Minnesota Recount: Canvassing board “recommends” absentee-ballot review

posted at 2:33 pm on December 12, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Al Franken won a round at the Canvassing Board in Minnesota’s recount today.  While they don’t have the authority to order counties to reconsider absentee ballots, they issued a recommendation for the counties to review the ballots and identify ballots rejected for non-statutory reasons.  A state official estimated that the number of potential “fifth pile” ballots could approach 1,600:

Several hundred absentee ballots have been wrongfully rejected in the Nov. 4 election and that total could more than double by the time all Minnesota counties turn in their reviews, the secretary of state’s office this morning told a panel charged with overseeing the recount in the overtime U.S. Senate contest between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic rival Al Franken.

Moments later, the five-member state Canvassing Board voted unanimously to ask election officials in all 87 counties to count the improperly rejected ballots. However, the board members stressed that they only have the authority to make a recommendation.

The board was told this morning that 49 counties have examined 4,823 rejected absentee ballots and 638 of those were determined by local officials to have been wrongfully rejected.

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann also reported that if that trend holds — with more than 13 percent of the rejected absentee ballots tossed improperly — there would end up being nearly 1,600 wrongfully set aside.

That may not be enough to make a difference.  The two candidates had far less than the 0.5% difference in votes that automatically triggered the recount.  If 1600 ballots get added back into the mix, Franken would have to win at least 193 more ballots than Norm Coleman or as many as 239, depending on what the board does with the Minneapolis precinct count and the 133 supposedly missing ballots. In a two-way race, Franken would have to outpace Coleman by a 56-44 pace at the lower number, far outside the gap seen in this race and far outside anything suggested by absentee ballot returns.  And that doesn’t account for Bean Barkely’s candidacy in the race, which will undoubtedly account for a significant percentage of those ballots as well.

For this to make a difference, Franken would have to win a lot more ballot challenges than Coleman with the Canvassing Board.  So far, that looks like a long shot, too.

Coleman may have new problems than just the recount, however.  The FBI has begun to look into allegations of corruption first leveled by Franken during the final days of the campaign:

The FBI is investigating allegations in two lawsuits accusing a friend and political supporter of Sen. Norm Coleman of attempting to funnel $75,000 to Coleman from the coffers of a Texas company that the friend controls.

Sources familiar with the probe said FBI agents in Texas have begun gathering information and contacting people associated with Houston-based Deep Marine Technology Inc., an underwater services company controlled by Nasser Kazeminy, a wealthy businessman whose flagship investment company is based in Bloomington.

Paul McKim, the founder and former CEO of Deep Marine, has alleged in a lawsuit against Kazeminy that Kazeminy steered $75,000 in payments last year to Hays Companies Inc. of Minneapolis, a large insurance agency that employs Coleman’s wife, Laurie Coleman.

McKim’s lawsuit alleges that Kazeminy told executives at Deep Marine that Coleman didn’t make enough money as a senator and that the payments to Hays were to aid Coleman financially.

Coleman says he welcomes the investigation, and the FBI has not made any allegations of wrongdoing.  Still, with the Blagojevich scandal in the headlines and the election still in the balance, this couldn’t come at a worse time for Minnesota’s incumbent Senator.


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The Dems are better at cheating in elections, so if this happens expect Coleman to lose.

Sheerq on December 12, 2008 at 2:34 PM

depending on what the board does with the Minneapolis precinct count and the 133 supposedly missing ballots

I think the board stated that they should revert back to the vote count from election night.

strictnein on December 12, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Gulp.

BadgerHawk on December 12, 2008 at 2:36 PM

It’s the ONLY WAY Franken can win is to cheat!

grapeknutz on December 12, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Finally. Now we can at last get a Lizard Person elected judicially appointed to Congress.

rbj on December 12, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Oh, and BTW, has Al Franken finally gotten caught up with his tax problems, and if so, can he give some pointers to Charlie Rangel?

rbj on December 12, 2008 at 2:39 PM

Coleman voted for the bailout. nothing wrong with clearing a few RINOs out of the Senate. then we can have a principled, determined voting record to show the American public in 2010

lodge on December 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

I’m sure Minnesota won’t mind if Wisconsin’s votes are included

Kini on December 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

It’s the ONLY WAY Franken can win is to cheat!

grapeknutz on December 12, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Neither of the candidates has cheated.

YYZ on December 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

lodge on December 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

If the Senate Dems can break a filibuster, you will not recognize this country in four years.

Sheerq on December 12, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Well, I guess MN voters will get what they truly deserve: a clown!

newton on December 12, 2008 at 2:43 PM

This is absolutely the most ridiculous crap I’ve ever witnessed. Please, somebody, talk that idiotic state into seceding . . . and if they want that moron court jester Franken as their senator then give him to them, they deserve each other.

rplat on December 12, 2008 at 2:43 PM

They will not stop counting until Franken has more votes than Coleman. Is there any surprise here?

portlandon on December 12, 2008 at 2:45 PM

If the Senate Dems can break a filibuster, you will not recognize this country in four years.

As opposed to nationalizing the banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies and car industry and running up a 11 trillion deficit under a Republican President?

lodge on December 12, 2008 at 2:47 PM

As opposed to nationalizing the banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies and car industry and running up a 11 trillion deficit under a Republican President?

lodge on December 12, 2008 at 2:47 PM

You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Sheerq on December 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM

How did Georgia count the run-off in a few hours, yet MN is taking 2 months to count its Senate vote?

angryed on December 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM

It’s a good news day for Franken, no doubt about it. But the only prediction that’s sure to come true is that this will all end up in court eventually.

starfleet_dude on December 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM

starfleet_dude on December 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM

Starfleet Japanese cartoon (and Brian May EP)?

Sheerq on December 12, 2008 at 2:50 PM

The Soroscrat controlled canvassing committee and the Soroscrat Secretary of State have determined that more ballots must be counted. “We will not stop counting and finding ballots until Franken wins.” I am surprised

sdd on December 12, 2008 at 2:51 PM

It amazes me at how good democrats are at two things: cheating to win/steal elections, and obfuscating the truth. If they put half the effort into good governance and ethics reform within their own party they’d be a pretty good party.

t.ferg on December 12, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Good lord . . . this entire country is a cesspool of corruption, sleaze, incompetence and crookedness . . . just makes me so proud to be a member of Michelle Obama’s America.

rplat on December 12, 2008 at 3:02 PM

…the FBI has not made any allegations of wrongdoing. Still,… this couldn’t come at a worse time for Minnesota’s incumbent Senator.

Any guesses about how much air time these allegation will get compared to the amount of coverage of Franken’s taxes, or Air America’s defrauding of a charity to pay his salary?

I think the odds would run from about 10 times down to “only” 3 times.

drunyan8315 on December 12, 2008 at 3:06 PM

So now we will see Franken pull out a stunning upset and win!

Until now, I had assumed a fair count of all the legitimate votes. However, by placing the definition of ‘legitimate’ into new hands, there will be a surge of ‘uncounted yet somehow now valid’ absentee votes in places where Franken held an advantage.

This election recount is now over. Franken and his political cronies will stuff ballots into the ‘wrongly rejected’ absentee piles untill he has won.

Freddy on December 12, 2008 at 3:09 PM

Let Franken have the seat. Good luck to Coleman, but if MN wants a clown to represent them, the best thing to do is to let them have it.

This is what 52 percent of the nation deserves. Let Congress turn into a circus, and let us all watch as they make fools of themselves, while the people demand goodie bags from the government.

This is the beginning of the end for this nation.

newton on December 12, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Democrats figure they deserve these positions. Whenever anyone votes against their guy, they go nuts all over the Internet with incredulity that anyone could possibly vote for the other guy.

They blame “backwards” states; naming themselves “progressive,” natch. Enlightenment, they figure, belongs only to them. Everyone else is flat-out stupid, and a hick to boot. There CAN be no other way of viewing anything except their opinion.

Therefore, whenever there is a close vote, they will keep counting the ballots until their guy wins. They will declare it over only when the “correct” guy wins.

I’ll be surprised if this turns out any differently. It’s like flipping a coin: You may turn up heads 14 times, but it’s not over till you get a tails on the 15th try.

Alana on December 12, 2008 at 3:17 PM

As opposed to nationalizing the banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies and car industry and running up a 11 trillion deficit under a Republican President?

lodge on December 12, 2008 at 2:47 PM

You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Sheerq on December 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM

Way to live in delusion. By far the worst has been the existing ‘Republican’ government – and here you are already blaming someone else.

A Axe on December 12, 2008 at 3:40 PM

Way to live in delusion. By far the worst has been the existing ‘Republican’ government – and here you are already blaming someone else.

A Axe on December 12, 2008 at 3:40 PM

Then what the hell do you suggest? That REpublicans be executed in the public square and their party eliminated from the body politic?

What do YOU want? A one-party state?

newton on December 12, 2008 at 3:43 PM

What happens if the Democratic counties carefully review thir absentees but the other counties don’t? Then you have some absentees possibly coming in and others not.

It’s like Gore’s cherry-picking of Dem counties for a recount. The Supreme Court said that all counties in FL had to be recounted by the Electoral College deadline or go with election night tallies of all counties.
Equal Protection Clause.

Would Coleman waive that if he didn’t ask for all counties to review absentees?

Wethal on December 12, 2008 at 3:59 PM

I live and work in Minneapolis (I know, I know) and I’m a strict conservative. Please stop calling all of us “nuts”. I tried my best to stop this silly crap by voting.

Know, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Fuzzlenutter on December 12, 2008 at 4:02 PM

Minnesota should be re-named the Moron State. The place is a sorry joke. I recommend sterilization of every resident so that they cannot reproduce. Bunch of damn maggots.

Percy_Peabody on December 12, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Franken the Jokester is now the Joke.

FireBlogger on December 12, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Minnesota should be re-named the Moron State. The place is a sorry joke. I recommend sterilization of every resident so that they cannot reproduce. Bunch of damn maggots.

Percy_Peabody on December 12, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Did you get a speeding ticket or something in Minnesota? My goodness, the endless stream of animosity is really annoying.

Mr. D on December 12, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Would Coleman waive that if he didn’t ask for all counties to review absentees?

Wethal on December 12, 2008 at 3:59 PM

This is not like Florida. For one, liberal Minneapolis counted its absentee ballots, but liberal St. Paul has not.

The canvasing board suggested that ALL counties count ballots. And besides, I’m not sure any politician would be dumb enough to replicate Gore’s selective strategy. After all, in 2000, Gore’s strategy (had they counted every vote in only 3 counties) would still have cost him Florida, whereas recounting every vote in the state would have won it for him.

YYZ on December 12, 2008 at 4:26 PM

No, according the the newspaper consortium’s analysis, if they count “every” vote in FL in 2000, Bush still wins.

I thought no one was still in denial about this.

Pythagoras on December 12, 2008 at 4:34 PM

Why are we even holding elections? Apparently the Dems will just steal or buy the seat they want anyway….

BiasedGirl on December 12, 2008 at 4:40 PM

Minnesota should be re-named the Moron State. The place is a sorry joke. I recommend sterilization of every resident so that they cannot reproduce. Bunch of damn maggots.

Percy_Peabody on December 12, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Did you get a speeding ticket or something in Minnesota? My goodness, the endless stream of animosity is really annoying.

Mr. D on December 12, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Well, now you have a taste of what it is to be a Southerner.

ddrintn on December 12, 2008 at 4:43 PM

No, according the the newspaper consortium’s analysis, if they count “every” vote in FL in 2000, Bush still wins.

Gore would have lost by his own standard, and by the Florida court’s standard, but he would have won if they counted statewide overvotes (as in filling in Gore’s name and writing in Gore’s name).

Anyhow, it doesn’t matter now. According to this week’s Onion, SCOTUS just overturned Bush v. Gore.

YYZ on December 12, 2008 at 4:48 PM

This is what 52 percent of the nation deserves. Let Congress turn into a circus
newton on December 12, 2008 at 3:16 PM

Oops, too late! It already is. What happened to of the people, by the people, for the people? Congress just ignores the people because they are much smarter inside the beltway (sarc!)

Christian Conservative on December 12, 2008 at 4:58 PM

Did you get a speeding ticket or something in Minnesota? My goodness, the endless stream of animosity is really annoying.

Mr. D on December 12, 2008 at 4:21 PM

I may actually have to agree with the guy. First, Wellstone, gadfly extraordinaire. Then, Ventura. Now, Franken. We’re three votes in the State House away from a complete socialist takeover. I just don’t get a state that is ostensibly so normal, but behind the facade it’s just a whacked up tundra.

IR-MN on December 12, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Well,, if they keep counting until the comedian finally gets a win,, Norm has good precedent to start finding votes of his own. The comedian has set the rules. I am wondering how the comedian will respond to Coleman’s challenges???

JellyToast on December 12, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Minnesota should be re-named the Moron State. The place is a sorry joke. I recommend sterilization of every resident so that they cannot reproduce. Bunch of damn maggots.

Percy_Peabody on December 12, 2008 at 4:14 PM

A plurality may well be idiots, but they are definitely not Morons. That’s reserved for the AoSHQ crowd.

You might want to reconsider the “every” statement as well. Ed’s got a real itchy trigger finger.

steveegg on December 12, 2008 at 7:28 PM

How About you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game? Come on the eyes of the country are upon you Minnesota…in the end all they can do is suggest, that is kind of like look Stuart Smiley, I tried already okay…I think it is called “indulging” someone…in this case someone who is used to being indulged a lot!!!

Dr Evil on December 12, 2008 at 11:04 PM