The Eclectic Quill

December 16, 2008

Counting Votes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 6:36 pm

The Minnesota Senatorial election still is up in the air six full weeks after voting day. The race has been surprisingly marginalized, but considering the other news, what with Governors hawking Senate seats and automakers going bankrupt and international rip-offs to the tune of 50 billion dollars, I suppose he myopic media can be forgiven for no paying enough attention to it. What attention has been paid though is disturbing. Much of what is available of this story is a distortion of what the actual story is.

Franken vs. Coleman

One of the big ways in which this story is being misrepresented is that the recount battle is about what Coleman wants versus what Franken wants. Actually, technically, and actually speaking that’s not the real story. The real story is is Coleman vs. The Voters. Simply put Coleman doesn’t want the state to count votes that the State is legally required to count. Much of what Coleman and his surrogates say, and the bloggers who support him regurgitate, miss the simple fact that there are four reasons which the laws of Minnesota say that a vote should be rejected. Franken wants to separate the votes into five categories, one for each of the four legal reasons, and one for the ones that are excluded for other reasons. Estimates are that stack contains around 1500 legally cast votes. Coleman wants to exclude those votes, even though the law requires they be counted. Those votes were cast by real voters, and that’s why this isn’t Coleman vs. Franken, but Coleman vs. the Voters.

The Missing 133

There has been much made of the “missing” 133 votes. For those that don’t know, there was one precinct which came up short 133 votes in the recount. Some suggested that maybe those votes weren’t actually cast, but were in fact run through the machines twice. If only there were some kind of record of how many people came and vote. Oh wait. There is! There’s no mystery here, no question, the fact of the matter is that these were lost ballots, and were in an envelope. The courts, fortunately have ruled in favor of the voters here but the bloggers are still trying to put out false information.


Some people may have the idea that they’ve recounted the votes numerous times and Franken just isn’t accepting the results and that is why things are being drug out. This is faulty on a number of levels. First, Franken isn’t the reason they are recounting, Minnesota state law is. Second, there has only been one recount, it just hasn’t been completed yet. Third, it’s not a matter of just “re-counting” in many cases it’s a matter of counting, period. For various reasons there are times when the machine won’t count a ballot, such as a voter not coloring in the oval all the way, or perhaps crossing out one oval and coloring in another. In these cases anyone can look at the ballot and discern the voter’s intent. This is where most of the hang up is on the election apart from the absentee ballots. Here’s the thing, while both parties are making a big show of challenging ballots on whatever grounds, it’s shocking when you see the challenged ballots to see just how easy it is to tell what the voter intended. If you want to get a look register at the and you can see for yourself the actual ballots and even take part in a poll that determines how they break down.

Changing Leads

Much of the language makes this sound like a football game, where lead changes take place. Coleman’s strategy in challenging twice as many votes as Franken is taking advantage of this. He’s making his “lead” look larger by challenging more votes. However, all the votes were cast on or before Election Day. Whoever ends up winning will have won it on Election Day. The votes were cast on Election Day. The question isn’t who will win, but who won. While Franken is challenging some votes that shouldn’t be challenged as well, Coleman seems to be the one more intent on keeping votes uncounted.

It would seem that there shouldn’t be any controversy here. In an election this close one would think that both parties would just want to see the votes counted and really put in who the voters put in. Considering that the only remaining justification for the war in Iraq is so that we can “spread Democracy” to the Middle East, one would think that it would be more highly prized at home. In my opinion, both sides should drop frivolous challenges and every benefit should be extended to the voter, the way that Minnesota state law requires.





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