Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 2, 2008

FRANKEN CATCHES A BREAK?.... You probably thought, as I did, that the recount in Minnesota's Senate race couldn't possibly take any more strange turns. Think again.

The final day of ballot recounting in Ramsey County in the U.S. Senate race kicked up controversy today when 171 uncounted ballots from Maplewood turned up.

The ballots apparently had been uncounted because of a ballot-counting machine malfunction on Election Day. Although the official numbers were still being tabulated, representatives from U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign said challenger Al Franken appeared to pick up a net gain of 37 votes because of the situation.

They also said there were 31 more ballots than the number of voters who signed in at Maplewood's Sixth Precinct at the Hazelwood Fire Station. "We're looking into that right now because there should not be more ballots than voters," said Joe Mansky, Ramsey County's elections manager. He said the number of voters who were registered and signed in, plus the number of same-day registrants and absentee voters should equal the number of ballots, but the 31 extra ballots remain under investigation.

The ballot counter malfunctioned after 171 ballots had been feed into the machine, Mansky said. When the machinery was replaced, the ballots were in the ballot box but went uncounted until today's recount.

Of course, it's extremely unlikely that all 171 uncounted ballots will go to Franken; he may, however, be positioned to narrow the gap against Coleman a little more. If this precinct was similar to those around it, Franken would pick up a net gain for about 12 votes.

And what kind of gap would that leave? According to the Franken campaign, the Republican incumbent now leads by 50 votes -- and that's before these 171 uncounted ballots are factored into the mix.

About 7% of ballots have not yet been reviewed as part of the statewide recount, and the issue of rejected absentee ballots remains unresolved.

Stay tuned.

Steve Benen 4:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

StarTribune reports that the issue of 31 "extra" ballots has been resolved; it was just an incorrect tally. The number of ballots does in fact match election-day voters plus absentees.

Posted by: Eric on December 2, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Did the story you just quoted say that Franken gained 37 net votes from the uncounted ones? Why speculate that it might be 12?

Posted by: SP on December 2, 2008 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Norm Coleman's campaign said challenger Al Franken appeared to pick up a net gain of 37 votes because of the situation

If this precinct was similar to those around it, Franken would pick up a net gain for about 12 votes.

Why are we rejecting the Coleman campaign's number? It seems to suggest that the 171 votes have already been counted. If so, it's not necessary to look at the makeup of the precinct, right?

Posted by: Danp on December 2, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK


ALF RANKEN IS A COMMIC THEIF AND TEHRE IS NORWAY MINNESOTENS WILL STAND BUY WHILE THEIR ELECTION IS STOLLEN

Posted by: Merkin Patriot on December 2, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

STAND BUY WHILE THEIR ELECTION IS STOLLEN

Yum. Well, 'tis the season.

Posted by: shortstop on December 2, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yum. Well, 'tis the season. -shortstop

Fruitcake. Yuk!! :)

Posted by: Danp on December 2, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently if you believe Franken's camp right now there are as few as 13 votes separating Coleman and Franken and there are still 7% to be recounted.

Damn close.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 2, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

I've been called far worse, Danp.

Posted by: shortstop on December 2, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

You just know how this is going to turn out, don't you? It's gonna be a tie. Then what?

I'm for a lutefisk eating contest. The first candidate to swallow wins.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on December 2, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's gonna be a tie. Then what?

Then Jesse Ventura is going to referee one fucking hell of a wrestling match.

Posted by: Jesse Ventura on December 2, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

I've been called far worse, Danp

Oops. Meant to say yum...

Posted by: Danp on December 2, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Lutefisk eaters only swallow in the movies. Even then, it has to be at least medium-budget porn.

Posted by: shortstop on December 2, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

There's over 5,000 challenged ballots and nobody really knows what's happening until those are decided. You should see the wingnuts commenting on the Star Tribune website. Everytime a vote gets counted for Franken they start shouting "Communist Conspiracy!"

Posted by: tomeck on December 2, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Following Steve's link now provides the following updates:

Democrat Al Franken made a net gain of 37 votes from the ballots, as he got 91 of the total, to 54 for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and 26 for other candidates, including Dean Barkley of the Independence Party.

Once those were counted, election officials found that there appeared to be 31 more ballots cast than the number of voters who signed in or voted by absentee ballot at Maplewood's Sixth Precinct, at the Hazelwood Fire Station. Shortly after, they said the explanation was that registration cards accompanying absentee ballots hadn't been recorded, as they should have been; when they were recorded, the number of voters and ballots matched.

So Franken gained 37 votes in that precinct, and the numbers of ballots and voters matched at the end of the day.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 2, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

There's so many numbers floating around that I'm probably wildly wrong here, but if the lead was 50 and Al picked up 37 votes, we're down to a 13 vote lead for Coleman? Craziness.

Posted by: pinson on December 2, 2008 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

we're down to a 13 vote lead for Coleman? Craziness.

Communist Conspiracy Craziness! He's good enough, he's smart enough, and gosh darn it, unrepentant Marxists love him.

Posted by: shortstop on December 2, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Al Franken should by this time have conceded for the good of the country.

Posted by: Luther on December 2, 2008 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Slightly less crazy: TPM does the math and comes up with 13 also.
http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/12/its_official_franken_picks_up.php

We'll how it shakes out. Either way, this one is most likely headed for court and maybe all the way to the Senate. If Franken has a 10-vote lead after the recount, though, he's likely to end up getting seated. Wonder how that special election in Georgia is going....

Posted by: pinson on December 2, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

You probably thought, as I did, that the recount in Minnesota's Senate race couldn't possibly take any more strange turns. Think again.

Huh? This isn't strange at all. Things like this always turn up in a careful recount. What would be strange is if everything had gone 100% right on Election Day at every precinct.

Posted by: ColoZ on December 2, 2008 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Crooked Normy only got into office running as a democratic mayor of heavily democratic St. Paul. He changed party allegiences the first time it was politically expedient. He got his ass handed to him on a sling by Jesse the Bod, and the little dweeb Humphrey, finishing 3rd. He then had the good fortune to have Wellstone's plane go down 4 days before the election. This slimeball has no morals, no backbone, and is a sheer opportunist. He dosn't even live with his wife for Pete's sake!!

Posted by: Jeff on December 3, 2008 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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