Minnesota Recount: Missing ballots will stay missing

posted at 6:25 pm on December 8, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The state of Minnesota has apparently given up the search for the allegedly missing 133 ballots in a Minneapolis precinct.  The precinct itself never reported the ballots missing, but instead told the Secretary of State that they had likely counted 133 ballots twice by accident on Election Night.  The decision will allow Minnesota to finally end its recount and certify the results over the objection of Al Franken, who will remain behind Norm Coleman in the Senate race:

The missing 133 ballots in a Minneapolis precinct are going to stay missing – at least for now.

City spokesman Matt Laible said today that officials had suspended the search for the ballots that began after they turned up missing in the waning hours of last week’s U.S. Senate recount.

The matter will be turned over to the state Canvassing Board, which will decide whether the 133 will be officially counted, Laible said.

The ballots at issue are from the Dinkytown neighborhood, a heavily Democratic area, and a comparison of Election Day results and recount totals indicates that not counting them could cost Franken a net of 46 votes. That has prompted his campaign to complain loudly about the disappearance. The campaign of Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, however, expressed skepticism that the ballots were truly lost.

After the discovery of the ballots’ disappearance Wednesday, city elections officials scoured the warehouse in northeast Minneapolis where the recount was conducted, on the belief that the ballots, in a single envelope, had made it from the church to the warehouse.

The Star Tribune shows Coleman with a 192-vote lead, but that doesn’t include the new numbers from the Dinkytown precinct.  With the recount, Coleman would lead by 238, which is better than his Election Day lead, with the ballot challenges yet to be heard.  Franken’s team withdrew another 425 of those challenges today, lowering their number by over 1,000 since the beginning of the week.

Franken got more bad news from the counties.  Despite an advisory from DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, several counties have refused to sort through the rejected absentee ballots to look for any rejected for non-statutory reasons.  Even some who had started to make a “fifth pile” ended that effort on the advice of their attorneys, who counseled the counties that doing so could constitute preferential behavior in the absence of a court order.

It’s increasingly clear that Franken won’t win the recount.  Now, without the possibility of reaching 60 Democratic seats in the Senate, Harry Reid won’t have much motivation to make war in the Senate next year in an attempt to seat Franken.  The Wall Street Journal discussed this last night:

This may be headed for court, but it’s no longer likely that Franken will find a judge willing to overturn an election for him.


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…the Dinkytown neighborhood, a heavily Democratic area..

There’s a good joke here somewhere. Dinkytown?

BacaDog on December 8, 2008 at 6:33 PM

In a way it’s too bad that they won’t have the 60. That way it would be lacrima cristi who’d make all the decisions. Leading, and doing, is so much harder than poodle yapping.

Entelechy on December 8, 2008 at 6:33 PM

Just because Harry Reid may not play enabler doesn’t mean Franken won’t mount court challenges, etc, ad nauseum.

darkpixel on December 8, 2008 at 6:35 PM

Is Dinkytown kind of like Munchkinland?

Mark1971 on December 8, 2008 at 6:38 PM

Franken is a good joke gone bad.

tarpon on December 8, 2008 at 6:40 PM

How big are the houses in Dinkytown,cars,dogs,cats……

Alex Martinez on December 8, 2008 at 6:40 PM

good, its nice to see a Republican win in a the mud brawl.

rob verdi on December 8, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Dinkytown. Why all of the references to brain size since the election?

snaggletoothie on December 8, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Because of what happened in Georgia, and now that the risk-to-benefit ratio has risen enough because of it, I think we won’t see any “heroic efforts” by Democrats to steal the election. No more ballots falling out of cars. Just the standard shamelessness finagling and verbal ruthlessness that we’ve all come to know and love here in Minnesota. Coleman goes back to Washington, and Franken will write more books for lunatics. So Merry Christmas DFL, Merry Christmas to all.

RBMN on December 8, 2008 at 6:45 PM

This may be headed for court, but it’s no longer likely that Franken will find a judge willing to overturn an election for him.

Great! I think Franken should pay for all court costs whether he wins or loses.

4shoes on December 8, 2008 at 6:47 PM

Dinkytown is a neighborhood that borders the U of M. Definitely Frankencountry.

Wethal on December 8, 2008 at 6:49 PM

I heard Dinkytown has decided every Minnesota election since the Civil War.

Chuck Schick on December 8, 2008 at 6:49 PM

For all the great unwashed, Dinkytown is the oddball name of a retail area adjacent to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, with the usual college town stuff. Bob Dylan hung out in the bars and coffee houses or whatever in his early days. I’ve read a number of stories about the source of the name, Dinkytown, but there appears to be no definitive history.

Laugh on.

Skipper50 on December 8, 2008 at 6:51 PM

KOOL….Many new blogs today….oh wait….gee….no substance…
`yawn`…

jerrytbg on December 8, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Berg said there are more ballots but Coleman is hiding them…

right2bright on December 8, 2008 at 6:51 PM

How Dinkytown got its name:
http://www.dinkytownminneapolis.com/about/index.asp

RBMN on December 8, 2008 at 6:52 PM

Franken is a good joke gone bad.

tarpon on December 8, 2008 at 6:40 PM

FTFY

Vic on December 8, 2008 at 6:57 PM

What is truly amusing is that those far left whackjobs who were so euphoric on election night with an Obama win and possible filibuster proof Senate and one of their own potentially winning in Minnesota have been bitch-slapped repeatedly since.

The Black Caesar is not going to make waves. He brought in all the Clintonites that the far left hate.

The GOP held onto Georgia and Minnesota (would have held Alaska if it weren’t for that crook Stevens)

The GOP even picked up a black-dominated district in New Orleans.

No tax repeal, no additional taxes on oil and money Pelosi had slated to the auto industry to go ‘green’ is being used to pay the fat drunken slobs that build the cars.

See, it’s not all that bad.

grdred944 on December 8, 2008 at 6:59 PM

Apparently HippieTown was already taken….

BigWyo on December 8, 2008 at 6:59 PM

What is truly amusing is that those far left whackjobs who were so euphoric on election night with an Obama win and possible filibuster proof Senate and one of their own potentially winning in Minnesota have been bi$ch-slapped repeatedly since.

The Black Caesar is not going to make waves. He brought in all the Clintonites that the far left hate.

The GOP held onto Georgia and Minnesota (would have held Alaska if it weren’t for that crook Stevens)

The GOP even picked up a black-dominated district in New Orleans.

No tax repeal, no additional taxes on oil and money Pelosi had slated to the auto industry to go ‘green’ is being used to pay the fat drunken slobs that build the cars.

See, it’s not all that bad.

grdred944 on December 8, 2008 at 7:00 PM

I’ll be so glad when he crawls back under the slime and I don’t have to see his ugly mug again.

Bambi on December 8, 2008 at 7:00 PM

I look in the mirror and say “you are a special guy, and I like you.”

yikes.. smalley

I met Ritchie when attending the Republican convention.. smooth guy.. Could have fooled me.. Wouldn’t have expected his actions.

Jason Gillman on December 8, 2008 at 7:04 PM

Why do I expect Franken to fight bitterly before this is all over? And then whine post-election. I expect one of the first places he’ll apppear to whine will be over on Olbermann’s show on MSNBC.

Carl on December 8, 2008 at 7:10 PM

Al Franken…

Do we really want another politician that sounds like Barney Frank?

BVM on December 8, 2008 at 7:10 PM

I’ve read a number of stories about the source of the name, Dinkytown, but there appears to be no definitive history.

Laugh on.

Skipper50 on December 8, 2008 at 6:51 PM

‘the answer my friends, is Blowin’ in the Wind, the answer is Blowin’ in the Wind…’

Red State State of Mind on December 8, 2008 at 7:10 PM

No tax repeal, no additional taxes on oil

Not on Jan 21st, no. Give it 6 months and you will get all of that and then some. Or do you think all those schools will get new windows and a new furnace for free?

angryed on December 8, 2008 at 7:12 PM

From:
The Rake: Desire Revisited
by Hans Eisenbeis
posted on Mar. 22, 2002
http://www.secretsofthecity.com/magazine/reporting/features/desire-revisited

It was fall, 1959 when 18-year-old Robert Zimmerman arrived from Hibbing, Minnesota. [...] The summer before he arrived in Dinkytown, Dylan actually traveled to North Dakota to audition for Bobby Vee’s band. Not yet a star in his own right, Bobby Vee had a regular need for backup touring musicians, and when Bobby Zimmerman showed up in the summer of 1959 calling himself “Elston Gunn,” he let the kid play the piano for a couple of gigs. But they soon parted ways—Vee wasn’t overly impressed with Zimmerman. Anyway, Zimmerman was on his way to the big city.

When Bobby arrived at the University in the late summer of 1959, he was a typical Jewish boy ready to matriculate in general studies like Theater Arts and Astronomy. Of course, he’d brought along his guitar and his delusions of grandeur. But he still respected the wishes of his parents, who wanted him to be a good student. Zimmerman signed up for classes and made plans to rush Sigma Alpha Mu, the Jewish fraternity at the University where at least one of his cousins had rushed. But like so many abortive freshmen before him, Bobby suddenly and spectacularly went to seed. And like so many University freshmen before and since, the corrupting influence was Dinkytown.

RBMN on December 8, 2008 at 7:26 PM

“This may be headed for court, but it’s no longer likely that Franken will find a judge willing to overturn an election for him.:

I’m sure the Dems can find one liberal judge in the state who believes that Al Franken should be in the senate.

Just like Kalifornia’s Supreme Court, judges know what’s best regardless of how the people vote.

GarandFan on December 8, 2008 at 7:34 PM

Is this where he’s from?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515r%2BbkpC8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg

eaglewingz08 on December 8, 2008 at 7:40 PM

Dinky minded Libtards living in Dinky town and they can’t count over a hundred without screwing it up.. It’s so expected it’s not even funny.

Guardian on December 8, 2008 at 8:13 PM

Ahem…when is the Republican going to say something? Or has he lost his voice?

Coronagold on December 8, 2008 at 8:52 PM

RBMN on December 8, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Strangely enough, earlier that same year, Zimmerman/Dylan attended a Buddy Holly show in Duluth. Two nights later, Buddy’s plane went down in Clear Lake Iowa.

Del Dolemonte on December 8, 2008 at 8:59 PM

I don’t get this missing ballot or counted twice stuff.
When I voted on election day I walked into the precinct showed my ID and then signed a slip of paper that stated that I was a registered voter at that precinct and was given a ballot. I than voted and the ballot was scanned and placed into a box.
Everybody who voted did the same as I had to. So at the end of the day when the votes are tallied the number of signed ID slips should match the number of ballots cast.If you have more ballots cast than signed slips somebody is stuffing the ballot box. More slips than ballots someone is stealing votes.
If the people running the election at the precinct can’t keep track of two separate stacks of paper they are truly incompetent and should be not allowed to work as precinct workers in the future.

jellybelly on December 8, 2008 at 9:28 PM

I tried to get them some ah…missing ballots but I can’t mess up a bubble ballot enough to be believable. This must be a Minnesota thang- turning a bubble ballot into performance art;)

Dr Evil on December 8, 2008 at 9:54 PM

Ace and Allah please note: Even Patrick, Andrew’s assistant and side kick, thinks his boss’ Palin Trig Trutherism is nuts

I used to defend Andrew. But this over the top attack on Palin just showed how mentally unstable he has become. It was not even close to rational, it was nuts.

I hope one day he will come to his senses. But I doubt it will happen

Mr. Joe on December 8, 2008 at 10:57 PM

From an evidentiary perspective, the issue facing the canvassing board is quite extraordinary. Should the board count ballots whose existence cannot now be verified in any respect?

Even if those ballots existed (which now seems extremely doubtful) how could the original count be reinstated now, if there are no ballots?

And yet, one of the members of the canvassing board, Secretary of State Mark Rich, is openly suggesting that they could always go back to the original count!

As reported by Reuters, in this recent story:

Officials combed through a Minneapolis church where many college students voted and a warehouse where ballots were stored in search of a packet containing 133 missing ballots.

“It’s just one packet, it’s not very alarming,” Ritchie, a Democrat, said in an interview with Reuters. The canvassing board can accept the precinct’s original election night vote total as an alternative, he added.

Why is he taking on the role of a partisan participant, by suggesting a way to reinstate a questionable “count” that would give a distinct advantage to one of the parties?

Precinct officials have already admitted that at the time of the recount, they counted the “133″ ballots twice in their initial count. The ballots do not now exist, so there is no way of verifying the actual votes on those ballots, or even whether one or more of them might be open to legitimate challenge. So how could they go back to the “original count?”

Why is Coleman’s camp not demanding that Richie withdraw from any further consideration of this issue? He is acting in an extremely partisan manner by making such a statement.

And, how is it that they have been going through the motions of ostensibly “searching” for an envelope of ballots that were lost — knowing that they do not exist?

My understanding is that, under Minnesota law, that even with “same day” registration, each precinct obtains a pretty solid count of the actual number of people whose votes count on election day. Those who were previously registered and show up, sign the register. I assume that those who “same day register” also sign some cumulative register of sorts as well.

So, if you add the number of people who were previously registered and signed in, to the number who registered that day, and then add to that the total number of absentee ballots cast, that should be exactly how many people who voted that day in that precinct.

If the number of ballots reported to the county on election night from that precinct exceeded the total above, there are simply no missing ballots . . . they just counted some of them twice.

Trochilus on December 8, 2008 at 11:23 PM

Someone take Franken ice fishing and stuff him in the hole like Rasputin.

Do us all a favor.

Mr. Joe on December 9, 2008 at 12:08 AM

The day can only come soon enough where someone will say the name……

“Al Franken”

….. and the response is

“Excuse me? Come again? What’s a Franklin what’s it?”

Seven Percent Solution on December 9, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Who is facing reality? Al Franken? The Democrat leadership? Minnesota? I wouldn’t assume that Franken has played out his hand. The Dems always seem to have one more dirty trick up their sleeve. I’m waiting for a concession speech from Franken before I accept anything as gospel.

SKYFOX on December 9, 2008 at 6:15 AM

Al Franken, I FOUND MORE MISSING BALLOTS!!!!

Elvis has been using them to make paper airplanes while he is on break at that Burger King in Newark he works at.

pilamaye on December 9, 2008 at 6:31 AM

How important was Chambliss’ landslide win? How important to the future of America was Sarah Palin’s visit to Georgia one day before the vote?

technopeasant on December 9, 2008 at 7:04 AM

So, does this end the aborted political career of midget boy Franken?

Jaibones on December 9, 2008 at 7:22 AM

I’m still waiting for Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern to come up with five hundred newly discovered ballots for Frankenfurter. Then we’d have the Minn Secy of State immediately certify Franken the winner like that RINO in Washington did for selected not elected Wash Gov. Gregoire.

eaglewingz08 on December 9, 2008 at 7:31 AM

Al Franken = FAIL

grapeknutz on December 9, 2008 at 7:54 AM

don’t get this missing ballot or counted twice stuff.
When I voted on election day I walked into the precinct showed my ID and then signed a slip of paper that stated that I was a registered voter at that precinct and was given a ballot. I than voted and the ballot was scanned and placed into a box.
Everybody who voted did the same as I had to. So at the end of the day when the votes are tallied the number of signed ID slips should match the number of ballots cast.If you have more ballots cast than signed slips somebody is stuffing the ballot box. More slips than ballots someone is stealing votes.
If the people running the election at the precinct can’t keep track of two separate stacks of paper they are truly incompetent and should be not allowed to work as precinct workers in the future.

jellybelly on December 8, 2008 at 9:28 PM

I’m not sure whether “jellybelly” lives in Minnesota, or whether that’s the way elections are run there. Where I voted (CT), the precinct has logbooks containing the names and addresses of all the registered voters, and a voter shows ID, is given a ballot, and the voter’s name is crossed off in the logbook as having voted.

Under such a system, if a batch of ballots was counted twice, the number of counted votes would be greater than the number of crossed-off names in the logbook, and this should be easy to check.

Has anyone counted the number of people who showed up to vote in Dinkytown, and compared it to the number of ballots? If they agree, THERE ARE NO MISSING BALLOTS!

Does anyone from Minnesota know what happens if, after the Canvassing Board reviews the challenged ballots, Coleman is declared the winner? Can he be sworn into the Senate in January, or can Franken prevent him from being seated by court challenges?

Steve Z on December 9, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Congress should pass a law that calls for every resident of Minnesota to be sterilized. In any other state (even California), a clown like Franken would have gotten less than 40% of the vote. Unfortunately, the clown would be a Senator today if there hadn’t been a third party candidate who took votes away from him. That’s pathetic. The people of Minnesota should be aahamed. Their state is putrid and should be kicked out of the Union.

Percy_Peabody on December 9, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Franken is a good joke gone bad.

tarpon on December 8, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Just how do you define ‘good’? In my view, Franken is a bad joke made worse by his ego, his stolen millions (thank you Air America) and his chutzpa.

SeniorD on December 9, 2008 at 11:50 AM

As I am posting this, as of 5:45 pm (EST) or so today, December 9, 2008:

The Secretary of State’s website shows (and has for most of the day) that for the Ward 3, Precinct 1 tally in Hennepin County, they have apparently re-posted the original vote tally from the early morning of November 5th. That re-posting was done as of as of 8:51:57 this am, December 9th.

Advantage Franken. The difference is now a 192 vote lead for Coleman, at least on that portion of the SOS website.

But curiously, the statewide recount tally does not as yet reflect the change, as the tally for that Precinct is still obviously not included.

I’m curious . . . does this mean that the canvassing board has voted in favor of the “proposal” by the Sec’y of State to go back to the original count, even though the precinct had taken the position that they had double counted ballots? And even though they cannot produce the ballots?

There may be several possible “good” reasons they cannot produce those ballots . . . reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with a valid election!

Why the discrepancy in what is posted?

In addition, reportedly during the search for the “missing” ballots, which cannot be found, but which are being counted none the less, they claim that during the “search” they found some 12 additional ballots — supposedly 12 military absentee ballots that were never counted, and that have not been in a secure chain of custody! Franken is demanding they be “counted.”

The summary information for that precinct is somewhat astounding.

At 7 am election day morning, there were a total of 1,690 registered voters in the precinct. A total of 901 people registered that day to vote in that precinct alone! There were a total of 1,778 “signatures” that day, plus 42 military ballots and 8 federal absentees, for a total of 2,028 total votes cast.

A little quick math indicates that there was an astounding 53.3% increase in registrations during election day alone!

In fact, 44.4% of all the people who voted that day in that precinct were people who registered that day.

Anyone who knows about “same day” registration in Minnesota, knows that any previously registered voter can “vouch” for someone — i.e., sign a form avering that the new voter registration applicant (who may or may not not have anything even approaching a valid ID) actually lives in the precinct! In fact, a previously registered voter can “vouch” for up to 15 brand new voters in one day! A few partisans, in other words, can completely change the outcome of a race.

And the election officials are thereupon obliged to register that new person, and hand the person a ballot — even if they had no ID at all!

Now, just think about the “process” in that small precinct for a moment as well! Consider that over the course of 13 hours (7 am to 8 pm) 901 people were registered to vote in that tiny precinct.

That would be 69.3 approved registrations per hour, that is, if it was non stop for the entire 13 hours, with no slow down or breaks in the action, which of course, is highly unlikely! That is less that one approval in every single minute for the entire 13 hours — about one every 52 seconds!

Boy, they must have been really checking whatever credentials and sworn statements that were produced very carefully, huh?

Plus, consider that the election officials only do this process once or twice a year, so it’s not like they get used to being thorough or efficient about it!

How many fraudulent votes would any reasonable person guess probably slipped right through the cracks in Ward 3, Precinct 1 of the City of Minneapolis on November 4th this year?

And, mind you, they did not set the record in Minnesota, or even in the City of Minneapolis, for the highest number of same day registrations that day.

For example, Ward 6, Precinct 1 in Minneapolis registered 1,178 new voters on election day, November 4th. But they has 3,522 prior voter registrants, so they undoubtedly had or anticipated a bigger operation. Still, they “newly registered” 90.6 people every hour, giving them about 40 seconds per application!

But it looks like Ward 3, Precinct 1 had the highest percentage increase in the city.

Trochilus on December 9, 2008 at 5:48 PM

Error: Said 1778, meant 1978. Sorry.

Trochilus on December 9, 2008 at 8:41 PM