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.