Even more disputed Coleman-Franken ballots!

posted at 11:47 am on November 21, 2008 by Allahpundit

Share my joy at the realization that this is now a running feature, ensuring days’ worth of easy peasy content to come. The new ballots are up top at the link; my answer sheet follows. But first, a reversal on one of yesterday’s calls. Patterico challenges my ruling on the instantly immortal “Lizard People” ballot:

I called it a vote for LP, Patterico calls it a vote for Franken. Upon further review, we’re both wrong — it’s too close to call, so reject the ballot. True, the oval on the write-in line isn’t filled in, but it is in the line at the very top of the image (evidently, this guy was voting Lizard People straight-ticket). Does that mean he didn’t intend to vote for LP in the Senate race or that he did intend it but simply forgot to color in the circle? And what does that X-like mark over Franken’s oval mean? No one knows, so toss it out.

Now then, today’s rulings:

1. Coleman. Honestly, it looks like a signature to me, but since it’s arguable and there’s no way to prove it, err on the side of enfranchisement and call it a scribble/pen test.

2. Franken. Please.

3. Coleman. If there was another mark somewhere in the field I’d say the oval was X-ed out. As it is, I’m guessing it was X-ed first to signify a vote, then filled in more comprehensively to make it clear. Patterico wonders if there are any similar X-es on the rest of the guy’s ballot; if not, doesn’t that mean he was probably trying to cancel this vote? Good point — unless this was the very first thing on the ballot that he filled in, which is unlikely given that there was a presidential race at stake but not impossible given how high profile and nasty the Senate race was. Actually, I’d like to see if any other fields on this ballot were left completely blank. If so, I’ll buy that this is an X and reject the ballot. If not, if the voter voted in every other race, then this is probably a vote for Coleman.

4. Reject. Same logic as in #3, except here we do have another mark in the same field. Patterico, evincing a strange preoccupation with whether the ovals on write-in lines are filled in, gives it to Stormin’ Norman.

Incidentally, with 46 percent of the recount in, Stuart Smalley’s shaved another 79 votes off of Coleman’s lead, leaving it at a svelte 136. You can follow the county by county returns here. Note the numbers from Ramsey County in particular, bearing in mind how subjective these calls are and the fact that Ramsey broke 66/32 for The One.


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Stupid voters!!!!!

Oink on November 21, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Maybe the voter couldn’t tell the difference between Franken and a lizard.

savvydude on November 21, 2008 at 11:50 AM

He wrote in, so it is null and void…no vote.
“Lizard People” is having a field day…like Joe the Plumber, he is the center of a lot of attention.

right2bright on November 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Do you think there will be a third party to contend with in 2012?

DL13 on November 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

AP says there is a God, since he has days worth of easy content.

Wo Hoo!

Right_of_Attila on November 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

A lizard man would make a far better Senator than Franken or any other Democrat for that matter.

We’ve come to far and suffered for too long not to give the Lizard Man a chance.

Altogether . . . “We shall overcome”.

NoDonkey on November 21, 2008 at 11:55 AM

I tend toward “reject the ballot” when there’s multiple marks or crazy writing in the write-in section of the ballot. It’s better to toss it than count it for the wrong guy.

forest on November 21, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Hugh Hewitt had it right when he released his book If it’s not close, they can’t cheat.before the 2004 election. This whole Big Tent Flying Circus recount shenanigan is mostly Sen Coleman’s fault. He didn’t do his job enough to warrant a popular enough support for re-election. I’ll leave it to talking heads and pundits to fill in the blanks.

I’ll make the same claim for Saxby Chambliss. Why, oh why, is Chambliss also is jeopardy? I wonder if his inclusion in that Gang of XX that disbanded a few months ago had any major impact in his current predicament. Don’t worry, even if he wins, he won’t learn a thing.

Weebork on November 21, 2008 at 11:58 AM

At the time, I questioned my state’s requirement to fill in a practice bubble when you sign in on the list.

Now I know.

James on November 21, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I’m sorry…in my opinion, a ballot should be tossed if the voter intentionally writes nonsense like “lizard people” or “bad men” or anything else.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes sometimes. If you switch, make it clear. It’s not that difficult. If a ballot is even questionable, toss it. End of story.

JetBoy on November 21, 2008 at 12:05 PM

We’re getting dangerously close to a Sen. Douchebag Franken…

BadgerHawk on November 21, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Number 2 bothers me as it could have been someone ‘helping’ the Franken ticket by filling in the Presidential choice with pen when the voter seemed to be using pencil.

sharrukin on November 21, 2008 at 12:10 PM

1 Coleman. Otherwise any ballot with any mark could be considered “identifying” and thus are ineligible
2 Franken
3 Coleman
4 Reject, same as the previous day’s ballot that voted for Coleman or Franken (I forget which) and then wrote in Lizard People.

rbj on November 21, 2008 at 12:13 PM

I’m sorry…in my opinion, a ballot should be tossed if the voter intentionally writes nonsense like “lizard people” or “bad men” or anything else.

You mean like all the ballots that voted No on 8 (granted, that nonsense did of course lose.)

Honestly, your bigotry towards Lizard People is astounding.

BKennedy on November 21, 2008 at 12:13 PM

How do these people get to vote?

YellowDawg on November 21, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Talk: Do these ballots make the case for electronic voting?

It sure makes a case but what that case is is way too….. nuanced.

CaptainObvious on November 21, 2008 at 12:14 PM

Talk: Do these ballots make the case for electronic voting?

No, they make the case for abortion.

fogw on November 21, 2008 at 12:16 PM

How do these people get to vote?

YellowDawg on November 21, 2008 at 12:13 PM

They’re probably promised a pack of cigs or something similar.
I see this kind of work all the time in high school bcs students are made to do it.
We should throw this crap out. Nothing stupid like this should ever be considered.
To hell with discrimination of Lizard People.
They are secret aliens waiting to use us for food.
Remember the cheap miniseries V?

Badger40 on November 21, 2008 at 12:20 PM

I’ve always felt that voting is too important not to do. But is some instances there are to many people who don’t take the right seriously. Unfortunately, there are more and more people who take their idioticy with them no matter where that go, including into the voting booth.

i had to take and pass a test to be able to drive, to possess a firearm. My grand parents (all four) had to take and pass tests to become american citizens. Shouldn’t there be some sort of minimum requirements for people to be able to vote? I am also in favor of raising the voting age back to 21.

Tommy_G on November 21, 2008 at 12:20 PM

No, they make the case for abortion.

fogw on November 21, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Ouch.

BadgerHawk on November 21, 2008 at 12:21 PM

evincing a strange preoccupation with whether the ovals on write-in lines are filled in

So they don’t have to be filled in for a write-in candidate? I thought they did.

I’ve assumed in all of these that people are able to make up a write-in candidate even if they don’t vote for that person. Am I wrong? Is writing a name automatically voting for that person?

Esthier on November 21, 2008 at 12:21 PM

I bet if these rocket-scientists were applying for some sort of government assistance or filling out a claim form for lottery money, they would cross every t and dot every i.

Disenfranchisement is too good for these people. Lizard folk included.

robblefarian on November 21, 2008 at 12:23 PM

I don’t understand this.

If someone voting, isn’t taking it seriously, then the vote should not be counted. Fill in one of the blanks. If one or more are filled in, then the vote is rejected. Who has time to “think” and “ponder” voter intent, while writing all over the ballot?

If its not filled out in a coherent matter, then your vote is in the trash.

cabbageheat on November 21, 2008 at 12:24 PM

The headline I can’t wait to see:

Lizard People defeat Franken, Coleman re-elected by one vote!

Bruno Strozek on November 21, 2008 at 12:24 PM

I’m sorry…in my opinion, a ballot should be tossed if the voter intentionally writes nonsense like “lizard people” or “bad men” or anything else.

That’s so old-school, prior to Florida 2000 when voter intent was judged based on just how bumpy little slips of paper were. In the new reality with the zeal at electing Democrats at Lizard People scrawled all over a ballot with a circle darkened for Franken is clearly a vote for Franken. Only when the pen test involves Coleman would the vote not be counted.

Face it, the lizard people have taken over.

highhopes on November 21, 2008 at 12:24 PM

I think it’s safe to assume that all “Lizard People” write-in votes are for the Democrats. In fact, they should dump the donkey as their logo and start using a lizard instead. James Carville will make a great model for the initial design.

conservative_in_texas on November 21, 2008 at 12:24 PM

The recount regulations say if a name is written in but the corresponding oval isn’t filled in, it’s still counted as a vote for the person whose name is written, so I say Lizard people is an overvote and the ballot ought to be rejected.

chriscoolc on November 21, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Back in the early eighties I used to sign my gas credit card slips as Ty Cobb. The bill never changed at the end of the month.

Throw the ballot out and raise the voting age to 25.

Rovin on November 21, 2008 at 12:29 PM

When in doubt, throw it out. Simple.

If voters are that confused by the process, duh, then they should not allow the vote to count.

If you make a mistake at the time, all you have to do is ask for a new ballot.

Finally, it looks like the officials need to give breathalyzer tests before voting too.

tru2tx on November 21, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Somewhere in Minnesota there’s a moron sitting in a la-z-boy thinking to himself: “dammit… I really wish I could remember what I was trying to do there.”

That is, if he even knows this debacle is occurring under his very nose.

fiscallyconservative on November 21, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Is writing a name automatically voting for that person?

Esthier on November 21, 2008 at 12:21 PM

That’s what I thought too. I thought you could write in whatever you want, but whichever oval you filled in was your vote. Otherwise, why have an oval next to the write in line?

I wanted to write in all sorts of funny stuff but didn’t, just in case.

BadgerHawk on November 21, 2008 at 12:33 PM

as for the lizard people vote..

you don’t want the wrong lizard to get in, do you? I mean, you might not like your lizard but at least your lizard is better than the other lizard you don’t want in office.

(SLATFALF by DNA)

DaveC on November 21, 2008 at 12:36 PM

Isn’t a ballot marked both for Lizard People and Al Franken redundant to begin with?

jon1979 on November 21, 2008 at 12:39 PM

#4- Coleman. The oval next to the write-in isn’t filled in.

Hollowpoint on November 21, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Wow. There are some amazingly stupid people on this planet.

Pulchritudinous Patriot on November 21, 2008 at 12:44 PM

1) I contend the Lizard People ballot is, in fact, Franken’s own.

2) I think I will start a classical-oldies hybrid band and name them the Bachmen.

3) The ACLU will sue me for gender discrimination in naming the band this way. Sigh.

bcm4134 on November 21, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Any ballot that has marks in multiple fields in the same voting block should have that vote stricken. If bubbling in the correct circle is too complicated for some people, or people want to change their minds, they should have to sign an affadavit signifying the person they wanted to vote for at the time they turn in their ballot. That’s the only way I can think of to stop this idiocy. Other than just not letting these people vote.

Sir Corky on November 21, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Isn’t a ballot marked both for Lizard People and Al Franken redundant to begin with?
jon1979 on November 21, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Not necessarily, Franken could simply be working for the ‘Visitors’ as a turncoat.

Someone give Mike Singer a call, he needs to rip-off part of Franken’s face to see if there is a lizard underneath. It’s the only way to be sure.

Bishop on November 21, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Some people screw around too much a in doing so screw the ballot up.
Minor little thumbprints and a clearly marked circle are one thing, but tiny extra dots, a sperm symbol, circling the barcode etc. can’t count. I bet those people have no problem coloring in the damn lotto card, this shouldnt be any differant.
Keep up the stupidity and watch us lose the right to do this even. sheeesh.

johnnyU on November 21, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Do you think there will be a third party to contend with in 2012?

DL13 on November 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

You mean in addition to the Democrats and the Lizard People? The way things are going… hard to say.

CK MacLeod on November 21, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Lizard people aka ‘very’ Green Party

johnnyU on November 21, 2008 at 1:06 PM

I take back what I said thought about that Dem lawyer claiming the folks voting Dem were too dumb to know how to fill in the ballot properly.

TexasDan on November 21, 2008 at 1:12 PM

I think we need a soup nazi for voting.

NO VOTE FOR YOU!!

COME BACK 4 YEARS!!

neal7 on November 21, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Given that the voter feeds the ballot into the machine, can check that their votes are registered correctly, and can get a new ballot if they need one, if the machine can’t read it, it should not count – end of story. The machine should decide, period. Forget trying to divine the intent of voters; the whole idea of a voter intent law is ridiculous.

msyb on November 21, 2008 at 1:16 PM

How many people actually and for really change their minds in the voting booth???

This astounds me. I know the whole wide world isn’t as interested in politics as the HA crowd, but if you don’t pay enough attention to have made an informed decision by the time you close the curtain, just don’t flipping bother.

And how many of these folks would be prohibited from voting by photo ID requirements?

TexasDan on November 21, 2008 at 1:16 PM

If a ballot is marked by distinguishing characteristics in a manner making it evident that the voter intended to identify the ballot, the entire ballot is defective.

Does this mean that in Minnesota if I write myself in as a candidate (which I have been known to do when someone I don’t want to vote for is running unopposed) that my ballot can be disqualified?

db on November 21, 2008 at 1:20 PM

If jerks and the insane are allowed to run for office, we gotta let ‘em vote too.

Jim Treacher on November 21, 2008 at 1:29 PM

What’s up in Renville County? According to the data, Franken challenged 476 ballots – out of 6181 cast. That’s over 7.7% of all ballots cast.

SouthernRoots on November 21, 2008 at 1:34 PM

As for the first one, I think Franken should get the vote. His box is filled in. Lizard People’s box is not filled in. Same thing happened here in the San Diego Mayor’s Race a while back. The write in candidate, Donna Frye, got more votes, but she lost because thousands of people didn’t mark in the bubble after writing in her name.

Now, as for the Day 2 Rulings:

1. Count It – Norm Coleman
2. Count It – Al Franken
3. Count It – Norm Coleman
4. Count It – Norm Coleman

SoulGlo on November 21, 2008 at 1:42 PM

I think too many people have been reading a certain Harry Turtledove series.

Torch on November 21, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Lizard People for Snake Oil Salesmen (Obama&Frankenstein)

Steve Z on November 21, 2008 at 1:44 PM

a ballout with multiple candidates who
have been marked in any way should be
thrown out period.

p.s. whos badass anyway?

tamtam20 on November 21, 2008 at 1:45 PM

What’s up in Renville County? According to the data, Franken challenged 476 ballots – out of 6181 cast. That’s over 7.7% of all ballots cast.

SouthernRoots on November 21, 2008 at 1:34 PM

It’s Franken-stein’s chosen place to steal the election. Don’t want to make it too obvious by going for someplace big like Hennepin or Ramsey or St. Louis County. The hicks out in Renville County won’t know any better.

New Mark Twain story: The Jumping Votes of Renville County.

Steve Z on November 21, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Here’s a quick mathematical projection if anybody’s interested as of Noon CST:

Coleman is leading by a little in counties that have completed the recount: Coleman net +4

Franken is leading in counties that are in the process of counting. By doing a county by county projection of the votes found for each county and projecting to a 100% completion: Franken net +286

The counties that haven’t started yet tend to lean to Coleman, especially the bigger ones. Looking at the vote differential and how things have broken in the completed counties, I see Coleman picking up 274 in these counties.

Overall Franken nets 7 votes. Coleman wins.

Buckland on November 21, 2008 at 2:10 PM

If Stu Smalley gets steals this election, then Democrat overreaching is assured, and 2010 looms large.

44Magnum on November 21, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Franken has already lost; he lacks the good grace to just go away.
Oh, the books he will write about this!
He might even (gasp!) draw devil horns on a picture of Coleman!
My point is: If Franken is going to act like a child, don’t expect any adult behavior from the brat.

Doug on November 21, 2008 at 2:18 PM

The sooner the GOP reaches the conclusion that the Democrats, MSM, militant gays and George Soros are out to destroy their party the sooner they will stop bringing only knives to a gun fight. Unfortunately, the country club elitist types seem more willing to go internecine; for the GOP the word ‘infighting’ appears to be the watchword of the 21st century.

technopeasant on November 21, 2008 at 2:23 PM

If there had been a separate entry on the ballot titled “Poop ball,” would its votes be counted separately or added to Franken’s totals?

whitetop on November 21, 2008 at 2:33 PM

What’s up in Renville County? According to the data, Franken challenged 476 ballots – out of 6181 cast. That’s over 7.7% of all ballots cast.

SouthernRoots on November 21, 2008 at 1:34 PM

If you’re looking at the Star-Tribune tally (as I am) it must have been an error. By now (2:37 PM) Franken is only challenging 2 ballots in Renville county. Possibly, someone at the Star-Tribune accidentally typed the statewide total of Franken challenges into the box for Renville County.

Probably a big relief to the Renville County canvassing board.

Steve Z on November 21, 2008 at 2:41 PM

coleman

rob verdi on November 21, 2008 at 3:40 PM

Here’s a quick mathematical projection if anybody’s interested as of Noon CST:

Coleman is leading by a little in counties that have completed the recount: Coleman net +4

Franken is leading in counties that are in the process of counting. By doing a county by county projection of the votes found for each county and projecting to a 100% completion: Franken net +286

I’ve been following the Star-Tribune’s running tally of the recount, and it’s not valid statistically to “project” partial adjustments to an entire county based on the percentage of votes already counted. The big counties around Minneapolis-Saint Paul are very heterogeneous, with the big cities favoring Franken and the suburbs favoring Coleman–you can see that if you click on the “city map” for that area. If most of the already-recounted votes come from a Franken-heavy or Coleman-heavy area, the initial trend may reverse itself as the recount progresses.

The other problem with this “projection” is that there can be relatively large vote shifts from one precinct, which throws the idea of proportionality out the window. For example, when Olmsted County was 98% counted, it showed a net 2-vote shift for Coleman. Now it is 99% counted with a net 19-vote shift for Coleman, probably a disproportionate shift from one precinct. The problem is, nobody knows what vote shifts might still lurk in the precincts yet to be recounted.

Another problem with “projection” is that the candidate ahead in the original vote tally doesn’t necessarily gain votes in the recount. Franken won Minneapolis by better than a 3-to-1 margin, but Coleman netted votes in the recount there (so far), and Franken has gained votes in some counties which Coleman won, which are completely recounted.

One major trend observed in the recounts is that in most counties, both candidates are LOSING votes–possibly votes counted by the machines but found to be defective by hand, or possibly ballots run through the machines multiple times by mistake. If previously-counted votes are being cancelled, the candidate ahead in that area will tend to lose them faster…

One good sign–Coleman’s lead was down to 130 votes earlier today, but has bounced back up to 156 votes now.

But with several large counties not scheduled to be counted until early December, and over 800 ballots already challenged (between the two campaigns), this is a long way from over.

Steve Z on November 21, 2008 at 4:31 PM

Not sure if this was covered Ed but there was no straight ticket choice on the MN ballot. If this guy had wanted to vote straight ticket for the lizard people he would have had to fill in his oval next to the lizard people line every time. The vote you see above the senate race is the presidential race. Apparently LP guy or gal chose to vote for the Lizard People for President. And except maybe for Team Franken, a vote for the LP for President doesn’t indicate a vote for LP for senate.

I had a similar ballot today. Somebody had written in a person’s name (another candidate running for state house in a different district) in every available write in spot. This person chose, however to fill in the oval for different candidates in some races and for this write in candidate in others. When it came to voter intent, writing the name is not enough, you have to choose to write the name and fill in the oval. If you simply wrote in the name and didn’t mark the oval it was an undervote.

MargaretMN on November 21, 2008 at 4:44 PM

I’ve been following the Star-Tribune’s running tally of the recount, and it’s not valid statistically to “project” partial adjustments to an entire county based on the percentage of votes already counted

Yeah, I know that. There are lots of bad assumptions in what I did, it was mostly something to kill time during lunch.

Assumptions made that I can think of:

– Each county is homogenous. That’s obviously not true, but hopefully there will be some offsetting deviations. But since I don’t the have the time or energy to overlay with census tract that has to stand.

– The errors will break proportionate to the overall vote in a county. Again, probably not right.

– The challenged ballots evaporate, or at least offset. I have no idea how this will play out.

– The overall conduct of the recount will honest and above board. Who are we kidding?

Again not scientific, but possibly a decent baseline to check on occasion.

Buckland on November 21, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Where are all the disputed Franken ballots??

JellyToast on November 21, 2008 at 6:14 PM

I’m just surprised that someone voted for Franken but not for Obama.

Grafted on November 21, 2008 at 11:03 PM

I still think the pen-and-pencil ballot is hinky.

Sekhmet on November 22, 2008 at 2:37 AM

I kind of hope Frankin wins. Then we get all the liberals in Congress in one room and perform a surprise exorcism.

After the exorcism removes their demons, they would be clear minded enough to thereafter vote conservative.

Although in Frankins case, we may need multi sessions.

Sounds like a plan. But don’t the courts find out. They may not belief in seperation of Satan and State.

CertainVictory on November 22, 2008 at 11:57 AM