Minnesota Recount: Duplicate ballots hit Franken

posted at 9:16 am on December 4, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Al Franken has filed a protest in a Minneapolis precinct that discovered it had counted some ballots twice on Election Night.  The correction in the count cost Franken 46 votes, more than offsetting the ballots discovered in Maplewood the previous day.  With 98% of the recount completed, Coleman still leads, and by a slightly larger amount:

Elections officials in Minnesota’s largest city today discovered that one precinct came up 133 ballots short of election day totals, resulting in a net loss for Democratic challenger Al Franken of 44 votes. …

Minneapolis elections director Cindy Reichert said she believes the error occurred when election judges at the precinct on election night mistakenly ran ballots with write-in candidates through a counting machine twice. There were 129 such ballots.

Reichert said although the numbers do not match exactly, she is confident that that’s what happened and will report those numbers to the Secretary of State’s Office. She also detailed a search for any potential missing envelopes that contain ballots, including opening the counting machine, talking to election judges and calling the church where the polling place was located.

According to the Strib, Reichert later decided to hold off on reporting the results:

Late Wednesday, Reichert said she had decided to keep the results in the precinct open until all of the discrepancies could be resolved, by reviewing all of the precinct’s election materials at City Hall today.

“Several mistakes were made in the precinct and we need to verify all of the numbers we looked at [Wednesday],” she said.

The protest probably won’ty fly.  The precinct recounted the ballots and discovered a discrepancy in the count, not ballots that never appeared to exist until weeks after the election. Recounts exist to correct those kinds of errors.

The Franken campaign formally announced their intention to withdraw over 600 ballot challenges yesterday, making good on their “more than dozens” pledge earlier in the week.  Marc Elias, Team Franken’s attorney, says that the withdrawals won’t affect the outcome of the election.  If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place?  How many other useless challenges from Team Franken remain in the 2000+ challenges still extant?


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That’s what you get for challenging Lizard People, Franken.

Watch yourself.

BKennedy on December 4, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Bye bye, evil clown.

argos on December 4, 2008 at 9:21 AM

With Chambliss winning, Franken is adrift…

right2bright on December 4, 2008 at 9:27 AM

If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place?

Because they attempt to get through each ballot in about 5 seconds and there’s not a lot of time to make a judgement, so they err on the side of caution.

It’s disingenuous of you to pretend the Coleman doesn’t have frivolous challenges, considering there have been numerous challenges from him shown on the net to be frivolous (include many that were challenged because those who voted for Franken also voted for McCain).

How many other useless challenges from Team Franken remain in the 2000+ challenges still extant?

Probably less than Coleman, now that they’ve withdrawn 600.

The precinct recounted the ballots and discovered a discrepancy in the count, not ballots that never appeared to exist until weeks after the election. Recounts exist to correct those kinds of errors.

Are you implying that the ballots found in Maplewood should not be counted? They are legal ballots that were misplaced and not counted on election day. Should this kind of human error not be correct during a recount?

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Anyone else concerned about all these ballots showing up or mysteriously being double counted? Whether the results favor Coleman or Franken, it’s disturbing to say the least at how 3rd Worldesque this election has been.

angryed on December 4, 2008 at 9:33 AM

will this never end. Throw in the towel you big loser!

ctmom on December 4, 2008 at 9:33 AM

…Ain’t too much sadder than the Tears of a Clown when no one’s around.

Thank you, Smokey Robinson.

Don’t fret, Al. Maybe you can rejoin SNL…Geriatric Division.

kingsjester on December 4, 2008 at 9:34 AM

With Chambliss winning, Franken is adrift…

right2bright on December 4, 2008 at 9:27 AM

Let’s be clear: this was a barracuda attack!

Governor Palin, by her campaigning in GA, gave Chambliss a solid win, and thereby saved congress from falling into democrat hands.

The ‘cuda got revenge. Suck it up, liberals and snotty Palin-hating “republicans.”

jeff_from_mpls on December 4, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Franken won’t go without kicking and screaming. Hopefully he’ll end up losing by one or two, then he’ll really be fuming, maybe to the point that he and Coleman settle it ala Burr/Hamilton. I’ll take the conservative.

THE CHOSEN ONE on December 4, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Minnesota can still go to hell even if Franken doesn’t win. It was too damn close. Those morons up there need to find themselves another country. I’m going to start a campaign to give that sorry state to the Sudan.

Percy_Peabody on December 4, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Ah, an apologist for incompentence. That’s what the US needs right now, people who are too ignorant to vote, and then even more ignorance to count them. Seriously, if you can’t follow simple instructions, like filling in an oval, you should be barred from voting. We know the great majority of those who cannot fill out a simple ballot, vote democrat.

rightside on December 4, 2008 at 9:41 AM

resulting in a net loss for Democratic challenger Al Franken of 44 votes. …

Proof the atheists are wrong. I will have more to say about atheists as Christmas draws closer.

Tommy_G on December 4, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Anyone else concerned about all these ballots showing up or mysteriously being double counted? Whether the results favor Coleman or Franken, it’s disturbing to say the least at how 3rd Worldesque this election has been.

angryed on December 4, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Remember the 2004 Governor election in WA? Where the election was decided by “found” votes?

This is the problem with recounts overall, they dramatically lower the public’s faith in the system if they change the outcome. And as miscreants know how many votes they need and that it is close, it gives them a strong reason to “find” more votes for their candidate.

It seems to me that manual recounts should only be allowed when some kind of fraud is proven in the system.

18-1 on December 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Minnesota and that idiot Franken are making a sick joke of our entire electoral process. The fact that Minnesota wants to make a U.S. senator out of their court jester says volumes about that state and it’s people.

rplat on December 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM

O/T, but if anyone can get hold of last night’s CBC TV coverage of Stephane Dion’s (Leader of the Canadian Liberal Party)speech, there was a book on the shelf right over his shoulder called, “Hot Air”.

Nothing could be more appropriate.

Syd B. on December 4, 2008 at 9:45 AM

The ‘cuda got revenge. Suck it up, liberals and snotty Palin-hating “republicans.”

jeff_from_mpls on December 4, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Don’t get carried away, Palin gave Chambliss a huge boost, up from an already winning effort.
Palin did what she does best, promote conservative Republican values, and shows that they (and she) are a winning ticket.
But Chambliss carried the water, he was the candidate, and all the conservatives that backed him proved that conservative ideals are alive and well in America.
And because of that, Franken will basically have to fight this on his own.

right2bright on December 4, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Minnesota and that idiot Franken are making a sick joke of our entire electoral process. The fact that Minnesota wants to make a U.S. senator out of their court jester says volumes about that state and it’s people.

rplat on December 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Well said.

doufree on December 4, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Shiply..

I have several votes in the trunk of my car.. I promise you.. no one has been in there since election day..

and to prove to you that it’s all good.. there is even the token vote for Al Franklin on one of the ballots.. (out of the 400 or so ballots that are there)

do you DARE challenge the authority of an election official?

DaveC on December 4, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Anyone else concerned about all these ballots showing up or mysteriously being double counted? Whether the results favor Coleman or Franken, it’s disturbing to say the least at how 3rd Worldesque this election has been.

angryed on December 4, 2008 at 9:33 AM

This double count probably happened in every state in the union…it just happens.
Some of the other things, and probably “things” that would have happened is disturbing.
But this is just sloppy work, easy to catch in the recount.

right2bright on December 4, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Expecting Franken to lose gracefully is like expecting donuts to start raining outside.

ZK on December 4, 2008 at 9:50 AM

franken should accept the will of the people, and just move on… .org

rightside on December 4, 2008 at 9:51 AM

For a nation that first cracked the atom, put men on the moon and sells RC Cola and Moonpies, why on earth can’t we develop a fool-proof way to vote and count the votes? To make matters worse, our liberal/democrat dominated school system is turning out more and more people like those in Palm Beach County, FL & Maplewood, MN who couldn’t tell you how many fingers or toes they have. A nation of cookie-cutter clones, stamped out by your left-wing controlled government. God please save the Republic of the USA, because for sure government can’t.

wepeople on December 4, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Ah, an apologist for incompentence. That’s what the US needs right now, people who are too ignorant to vote, and then even more ignorance to count them. Seriously, if you can’t follow simple instructions, like filling in an oval, you should be barred from voting. We know the great majority of those who cannot fill out a simple ballot, vote democrat.

rightside on December 4, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Good point, but without their incompetents, functional illiterates, social parasites, anti American leftists, atheists and other assorted nuts and kooks, the Democrats would lose at least 75% of their base.

rplat on December 4, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Are you implying that the ballots found in Maplewood should not be counted? They are legal ballots that were misplaced and not counted on election day. Should this kind of human error not be correct during a recount?

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 9:32 AM

It depends on the law…if ballots were “misplaced” and not under any kind of security, then they could not be proven to be “pure”, you can’t risk that in an election, they have to be not counted.
If it was a clerical error, easily traced and shown to be just that, a counting error, then they should count.

right2bright on December 4, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Is there any hope of The Lizard People becoming a viable third party?
They’re our only hope. Lizards are very conservative.

Tony Soprano on December 4, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Hey, I just checked my car and I’ve got some Franken ballots???

moonsbreath on December 4, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Expecting Franken to lose gracefully is like expecting donuts to start raining outside.

ZK on December 4, 2008 at 9:50 AM

…or like expecting Michael Mooreon to make a pro-American, uplifting movie. Or like expecting Harry Reid to say that he respects his constituents and looks forward to their visits to the Capitol.

tre on December 4, 2008 at 10:03 AM

Despite all this recount nonsense, I hope that Coleman and Chambliss take this whole thing seriously and look at how many Republicans came to their defense, then truly act like the Conservatives they are now expected to be.

Aside any conspiracy theories….looking at the recount in Minnesota and the re-vote in Georgia, two things came to mind.

In both states, voter fraud in the general election was bigger than previously thought. Acorn wasn’t involved in either the recount or the re-vote.

Second, I know there is that whole idea out there that black voters didn’t come out in Georgia for the re-vote. But there is also the thought that the Obama that some, moderates-turned-Obama-voters, voted for in the general election, found out he is not the same person he has turned out to be as President-elect. When re-voting, the thought of no checks and balances, made them regret their original vote.

jcheney on December 4, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Don’t get carried away, Palin gave Chambliss a huge boost, up from an already winning effort.

But Chambliss carried the water

right2bright on December 4, 2008 at 9:48 AM

10-4 good buddy. I merely observe that Palin helped make the victory so decisive that it had to have had a demoralizing effect on democrats, and maybe old Harry Ried doesn’t feel like such a tough guy anymore, and will most likely take a pass on helping the comedian.

jeff_from_mpls on December 4, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Are you implying that the ballots found in Maplewood should not be counted? They are legal ballots that were misplaced and not counted on election day. Should this kind of human error not be correct during a recount?

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Can someone explain to me how ballots get misplaced and not counted? I was a precinct judge in Texas. We use optical scan here just like Minnesota. The process is the person gets a ballot, fills out the ballot and walks over to the vote counter and feeds it in. If there is any problem the machine beeps. The judge can then issue the voter up to 2 more ballots. If they screw those up then they are SOL. The machines are very sensitive. Even a dot in a second oval will count as an overvote. I will concede that the training for judges was very poor. I was a first-timer and was basically just thrown in and believe me when you start at 5am and don’t turn in your stuff until 9pm you are tired. However, I think there are some shenanigans going on in MN.

mrsmwp on December 4, 2008 at 10:08 AM

It’s good to see the Coleman camp putting up a fight, and not letting Franken steal the election. Here’s hoping Republicans continue to be vigilant in future elections, and maybe get more aggressive in challenging (not copying, but aggressively exposing) ACORN tactics, etc.

cs89 on December 4, 2008 at 10:09 AM

If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place?

Because they attempt to get through each ballot in about 5 seconds and there’s not a lot of time to make a judgement, so they err on the side of caution.

It’s disingenuous of you to pretend the Coleman doesn’t have frivolous challenges, considering there have been numerous challenges from him shown on the net to be frivolous (include many that were challenged because those who voted for Franken also voted for McCain).

Tom,
where the hell did Ed ever say Coleman didn’t have frivolous challenges. Quite frankly this is an ad hominen attack by you. Is this what you are reduced to, what with your guy losing?

All valid ballots (not ones with votes for two candidates) by qualified voters should be counted. Screwed up ballots (remember, voters can get new ballots if they mess one up), votes by non-citizens/residents and duplicate votes should not count. Don’t you agree?

rbj on December 4, 2008 at 10:11 AM

why on earth can’t we develop a fool-proof way to vote and count the votes?
wepeople on December 4, 2008 at 9:51 AM

There could be a way but God forbid that it inconveniences people or if it is too hard the PC crowd will scream racism and voter disenfranchisement. This whole process makes me sick. Voting is the most important thing we do and it is a joke.

mrsmwp on December 4, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Voting is the most important thing we do and it is a joke.

Voting in Minnesota is a joke. Maybe they could use EFCA there. Let everyone see how you vote and put it all on video. That’ll fix it.

Or just do video interviews. Ask each person for whom they wish to vote. Then each camp can have a fool-proof record.
Then again, it can’t be fool-proof. That would have precluded Franken and half the voters.

drjohn on December 4, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Minnesota can still go to hell even if Franken doesn’t win. It was too damn close. Those morons up there need to find themselves another country. I’m going to start a campaign to give that sorry state to the Sudan.

I have an idea, ya shitbag, why don’t you give me a voter breakdown of every other state and the jerkoffs they elected or almost elected to office. Shall we start listing the names of all the dimwits in office that weren’t elected by Minnesotans?

Bishop on December 4, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Voting is not a joke….vote counting is

JIMV on December 4, 2008 at 10:21 AM

O/T, but if anyone can get hold of last night’s CBC TV coverage of Stephane Dion’s (Leader of the Canadian Liberal Party)speech, there was a book on the shelf right over his shoulder called, “Hot Air”.

Nothing could be more appropriate.

Syd B. on December 4, 2008 at 9:45 AM

It’s gotta be here somewhere.

hillbillyjim on December 4, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Damn O Crats and Liberals are to stupid to be allowed to vote.

1. We already have enough criminals in Congress as it is without a Frankin.
2. They talk about Bush sending jobs overseas and turn around and want to get people to go to Canada to get their drugs.
3. They hold hearings on who knew what when but refuse to ask the great “O” Dumbo to provide his BC.
They want to spend Billions on a bail out they are the ones that caused for the problem.
4. MLK was a republican!!!!
5. Let the Auto Co’s go bankrupt and reorganise.

We have 2 years to save this great land. Vote the Damn O Crats out and more independents in. To hell with the two party system.
Both are filled with crooks.

Rick007 on December 4, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Coulter wrote about the Franken debacle today. Check it out on Redstate or Townhall.

EconomicNeocon on December 4, 2008 at 10:31 AM

rbj on December 4, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Here’s what I was responding to:

If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place? How many other useless challenges from Team Franken remain in the 2000+ challenges still extant?

Ed says it by making a big deal of frivolous challenges by Franken. Again, it’s his MO of insinuation. Why make a big deal of frivolous challenges by Franken if Coleman is employing the same tactics? Why not attack both men over making frivolous challenges?

Again, his question is disingenuous. Anyone with any IQ who’s been following the recount knows the answer:

There’s a short amount of time for people to look at the ballots to so they err on the side of caution.

At the very least, Franken’s team went back, looked at their challenges and withdrew ones they thought were “frivolous” and didn’t warrant election judges examining.

Coleman’s team has not done this as of yet.

So, as I said, it’s disingenuous of Ed to only question Franken’s frivolous challenges when A) everyone knows Coleman has frivolous challenges and B) Franken’s team has at least relooked at theirs and withdrew some.

right2bright on December 4, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Sure, laws should be followed. But if it’s clear these votes are valid, they should be counted.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:31 AM

I have an idea, ya shitbag, why don’t you give me a voter breakdown of every other state and the jerkoffs they elected or almost elected to office. Shall we start listing the names of all the dimwits in office that weren’t elected by Minnesotans?

Bishop on December 4, 2008 at 10:20 AM

On no . . . that’s not going to work. Minnesota has strayed so far from the herd that even frantic rationalization can’t legitimize it or protect it.

rplat on December 4, 2008 at 10:31 AM

The only way to save the American way is to start replacing the Dems and Reps with indipendents. Ones without the Billions of dollars supplied by crooks that they have to pay back.

Rick007 on December 4, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Voting is not a joke….vote counting is

JIMV on December 4, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Voting is sacred to me. The process of being qualified to vote is a joke. You can bring a utility bill as proof of ID. A utility bill. And the rest of the list of acceptable ID is equally absurd.

mrsmwp on December 4, 2008 at 10:41 AM

So, as I said, it’s disingenuous of Ed to only question Franken’s frivolous challenges when A) everyone knows Coleman has frivolous challenges and B) Franken’s team has at least relooked at theirs and withdrew some.

BS Tom. Hot Air makes no pretense about being an objective, non partisan news site (which the MSM claims to be, even though it isn’t). There is nothing wrong with Ed pointing out the frivolous suits by Franken. Anyone with an IQ should know that.

It’s disingenuous of you to pretend the Coleman doesn’t have frivolous challenges

is basically calling Ed a liar. And that is untrue. Hot Air is partly Ed’s soapbox, he gets to write about what he wants, much like I’ve endured my local newspaper, the Toledo Blade, smearing Joe the Plumber on a daily basis, even though the government searching of his records was wrong. As you did not comment on that, I guess that means you were in favor of those unlawful searches, right? It makes as much sense as your argument against Ed here.

rbj on December 4, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Minnesota and that idiot Franken are making a sick joke of our entire electoral process. The fact that Minnesota wants to make a U.S. senator out of their court jester says volumes about that state and it’s people.

rplat on December 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM

As a conservative born, raised and living in Minnesota you can go F–K YOURSELF

jims on December 4, 2008 at 10:41 AM

It’s also worth noting that some people speculate that the Coleman team spiked their challenges at one point in the recount to defer more of Franken’s votes until after the challenged ballots are looked at, thus raising Coleman’s lead in the “official” recount.

Now, that’s just speculation. And, in the end, it doesn’t really matter why they challenge specific ballots because in the end, they will be looked at and counted (or not) depending on the opinion of the election judges.

Those questions Ed asked are pointless and meant to try and paint Franken as a desperate candidate who will do anything to win (even though Coleman is doing the exact same thing and even though Coleman has not made the effort to eliminate any “frivolous” challenges as Franken has).

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Those questions Ed asked are pointless and meant to try and paint Franken as a desperate candidate who will do anything to win (even though Coleman is doing the exact same thing and even though Coleman has not made the effort to eliminate any “frivolous” challenges as Franken has).

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Is it your contention that Franken isn’t a desparate candidate who will do anything to win?

Just checking.

cs89 on December 4, 2008 at 10:45 AM

I wrote here about Fritz Knaak’s mocking of Tteam Franken’s claims that they’re now ahead. Knaak is Coleman’s lead recount attorney.

LFRGary on December 4, 2008 at 10:46 AM

is basically calling Ed a liar.

I think he’s playing dumb for partisan purposes. That’s being dishonest and exactly what we DON’T need in America right now. I first read Ed at CQ and liked him because he was smart and thoughful, and while I disagreed with him a lot, he made good points. But stuff like this post is just underhanded and devious. I have no problem criticizing him for it. Because I’ve seen him do better work. This is just BS.

There is nothing wrong with Ed pointing out the frivolous suits by Franken.

I think there is. You’ve obviously read why.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:47 AM

There is nothing wrong with Ed pointing out the frivolous suits by Franken.

I think there is. You’ve obviously read why.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:4

So you’re against the First Amendment? Just like you’re in favor of government snooping of those who dare to question Dear Leader?

The Franken challenges are getting hit here, because Al is the one who’s behind and is trying to gin up votes wherever he can, even where there aren’t valid votes.

And the fact that you still haven’t commented on Joe the Plumber is playing dumb for partisan purposes, which makes you dishonest. At least according to your logic. So I guess I get to say that Tom Shipley is dishonest.

rbj on December 4, 2008 at 10:51 AM

On no . . . that’s not going to work. Minnesota has strayed so far from the herd that even frantic rationalization can’t legitimize it or protect it.

Ah, well thank Gaia the nation has you to make rationalizations that somehow don’t include state voters who elected Murtha, Clinton, Boxer, Byrd, Durbin, Feingold, Harkin, Kennedy, Kerry…..**whew, all this typing**….Reid, Levin, Schumer, Sanders….

Man alive, I haven’t even gotten to the Congressmen yet; I need to take a break for a minute.

Bishop on December 4, 2008 at 10:53 AM

So you’re against the First Amendment? Just like you’re in favor of government snooping of those who dare to question Dear Leader?

No, I don’t think the Ohio government officials should have looked at “Joe The Plumbers” records. But I also don’t think Obama ordered them to do so or had any hand in that at all.

But you’re analogy doesn’t fly. Franken’s challenges has NOTHING to do with Joe the Plumber. You’re just building a strawman. It’s what people do when they can’t win an argument on its own merit.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Is it your contention that Franken isn’t a desparate candidate who will do anything to win?

I think he’s a candidate who’s trying to win and has done so within the limits of the law. Everything is on the up and up. The recount is going on. Votes will be counted and a winner declared.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:56 AM

So you’re against the First Amendment? Just like you’re in favor of government snooping of those who dare to question Dear Leader?

No, I don’t think the Ohio government officials should have looked at “Joe The Plumbers” records. But I also don’t think Obama ordered them to do so or had any hand in that at all.

But you’re analogy doesn’t fly. Franken’s challenges has NOTHING to do with Joe the Plumber. You’re just building a strawman. It’s what people do when they can’t win an argument on its own merit.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Um, I never said Obama ordered them to. Now you are building strawmen. I was merely applying your “logic”, if someone talks about one thing, but not another matter, then that person is dishonest against you. It’s your logic, which you used to call Ed dishonest, that I find offensive. Ed makes no pretense about being partisan, but that doesn’t make him dishonest or a liar. You owe Ed an apology.

rbj on December 4, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Al Franken is a buffoon & a jackass.
 
He is protesting because election officials will not count his votes twice?
 
Gag me with a spoon.
 
I’ll speculate that he would lose many more votes in the various Minneapolis precincts if all the ACORN registered voters who voted for this dolt could be identified, properly verified and ultimately disqualified. Only one Mickey Mouse vote per precinct is allowed.
 
He and his band of smarmy marxists just need to “move on!”.
 
I understand there is currently a need for more liberal commie marxist talk radio …. perhaps he can fill in there.

jaaakemm on December 4, 2008 at 11:02 AM

How on earth can there be any duplicates? gee someone must have done that.

johnnyU on December 4, 2008 at 11:02 AM

It’s disingenuous of you to pretend the Coleman doesn’t have frivolous challenges, considering there have been numerous challenges from him shown on the net to be frivolous (include many that were challenged because those who voted for Franken also voted for McCain).

I’ve looked at hundreds of those challenged ballots on the MPR site–there are many frivolous challenges on BOTH sides, including lots of ballots where people clearly voted for both Obama and Coleman. From what I’ve seen, about 90% of the challenges are frivolous, on BOTH sides.

There are many challenged ballots where the voter clearly filled in the oval for Coleman or Franken (and no one else), but wrote in the same name several times for County Judge or Soil Commissioner, and the ballots were challenged as having an “identifying mark”, ASSUMING that the person voted for him/herself, which may or may not be true–there was one person who voted for the four Beatles for Board or Education, two of whom are deceased. But why should these ballots be disqualified, when the vote for Senate was clear?

There are many challenged ballots where people mis-marked their ballots–instead of filling in the oval, they marked the oval with an X or check-mark, but did this throughout, doing the same thing for McCain or Obama and for a House candidate, as well as the Senate race. The counting machines might have missed these votes, but if the person clearly marked ONE Senate candidate, shouldn’t these votes count? Oh, by the way, among these ballots, there are about equal numbers of Coleman votes and Franken votes.

Another group marked X’s to the right of the candidate’s name (outside the oval) or drew ovals in the margin away from the designated space, for all the races on the ballot. These were probably missed by counting machines as undervotes, but could be counted based on “intent of the voter”, and these were about evenly split between Coleman and Franken.

There is another fairly large group of challenged ballots where people completely filled in the oval for one Senate candidate, but left a dot in the oval for another candidate, suggesting that the voter considered the “dotted” candidate, then changed his/her mind and completely filled in the oval for another candidate. These should probably go to the candidate whose oval is completely filled in, which are again about evenly split between Coleman and Franken, with a few Barkleys as well.

There’s another group where people filled in two ovals, but drew an X over one of them, trying to indicate that they wanted to “undo” one of the ovals, then vote for the other candidate. A counting machine would probably throw the ballot out as an over-vote, but it would be up to the Canvassing Board, interpreting Minnesota election law, to decide what to do, whether the “intent of the voter” is clear enough in each case.

From the challenged ballots I’ve looked at, there are probably only about 5 to 10% of them where the “intent of the voter” is unclear, and they should be thrown out. The rest of them strongly tend toward the candidate making the FEWEST challenges in a given county, where the difference of clear votes on challenged ballots tends to erase the difference in the number of challenges.

A good estimate of the final result would be to add the number of Coleman challenges to Franken’s votes, and add the number of Franken challenges to Coleman’s votes. At this point in the recount, Coleman leads by 316 votes, but he has made 156 more challenges than Franken, so this would give Coleman by 160 votes.

Then again, a new batch of uncounted ballots might show up in a precinct, or another precinct might discover they counted a batch twice, in which case all bets are off.

Steve Z on December 4, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Al Franken is a big, fat, ugly, liar.

Jdripper on December 4, 2008 at 11:03 AM

I was merely applying your “logic”, if someone talks about one thing, but not another matter, then that person is dishonest against you.

No, you’re skewing my logic. By logic is that Ed is criticizing Franken (or implying criticism by asking open ended questions) for something the candidate he supports is doing. It’s dishonest because it doesn’t give an accurate picture of what’s going on in the recount. Joe the Plumber has NOTHING to do with the recount or this post. My opinion of what happened in Ohio is irrelevant to this discussion.

And one can be a partisan and not be dishonest.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 11:12 AM

I do believe we have come to the place that if you were to open the dictionary and look for the word “assclown”, Al Franken’s picture will be next to the definition.

pilamaye on December 4, 2008 at 11:16 AM

No Tom. Ed is criticizing the frivolous appeals be Al. Franken is the losing candidate, and but for his challenges Norm Coleman would already be declared the winner. I’m sure Ed doesn’t mind legitimate challenges, he is merely pointing out the frivolous challenges by the losing candidate. Nothing dishonest about that. It is your attempts to smear Ed that is dishonest.

And one can be a partisan and not be dishonest.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Agreed. But here you are being partisan and dishonest. And I stand by my interpretation of your “logic.” You were silent on government snooping, so you must be in favor of it, or else you are dishonest.

rbj on December 4, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Franken is the losing candidate, and but for his challenges Norm Coleman would already be declared the winner.

So it’s OK for the leading candidate to have frivolous challenges?

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 11:20 AM

If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place? How many other useless challenges from Team Franken remain in the 2000+ challenges still extant?

Coleman’s team issued tons of frivolous challenges as well. A quick gloss of the challenges at http://senaterecount.startribune.com/ confirms this. Ed, why the need for a one-sided jab at Franken? Are you really so partisan that you can’t see that both sides are doing the same thing in this respect?

tneloms on December 4, 2008 at 11:24 AM

I think he’s a candidate who’s trying to win and has done so within the limits of the law. Everything is on the up and up. The recount is going on. Votes will be counted and a winner declared.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Please pardon my skepticism of your assurance that “everthing is on the up and up.” Franken is throwing everything he can at the wall, hoping something will stick and give him the votes he needs.

cs89 on December 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM

You were silent on government snooping, so you must be in favor of it, or else you are dishonest.

Actually, using your logic, you should agree with me. Ed is silent about Coleman’s frivolous challenges, so he must be OK with them.

I’m pointing out that there’s something wrong here if he’s OK with Coleman’s frivolous challenges, but not with Franken’s.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Franken is the losing candidate, and but for his challenges Norm Coleman would already be declared the winner.

So it’s OK for the leading candidate to have frivolous challenges?

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Neither one needs to have frivolous challenges. The trick is to win in the recount, and also advance the public perception that you have a shot of winning.

Having Franken challenge, say, 750 more ballots than Franken and be able to credibly claim “I’m ahead at this point” is not something Coleman can let happen to him.

If Franken issues frivolous challenges, Coleman has to do the same for the sake of public perception. It’s unfortunate, but you can’t keep sharpening your dagger while your opponent takes a 12-gauge out of the gunrack.

cs89 on December 4, 2008 at 11:29 AM

What will Franken do after this embarassing attempt implodes? Something about a deep end and going somewhere. Should be fun to watch.

THE CHOSEN ONE on December 4, 2008 at 11:31 AM

It’s also worth noting that some people speculate that the Coleman team spiked their challenges at one point in the recount to defer more of Franken’s votes until after the challenged ballots are looked at, thus raising Coleman’s lead in the “official” recount.

Now, that’s just speculation. And, in the end, it doesn’t really matter why they challenge specific ballots because in the end, they will be looked at and counted (or not) depending on the opinion of the election judges.

IMHO, it’s highly possible, even probable, that the Coleman team made just as many frivolous challenges as the Franken team. But Coleman is not only fighting Franken, but also the MEDIA. If Franken’s campaign challenged 3,000 perfectly valid Coleman votes because people wrote in their names for County Judge or dog-catcher, or slightly over-filled the Coleman oval, or voted for both Obama and Coleman, and the Coleman campaign didn’t respond tit-for-tat, what would the media be publishing for the last two weeks?

Minnesota Senate Recount: Franken Lead Rises to 2,800–Coleman Refuses to Concede

Then, if the review of the challenged ballots showed Coleman winning by between 100 and 200 votes, we would be treated to:

Canvassing Board Throws Election to Coleman–Was there Foul Play?

Perception IS reality when it comes to politics, where most voters are unaware of the facts. So the Coleman campaign HAD to make challenges on the same criteria that the Franken campaign did, so that there was no PERCEPTION that the recount was favoring Franken, unless VALID VOTES (not frivolous challenges) were found for Franken.

Let’s face it, this election is very nearly tied, and human nature being what it is, Coleman voters and Franken voters are equally likely to mis-mark their ballots, change their minds, or mess around by writing in the Lizard People or the Beatles. Hopefully, the intent of these voters will be fairly and accurately discerned by a hopefully impartial Canvassing Board.

But when the opponent (Franken) plays dirty, a candidate must meet him head-to-head in the arena, and not try to be too clean. Look what happened to Bob Dole and John McCain.

Steve Z on December 4, 2008 at 11:35 AM

It’s not that simple.

According to the Franken people, There are fewer recounted votes in that precinct than there were voters on November 4.

So, they argue, the votes weren’t double counted, but a lot are missing.

Link to liberal, but not crazy, website (fivethirtyeight.com).

YYZ on December 4, 2008 at 11:44 AM

The Senate will not bother stepping in to help Franken now. He is toast.

grdred944 on December 4, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Write, call, carry on, throw tantrums Minnesota to be sure this doesn’t happen again. I would be horrified if I lived there.

jeanie on December 4, 2008 at 11:47 AM

The truly scarry part here is that if Chamblis hadn’t won in Georgia, there is no doubt in my mind that the Dems. in the Senate would have seated Frankin. Now, not so much, but still a maybe, regardless of the vote. That’s why Frankin screams foul so many times–to throw it into the courts or the Senate.

TimothyJ on December 4, 2008 at 11:51 AM

You were silent on government snooping, so you must be in favor of it, or else you are dishonest.

Actually, using your logic, you should agree with me. Ed is silent about Coleman’s frivolous challenges, so he must be OK with them.

I’m pointing out that there’s something wrong here if he’s OK with Coleman’s frivolous challenges, but not with Franken’s.

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM

I’m not the one who has a problem with Ed writing about what he wants to write about. Where has Ed said he’s ok with Norm’s frivolous challenges. If Ed’s silent about it it does not mean he agrees with it, don’t put words into his mouth.

Franken is the losing candidate, and but for his challenges Norm Coleman would already be declared the winner.

So it’s OK for the leading candidate to have frivolous challenges?

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 11:20 AM

I doubt Norm would be making any challenges if he was declared the winner and Al conceded. The whole process is being driven by Franken, which is why there’s a focus on what Franken is doing.

rbj on December 4, 2008 at 12:01 PM

In case the point is lost on some, as it appears to have been over Shipley’s head, the reason the Comedian is giving back some of the challenged ballots is strategic: it’s to draw fire toward Coleman to put pressure on him to release the same number of ballots.

The comedian counts on shills like Shipley to go around trolling boards demanding that Coleman give up his “frivolous” claims.

Right on cue, Shipley. You and your ilk are more transparent than you think.

jeff_from_mpls on December 4, 2008 at 12:03 PM

If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place?

Because they attempt to get through each ballot in about 5 seconds and there’s not a lot of time to make a judgement, so they err on the side of caution.

It’s disingenuous of you to pretend the Coleman doesn’t have frivolous challenges, considering there have been numerous challenges from him shown on the net to be frivolous (include many that were challenged because those who voted for Franken also voted for McCain).

How many other useless challenges from Team Franken remain in the 2000+ challenges still extant?

Probably less than Coleman, now that they’ve withdrawn 600.

The precinct recounted the ballots and discovered a discrepancy in the count, not ballots that never appeared to exist until weeks after the election. Recounts exist to correct those kinds of errors.

Are you implying that the ballots found in Maplewood should not be counted? They are legal ballots that were misplaced and not counted on election day. Should this kind of human error not be correct during a recount?

Tom_Shipley on December 4, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Uh, Tom, please be aware that what you’re saying is the Team Coleman is doing exactly what Team Franken is doing. To which I say “FINALLY!!!!!”. It’s about time the Repubs found a pair and decided to fight back.
Tom-sounds like you don’t like that.
Well, buck up buddy. I’m counting on this type of approach to be the “Hope and Change” of the Republican Party, to borrow a phrase with which you might be familiar.

Amendment X on December 4, 2008 at 12:04 PM

YYZ on December 4, 2008 at 11:44 AM

A perfect excuse to “turn up” more votes then. And of course those newly discovered will be heavily in favor of one candidate only.

Sir Napsalot on December 4, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Another projection based on today’s numbers:

Currently Coleman is 316 votes ahead:

There are only 2 counties yet to count. Allocating the rest of the votes as the votes to date have gone gives Franken another 48 votes. Coleman leads by 236.

Here’s a range for the contested ballots. Method 1 is very good for Coleman. This apportions the contested ballots according to the vote totals in the county, less 20% for truly bad ballots. This gives Coleman 80 additional votes and he wins by 296 votes.

Method 2 assumes that 20% of the ballots are truly bad, and the other 80% goes for the opponent of the person who challenges the ballot. This gives Franken an additional 125 votes since Coleman has the most challenges. In this case Coleman wins by 111 votes.

So, overall I’m giving a range of 111 to 296 for Coleman, depending on how the contested ballots come out.

Buckland on December 4, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Marc Elias, Team Franken’s attorney, says that the withdrawals won’t affect the outcome of the election. If that’s true, why did they issue those challenges in the first place?

The same reason ACORN exists: To whittle away at our faith in the very process.

Jim Treacher on December 4, 2008 at 12:17 PM

I was in the bathroom taking a dump, and LOW and BEHOLD, there was a roll of Franken votes RIGHT THERE in the stall.

44Magnum on December 4, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Man alive, I haven’t even gotten to the Congressmen yet; I need to take a break for a minute.

Bishop on December 4, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Just because there are fools everywhere, it doesn’t excuse the ones in Minnesota.

Schadenfreude on December 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Another projection based on today’s numbers:

Currently Coleman is 316 votes ahead:

There are only 2 counties yet to count. Allocating the rest of the votes as the votes to date have gone gives Franken another 48 votes. Coleman leads by 236.

By my count, 316 – 48 = 268, not 236.

Here’s a range for the contested ballots. Method 1 is very good for Coleman. This apportions the contested ballots according to the vote totals in the county, less 20% for truly bad ballots. This gives Coleman 80 additional votes and he wins by 296 votes.

If the 80 additonal votes are correct, this would give Coleman a lead of 268 + 80 = 348. But Method 1 doesn’t seem accurate. An analysis of challenged ballots in 6 counties shows that Method 2 is probably more accurate.

Method 2 assumes that 20% of the ballots are truly bad, and the other 80% goes for the opponent of the person who challenges the ballot. This gives Franken an additional 125 votes since Coleman has the most challenges. In this case Coleman wins by 111 votes.

Coleman has made 156 more challenges than Franken, so this would give Franken a net of 0.80 x 156 = 125 votes. This would give Coleman a lead of 268 – 125 = 143 votes.

From the challenged ballots I’ve looked at, only about 5% to 10% of them are truly “bad”, where no vote can be allocated. I’m assuming that those showing Franken votes were challenged by Coleman, and those showing Coleman votes were challenged by Franken. In this case, Franken would pick up between 0.90 x 156 = 140 and 0.95 x 156 = 148 votes in the challenges, leaving a Coleman lead between 120 and 128 votes.

Of course, there are a few unknowns that could throw this estimation off. Are Franken challenges more likely to be frivolous than Coleman challenges? Are urban voters (who favor Franken) more likely to make challengeable mistakes on ballots than rural and suburban voters, who favor Coleman? Will the Canvassing Board give votes to a candidate receiving an X or check mark in his oval, when the voter made the same marks in other races? Will they give votes to a candidate getting a completely-filled oval when an opponent has a dot or partially-filled oval? Will they give a vote for a filled-in oval if there is another filled-in oval with an X over it, or will that be tossed out as an overvote?

A lot will depend on the criteria used by the Canvassing Board to evaluate the challenged ballots. There are a lot of them that any impartial observer would consider as valid votes for either candidate. Hopefully, they will develop fair criteria for judging these ballots, and apply them impartially to all challenged ballots, regardless of which candidate each ballot appears to favor.

Steve Z on December 4, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Tom, Hot Air is not subject to the Fairness Doctrine. Ed can write a narrowly focused post on Franken’s BS challenges if he wants to. Heck, he can write a 200-page post on Franken’s goofy lip contortions and never once mention that Coleman looks like Lyle Lovett.

You simply can’t force someone to write something on their own blog. But even if you could, is the ‘him too’ defense all you’ve got to support Franken?

James on December 4, 2008 at 1:38 PM

I wish . . . oh how I wish there were a way to end this, with Coleman winning by the 27 votes predicted for Franken by some leftist bean-counter. If for nothing else then to watch this unstable ankle-biter literally turn into Gollum.

The Therapist on December 4, 2008 at 2:06 PM

For those of you upset with our entire state, you are correct it totally sucks up here! Don’t come here ever! Even for a visit! It’s really really bad here! Stay away!

sabbott on December 4, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Good God!
can we look any more foolish?
I think that we should some how get the credit card companies to help set some sort of system to insure a better election system.
I hate to admit this , but the more I hear, the MORE I lean to a voter id card with bio metrics.

ColdWarrior57 on December 4, 2008 at 2:32 PM

“I was in the bathroom taking a dump, and LOW and BEHOLD, there was a roll of Franken votes RIGHT THERE in the stall.”

Sounds to me like you just brought another Al Franken into the world.

NoDonkey on December 4, 2008 at 2:33 PM

( in best shrek voice I can muster)
Now donkey dont be that way, if you cant say anything nice ….

ColdWarrior57 on December 4, 2008 at 2:39 PM

Has anyone ever seen Shipley and Al Freundlich in the same place at the same time?

Del Dolemonte on December 4, 2008 at 4:48 PM

Wow, never thought I would say this, but Franken is making Gore in 2000 look down right classy.

RobertInLexington on December 4, 2008 at 8:17 PM

The Walnut Voters strike back LOL!

Dr Evil on December 4, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Minnesota can still go to hell even if Franken doesn’t win. It was too damn close. Those morons up there need to find themselves another country. I’m going to start a campaign to give that sorry state to the Sudan.

Percy_Peabody on December 4, 2008 at 9:39 AM

………need any help!

try again later on December 4, 2008 at 9:43 PM