2008 at 8:30 PM

Voters decide nothing. Vote counters decide everything – Stalin

RegularJoe on November 7, 2008 at 8:23 PM

I always thought the quote was: “It’s not the man that votes that counts, it’s the man that counts the votes”.

Distinction, difference, have at it….

HerrMorgenholz on November 7, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Are the original ballots, after scanning, not saved in a manner to allow them to be re-scanned in the light of day?

If not, why not?

This is surreal.

hillbillyjim on November 7, 2008 at 8:35 PM

I smell more fraud here, just like the voter fraud ACORN executed to steal the election and contribution fraud the Hussein zombies knew was going on to bleed $600M from its tools.

madmonkphotog on November 7, 2008 at 8:47 PM

Anyone willing to bet even up on Coleman?

The squishy love for Minnesota by Ed and the Powerline blokes is touching but pathetic. Are there any Republicans that understand how hardball actually works?

My money says Ritchey lets them count until Franken wins and then closes it down. They’ll steal it just like they did in Washington from Rossi leaving Ed standing there exclaiming, “Outrageous”.

Scoreboard.

rcl on November 7, 2008 at 8:52 PM

hillbillyjim

Yes, all ballots are kept, after polls close , they are counted, then sealed and signed by two judges

MNDavenotPC on November 7, 2008 at 9:04 PM

And when does the fishing expedition officially end? When Coleman is behind by 1? Sounds like 2000 in Florida all over again.

justincase on November 7, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Oh come on now, democrat methods are pretty predictable. The trick is to get the process out of the precincts and into the courts. Any sitting judge in Minnesota would hand the senate to Franken in a heartbeat.

Franken’s got this thing in the bag.

jeff_from_mpls on November 7, 2008 at 9:04 PM

rcl….

yeah I know how to play hardball….. and I live in MN. we few who can kick you in the balls then drink a beer while you cry may be few but we’re here. We’re talking , and things are going to change.

MNDavenotPC on November 7, 2008 at 9:06 PM

Wouldn’t it be awesome if they did catch the democrat fraud operatives red handed?

I’d love to see that perp walk, the orange jumpsuit, a pair of unidentified left hands struggling to cover up the camera.

jeff_from_mpls on November 7, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Janos Hunyadi on November 7, 2008 at 7:29 PM

My apologies. I did read it to fast.

Ellie Mae on November 7, 2008 at 9:10 PM

hillbillyjim

Yes, all ballots are kept, after polls close , they are counted, then sealed and signed by two judges

MNDavenotPC on November 7, 2008 at 9:04

Thx, Dave. This shouldn’t be that hard to resolve if the chain of custody of the original ballots has been kept intact and transparent.

hillbillyjim on November 7, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Thx, Dave. This shouldn’t be that hard to resolve if the chain of custody of the original ballots has been kept intact and transparent.

hillbillyjim on November 7, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Should have put “verifiable” in there somewhere.

hillbillyjim on November 7, 2008 at 9:20 PM

hillbillyjim
I know what you meant and it can be verified… that’s what makes this soooo smelly… we have so many redundancies to avoid this… it had to be an “inside” job.

MNDavenotPC on November 7, 2008 at 9:28 PM

I agree, Dave. It stinks to high heaven.

hillbillyjim on November 7, 2008 at 9:42 PM

It really stinks when every single “error” points in the same direction. If they were legitimate errors some would go one way and some the other. That every single error is always in Frankin’s favor does indeed stink.

crosspatch on November 7, 2008 at 9:54 PM

ebbtide on November 7, 2008 at 8:18 PM

you’re dead on, not crazy. This is the Bizzaro World….

Janos Hunyadi on November 7, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Didn’t we see this in the last gubernatorial race in Washington?

ClintACK on November 7, 2008 at 10:25 PM

And thus begins the next installment of “Election-rigging 101″…

There *has* to be something that can be done. This is like watching a thief rob your home, he SEES YOU watching him, knows there’s nothing you can do, you little panzy, and he helps himself to another armful of your stuff.

We’re watching a robbery in slow motion, in broad daylight, and we’re relying on DNC-affiliated trial lawyers and the (snort) good faith of elected Democrats to put a stop to this fraud?

This infuriates me more than the loss of the White House. This isn’t how a senate seat is lost – this is how an entire country is lost.

SCI-FI on November 7, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Ed: Anyone who ever lived in Northern Minny will confirm that if an election official ANYWHERE on the Iron Range ever undercounted DFL ballots he would wake up with a horse’s head in his bed. The idea that any Ranger election judge sent a DFL undercount to St. Paul is laughable. There is a better chance of Tim Pawlenty being abducted by space aliens during the State of the State address than there is of an honest mistake FAVORING the GOP coming off the Mesabi.

Bruno Strozek on November 7, 2008 at 10:36 PM

He who counts the vote wins. *Stalin*

Mojave Mark on November 7, 2008 at 10:45 PM

I thought you were being too sunny today during the Ed Morrissey Show.

I’ll have you converted to the Eeyore Outlook by Inauguration Day!

eeyore on November 7, 2008 at 11:16 PM

And when does the fishing expedition officially end? When Coleman is behind by 1? Sounds like 2000 in Florida all over again.

justincase on November 7, 2008 at 7:26 PM

No, Washington state 2000. Democrats believe in counting, and counting, and counting, until they win, then you must stop. The only justification for a recount a democrat needs is loosing. They recounted the Washington governors race three times, each times ‘finding’ a few hundred more votes. When “shazam!”, the democrat won, the counting was over.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Falconsword on November 8, 2008 at 12:37 AM

Voters decide nothing. Vote counters decide everything – Stalin

RegularJoe on November 7, 2008 at 8:23 PM

I always thought the quote was: “It’s not the man that votes that counts, it’s the man that counts the votes”.

Distinction, difference, have at it….

HerrMorgenholz on November 7, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Po-tay-toes, po-tah-toes. The real quote was actually in Russian, so I didn’t spend much time trying to find a “verbatim” quote. The gist is the same: if the counting is corrupt, nothing else matters; and I’m increasingly frustrated at the third-world tin-pot-tyrant election stealing that is becoming more and more common in our country. In addition to educating the populace of the value of conservative principals, we’re going to have to start fighting hard for accurate and verifiable vote-counting.

RegularJoe on November 8, 2008 at 4:15 AM

The criminal conspiracy ACORN made it a priority to elect corrupt persons as Secretary of State in swing states.

We need a conservative group to promote replacements who will uphold election laws.

Right_of_Attila on November 8, 2008 at 6:18 AM

Damn, so basically now our best hope is for the dems to realize they don’t need 60 to break a filibuster (they’ll be able to get a few repubs like Snow) but if they do this then they’ll have to have Franken around them for at least 6 years.

Dave_d on November 8, 2008 at 7:08 AM

Where’s the f*cking RNC in all of this? There should be an army of lawyers up there filing lawsuits out the wazoo. What do we pay these people for anyway?

eyedoc on November 8, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Does anyone expect Franken to graciously accept defeat when the recount is done? Here’s the thing-the ones in charge of the vote have sworn an oath to not cheat. No matter what pressure the DFL or Franken try to put on those officials, they have to continue to live in their towns. Would they risk their good name in their communities just to get Franken in? They may be called to testify under oath as to the counts taken election night-would they be willing to state under oath that the extra 100 votes they ‘found’ were indeed from a clerical error?
I think they probably take pride in doing a good, fair job. I think that Coleman, when all is done, will be declared the winner he already is.
It does make an interesting epilogue to this 2008 election.

Doug on November 8, 2008 at 3:38 PM

The criminal conspiracy ACORN made it a priority to elect corrupt persons as Secretary of State in swing states.

We need a conservative group to promote replacements who will uphold election laws.

Right_of_Attila on November 8, 2008 at 6:18 AM

.
Here’s the current roster of National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS): (Republicans are in italics)
ALABAMA (R)*
Hon. Beth Chapman
Secretary of State – E
ALASKA (R)*
Hon. Sean Parnell
Lieutenant Governor – E
ARIZONA (R)*
Hon. Jan Brewer
Secretary of State – E
ARKANSAS (D)*
Hon. Charlie Daniels
Secretary of State – E
CALIFORNIA (D)*
Hon. Debra Bowen
Secretary of State – E
COLORADO (R)*
Hon. Mike Coffman
Secretary of State – E
CONNECTICUT (D)*
Hon. Susan Bysiewicz
Secretary of State – E
DELAWARE (D)
Hon. Harriet Smith Windsor
Secretary of State – A
FLORIDA (R)*
Hon. Kurt Browning
Secretary of State – A
GEORGIA (R)*
Hon. Karen Handel
Secretary of State – E
HAWAII (R)
Hon. James “Duke” Aiona
Lieutenant Governor – E
IDAHO (R)*
Hon. Ben Ysursa
Secretary of State – E
ILLINOIS (D)
Hon. Jesse White
Secretary of State – E
INDIANA (R)*
Hon. Todd Rokita
Secretary of State – E
IOWA (D)*
Hon. Michael Mauro
Secretary of State – E
KANSAS (R)*
Hon. Ron Thornburgh
Secretary of State – E
KENTUCKY (R)*
Hon. Trey Grayson
Secretary of State – E
LOUISIANA (R)*
Hon. Jay Dardenne
Secretary of State – E
MAINE (D)*
Hon. Matthew Dunlap
Secretary of State – LEG
MARYLAND (D)
Hon. John McDonough
Secretary of State – A
MASSACHUSETTS (D)*
Hon. William Galvin
Sec. of the Commonwealth – E
MICHIGAN (R)*
Hon. Terri Lynn Land
Secretary of State – E
MINNESOTA (D)*
Hon. Mark Ritchie
Secretary of State – E
MISSISSIPPI (R)*
Hon. C. Delbert Hosemann, Jr.
Secretary of State – E
MISSOURI (D)*
Hon. Robin Carnahan
Secretary of State – E
MONTANA (R)*
Hon. Brad Johnson
Secretary of State – E
NEBRASKA (R)*
Hon. John Gale
Secretary of State – E
NEVADA (D)*
Hon. Ross Miller
Secretary of State – E
NEW HAMPSHIRE (D)*
Hon. William Gardner
Secretary of State – LEG
NEW JERSEY (D)*
Hon. Nina Mitchell Wells
Secretary of State – A
NEW MEXICO (D)*
Hon. Mary Herrera
Secretary of State – E
NEW YORK (D)
Hon. Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez
Secretary of State – A
NORTH CAROLINA (D)
Hon. Elaine Marshall
Secretary of State – E
NORTH DAKOTA (R)*
Hon. Alvin “Al” Jaeger
Secretary of State – E
OHIO (D)*
Hon. Jennifer Brunner
Secretary of State – E
OKLAHOMA (D)
Hon. M. Susan Savage
Secretary of State – A
OREGON (D)*
Hon. Bill Bradbury
Secretary of State – E
PENNSYLVANIA (D)*
Hon. Pedro A. Cortés
Sec. of the Commonwealth – A
RHODE ISLAND (D)*
Hon. A. Ralph Mollis
Secretary of State – E
SOUTH CAROLINA (R)
Hon. Mark Hammond
Secretary of State – E
SOUTH DAKOTA (R)*
Hon. Chris Nelson
Secretary of State – E
TENNESSEE (D)
Hon. Riley Darnell
Secretary of State – LEG
TEXAS (R)*
Hon. Esperanza “Hope” Andrade
Secretary of State – A
UTAH (R)*
Hon. Gary P. Herbert
Lieutenant Governor – E
VERMONT (D)*
Hon. Deb Markowitz
Secretary of State – E
VIRGINIA (D)
Hon. Katherine K. Hanley
Sec. of the Commonwealth – A
WASHINGTON (R)*
Hon. Sam Reed
Secretary of State – E
WEST VIRGINIA (R)*
Hon. Betty Ireland
Secretary of State – E
WISCONSIN (D)
Hon. Douglas La Follette
Secretary of State – E
WYOMING (R)*
Hon. Max Maxfield
Secretary of State – E
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (D)
Hon. Stephanie Scott
Secretary of the District – A
AMERICAN SAMOA (D)
Hon. Ipulasi A. Sunia
Lieutenant Governor – E
———-
GUAM (R)
Hon. Michael Cruz
Lieutenant Governor – E
PUERTO RICO (PPD)
Hon. Fernando Bonilla
Secretary of State – A
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (D)
Hon. Gregory Francis
Lieutenant Governor – E
.
Legend
A= Appointed 10, including DC
(+1 w/ Puerto Rico)

E= Elected 38
(+3 w/ Guam, USVI & Am Samoa)

LEG= Selected by Legislature 3

Republicans= 24
Democrats= 27
Men= 33
Women= 19
*= Chief Election Official (39 total)

Appointed Secretary
CEOs= 4

Elected Secretary or Lt. Gov CEOs= 33

Legislatively Selected Secretary CEOs= 2

Number of NASS Members= 53 (Hawaii & Wisconsin are not currently NASS members)
*NASS 2008-2009
.
Executive Board
Hon. Pedro Cortes, PA
President
Hon. Trey Grayson, KY
President-Elect
Hon. Todd Rokita, IN
Past President
Hon. Matt Dunlap, ME
Treasurer

Hon. Robin Carnahan, MO
Secretary
Hon. A. Ralph Mollis, RI
VP Eastern Region
Hon. Karen Handel, GA
VP Southern Region
Hon. Jennifer Brunner, OH
VP Midwestern Region
Hon. Brad Johnson, MT
VP Western Region
Hon. Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, NY
Member-at-Large
Hon. John Gale, NE
Member-at-Large
***********************************

NightmareOnKStreet on November 10, 2008 at 3:03 AM

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