Minnesota Senate Recount: Vote on the Franken-Coleman ballot challenges

They are still counting in Minnesota. All kinds of people, both on the web and on the news have made statements about the length of time it is taking. But everything I have seen seems to be showing that the election officials there are doing their best to be fair and unbiased. They want all the votes that should be counted, counted, no matter who they are for. That is the way things are supposed to work in elections in this country. And it is one reason I am against all electronic voting. Optical scan has some problems, but it does leave a ballot that the voter has marked, which can be physically looked at if there is a need. There is an election in Virginia’s 5th district, where most of the recount entails running the machines again to see what their memory cards say.

What happens if the number is different? How can it change if it is only an electronic record and no one has used the machine since the memory was read on election day? So the number on the DREs should be the exact same, with the only differences possible on the absentee or provisional ballots. Virginia has at least stopped buying those machines. Now they need to stop using the ones they have.

But back to Minnesota. Nate Silver, the wunderkind at FiveThirtyEight.com, has made a prediction about the election, Franken by 27 votes. I am not certain he is completely serious about that. But it does seem to be the number that his math leads to. Of course, he is a statistician, so there is a built in margin of error in his work. That just doesn’t sound as good as a post title. And probably wouldn’t get him mentioned on Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, or Huffington Post as often. Besides, what if he is right.

Right now, the Star Tribune is letting anybody that wants to get a look at what the Canvassing Board will have to go through when they start looking at things. Minnesota Senate Recount: Vote on the Franken-Coleman ballot challenges.

I didn’t get all the way through the original 599, but of the 100+ I did look at, most of them were challenged for pretty frivolous reasons. A large number were challenged for having an identifying mark, when the only mark that I could find was the presence of a write-in candidate. While a particular write-in could be used to identify a ballot (Lizard People anyone?) you can’t use that as a basis for not counting the ballot. Otherwise you nullify the entire concept of having a write-in. And these challenges were coming from both campaigns. They should both shut down that kind of thing and limit their challenges to things that actually make sense, like extra marks and unclear voter intent.

I understand the PR and political reasons for all the extra challenges, but it is really a wast of time and money, since the Canvassing Board will throw those challenges out. All it will really do is irritate them, when they should be the people you least want mad at you.

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