These are the Days of Our Lives

Posted by: Brent

It has now been 208 days since the Nov, 2008 election, and we are no closer to seating a second Senator, at least not without the losing side crying foul...and they wouldn't be wrong.

Yesterday I read in the Star Tribune that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is being sued over voter-registration records.  Apparently Minnesota Majority, a "traditional values" lobbying group, says that the state records are not up to date and there are more votes than there are registered voters in the Nov election.  The claim is that there are over 406,000 more votes then there are voters, and it seems that Mr. Ritchie hasn't been very helpful in trying to figure it out why they think that.  (The article notes that Minnesota Majority has some counties in MN with zero voters, which means that the "extra" 406k votes could be legit, but then why hasn't Mr. Ritchie help locate where the misunderstanding is?  Is he trying to hide something?)

Tomorrow (Monday, June 1, 2009) five of Minnesota's Supreme Court Justices will hear arguments whether problems with absentee ballots are minor or major issues in last year's election.  These five people will now determine if the lower court was right in giving the win, and the Senate seat, to Al Franken.

I sit here pondering...are we now to a point where we expect elections to be 100%?

Is 97% (+/- 1%) acceptable?

How on Earth would we do that?

One argument is to take the element out of the equation with the counting of votes, and have machines do it.  But the other side argues the machines can have their programming tampered with.  Some conspiracy theorists believe that this has already happened because "statistically" GOP wins more in precincts that use the machines.

On the other hand, we could leave it up to "people" who will look at a ballot to try to determine what someone "meant" when they cast the ballot.

I don't know what the magic answer is here, but I have a feeling that this election is going to have repercussions for some time to come and it will be interesting to see which way we go.

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Barthélemy Barbancourt
Trust the machines
written by Il Duce’ , May 31, 2009

If a hard copy of every vote is created, mechanical counting and recounting is the most accurate.

People makes mistakes (and lie cheat and steal)

Mn has many, many myths that people like to believe. The myth that we have a squeeky clean voting system has sustained much damage due to this recount and could be completely exploded if impartial groups every get access to the real voting records.

We must require ID from all voters. Without that we invite massive amounts of fraud, and many, many DFL wins.



0
True Run-off
written by Kermit , May 31, 2009

Don't look at me. I voted for the moderate douchebag and not the creepy ego maniac Dean Barkley.

Just chock this one up to Obamacorn and a very large law firm that specializes in stealing elections. They did it in Washington State and they did it here.

If it ain't close, they can't steal it. Democrats have no shame.



Ben
kermit...
written by Ben , May 31, 2009

the book your referring to is by Hugh Hewitt and its called "if its not close they can't cheat". Great book.


 tim-The Dyslexic Blogger
Standardizes how countys count
written by tim-The Dyslexic Blogger , May 31, 2009

The thing that really needs doing is making a counting standard. not the crap that happened during this election. Also what happened to military absinthe votes again they didn't all get counted due to the time it takes to go out and come back.


Brent
Standardize
written by Brent , June 01, 2009

Even with standardizing the counting process, as long as humans are doing the counting we are open for errors.

Again, do we expect our electinos to be 100 accurate or are we willing to allow some margain of error that could lead to an election being won by by esentially a coin toss?



TomS
...
written by TomS , June 01, 2009

My wife can't figure out what I meant sometimes, why would I let someone else try to figure out what I meant when I vote?

Adhering to a uniform set of standards would go a long ways to clearing up this mess. First, there's Minneapolis where everything counts (even though there were more votes than people who signed in on election day) and Carver County where signatures were verified.

Those that play by the rules often get screwed by those who don't.



Bats Right
...
written by Bats Right , June 01, 2009

Since the day after election, the discrepancies have occurred primarily in DFL Strongholds.

Is 100% accuracy a reasonable expectation yet. You start by demanding that each precinct is 100% accurate - then counties will be 100% accurate and statewide totals will be 100% accurate.

If you allow that some diffenences can't/won't be reconciled, it opens up the door for Democrats to cheat.



Dougie_D
Errors Inherent in the System
written by Dougie_D , June 01, 2009

How do you intend to get universal adherence to a set of rules that are subject to interpretation?

I'm fairly certain from previous discussions in the old world (AS1.0) that many on here have little to no actual knowledge of how absentee ballots are counted or processed.

There is no system that will ever be acceptable to one side or the other when the margin of error is within the statistical deviation of the sample group. It is impossible to remove all variables from a system, or at least with respect to doing it in a expediant and cost effective manner.

If you want to talk internet voting look to the most recent election in Hawaii where voter turnout dropped 80%.




Sequel
...
written by Sequel , June 01, 2009

Like sands through the hourglass...


Sequel
Standards
written by Sequel , June 01, 2009

Dougie-
I do not think it unreasonable that a firm written set of statewide standards be in place for the acceptance of absentee and provisional ballots.
The current county by county variations are the whole crux of the Coleman suit.
Regardless of the outcome of Norm's case; I think implementing some statewide regulations would go a long way toward avoiding this situation in the future.



Dougie_D
Standards...
written by Dougie_D , June 01, 2009

There are rather specific standards...the issues is getting 1,000+ people to apply them exactly the same way. 1,000+ people that have been working for 12+ hours and now need to start looking at the Absentee ballots.


Sequel
...
written by Sequel , June 01, 2009

Are you saying that there are specific ruled that were not followed and the excuse is that they were too tired?

The signatures need to match... unless I'm tired?
The ballots need to be in by a particular date... unless I need some coffee?
That sort of thing?

Hell Dougie, I was giving the election workers the benefit of the doubt, figuring there were different standards, but you say they all had the same standards but the workers are incompetent if they have a long night?
Huh.



0
...
written by Kermit , June 01, 2009

And then there are those magical ballots that appeared in car trunks. Can we at least agree that the number of votes cast should not exceed the number of registered voters, as it did in many DFL strongholds?


Dougie_D
What I'm saying...
written by Dougie_D , June 01, 2009

There are specific standards of what ballots should be counted and which should not and how to handle both.

I think it is not realistic to think that if you (meaning a whole lot of you's giving the instructions) tell 1000 people the same thing they will all understand and act in exactly the same manner.

So the signatures need to match. How closely do they need to match? Do they need to be close? Do they need to align exactly when held up the light? If you use a different pen does that automatically disqualify you because the thickness of the line is different?

Have you ever worked with a bunch of different people that all have to interpret instructions?




 tim-The Dyslexic Blogger
Standards
written by tim-The Dyslexic Blogger , June 01, 2009

What is so hard to read a rule and do as it says not sit there, and try to interpret what the writer was thinking.

1. Is the envelope signed? yes or no
2. Was it received before the cut off time? yes or no
3. Was the envelope sealed? yes or no
4. Is there a witness signature? yes or no
what is so hard about that their is no gray area at all. no what was the voter thinking when he filled out the ballot. As for voters that are not able to complete there ballot correctly. If they turn in a ballot that can't be read or is spoiled to bad it gets tossed during counting if they do not get it corrected before submitting it oh well to bad it does not count.



Dougie_D
Information it does terrible things to your argument.
written by Dougie_D , June 01, 2009

https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=203B.12

Hey I got a good idea why don't you go and look at the actual rules before commenting?



Badda
...
written by Badda , June 01, 2009

C'mon, Dougie D... a little less snide if you please.


Ben
DD
written by Ben , June 01, 2009

you are aware that by any "fair" standards Coleman won the race on election day, after the revised number brought his lead down from 725 to 225 and after the inital HAND RECOUNT where he lost another ~30 votes to have I believe 196 vote lead. Then Franken wanted some, but not all, of the rejected absentee ballots counted. That happened and lordy wouldn't you know it he gained nearly 500 votes. What are the odds? There are still 4400 rejected absentee ballots that would have been accepted in some counties but other counties had higher standards. The rejected absentee ballots that haven't been counted yet are in Coleman favored precincts so count all absentee ballots or count none. Better yet lets just fucking vote again.


0
This is not a courtroom
written by Kermit , June 01, 2009

And we are not lawyers (tho we have a few lurking). What is being expressed is opinion. Dougie's right, there are specific standards. My opinion is DFLers tend to be a lot more flexible in the application. Intentionally. With lots of coaching from a great big law firm. Franken has outspent Coleman 4 to 1 in this affair.


Sequel
Dougie
written by Sequel , June 01, 2009

I went and checked the rules as you suggested.
(1) the voter's name and address on the return envelope are the same as the information provided on the absentee ballot application;

(2) the voter's signature on the return envelope is the genuine signature of the individual who made the application for ballots and the certificate has been completed as prescribed in the directions for casting an absentee ballot, except that if a person other than the voter applied for the absentee ballot under applicable Minnesota Rules, the signature is not required to match;

(3) the voter is registered and eligible to vote in the precinct or has included a properly completed voter registration application in the return envelope; and

(4) the voter has not already voted at that election, either in person or by absentee ballot.

There is no other reason for rejecting an absentee ballot. In particular, failure to place the ballot within the security envelope before placing it in the outer white envelope is not a reason to reject an absentee ballot.

Pretty much as you suggested in an earlier comment. Not a lot of room for interpretation there.
So how come the differences?



Dougie_D
System not necessarily broken...
written by Dougie_D , June 01, 2009

I guess my point is not political but that in any election if the difference is less than a faction of 1% no one will ever be satisfied with the result or think the result was fair if their side doesn't win.

You have to remember that this was an automatic recount and once you involve laywers, truth and fairness go right out the window.



Sequel
To Webmaster
written by Sequel , June 01, 2009

I see the standard HTML tags do not work for bold, ital, and blockquotes in the comment section.
Is there a work around?



Jeremy Archibald
So the real issue is...
written by Jeremy Archibald , June 01, 2009

How do we make the standard equal? A few months ago the Strib was running scanned copies of rejected ballots. While many of them show clear voting violations (one guy wrote himself in on every line and another wrote in damn near every conservative radio talker), there were countless examples left to how you interpret the standards.

Many of these ballots (either for Coleman or Franken), in my opinion had no business being rejected. And, is it not plausible that if "your" guy was on the ballot in question you may loosely interpret the defined rules?

Perhaps, the hand recount should be conducted by people who had no dog in the hunt? Maybe the recounts should be handled by out of state judges?



Badda
Less than 1%
written by Badda , June 01, 2009

Perhaps what we need in future is a recasting of ballots when a margin of 1% or less pops up.


Sequel
Dougie's last comment
written by Sequel , June 01, 2009

True dat!


 tim-The Dyslexic Blogger
standards
written by tim-The Dyslexic Blogger , June 01, 2009

Have you ever worked with a bunch of different people that all have to interpret instructions?

That is part of the problem Douige_D they are not supposed to interpret the instructions they are just to follow them. There is no interpreting needed.
does the signature match? yes or no



Dougie_D
Tim...did you read the rules?
written by Dougie_D , June 01, 2009

The signature doesn't have to be an exact match!

Also do you think that a person looking at two different signatures may or may not think they are identical? What about two people looking at the same two signatures?

Also you are aware aren't you that every precienct has to have both a democrat and a republican election judge. Oh and they have to be registered party members.



 tim-The Dyslexic Blogger
Yes I read the rules
written by tim-The Dyslexic Blogger , June 01, 2009

I read rules long before you ever suggested any one read them. also I have had to send in several absinthe ballots when I was in the Army, and other times.
I have also been an Election Judge so I know the rules very well. That is why I keep pointing out the interpretation has no place in an election. That is the biggest fight I had with the Dem judge when I was working (no it was not this last election). There is never any room for interpretation of what a rule reads of what a person is thinking. We do not have the ability to read minds so this BS of interpiting a voters meaning in a recount is just so much junk.



0
Registered party members?
written by Kermit , June 01, 2009

I was under the impression that Minnesota didn't have party registration.


Brent
Who is Responsible?
written by Brent , June 01, 2009

Question...who is responsible for the vote, the voter or the poll/government?

There should be no NEED for intrepretation.

We have coverend what it takes accept an absentee ballot, but we haven't talked about the ballots themselves.

I believe that if you are unable to follow the rules, then then your vote doesn't count. There are already policies in place to help those that need it cast their ballot, and if they don't take advantage of it.

We should NEVER leave ANYONE'S vote up to intrepretation.



Ben
here's an idea...
written by Ben , June 01, 2009

outside of extreme, proven cases scrap the absentee ballot system and make people vote on election day or not vote at all. Or does that violate the constitution in DFLers minds somehow?


auntypsychotic
absinthe makes the heart grow fonder
written by auntypsychotic , June 01, 2009

" Also what happened to military ABSINTHE votes again they didn't all get counted due to the time it takes to go out and come back. "

Tim Man;
Excuse me for picking on your dyslexia but this is one of the best "mystakes" I've ever seen.

I've always been a fan of absinthe. Come right down to it, our elections might be better with it than with absentee ballots.




auntypsychotic
it ain't just the dems
written by auntypsychotic , June 01, 2009

" If you allow that some diffenences can't/won't be reconciled, it opens up the door for Democrats to cheat. "

C'mon now Bats, given the same opportunities, the Reps will cheat just as much as the Dems.



auntypsychotic
incompetent election fixing, why am i not surprised.
written by auntypsychotic , June 01, 2009

" ...there are more votes than there are registered voters in the Nov election. "

This is truly pathetic; even a three-headed tree frog would know not to hork around with fake voters. Particularly when there is such a long tradition of
"graveyard" votes which, if done well, are much harder to invalidate.



auntypsychotic
assorted comments and replies
written by auntypsychotic , June 01, 2009

" Have you ever worked with a bunch of different people that all have to interpret instructions? " --- Dougie
Hard and fast rules are all well and good but, Dougie is right, there will be interpretation no matter what. There has to be at some point in the process. More than 3 people can't decide when to take a leak let alone anything this important. By it's very nature, it is an inevitable clusterfluck.

" You have to remember that this was an automatic recount and once you involve laywers, truth and fairness go right out the window. " --- Dougie
Abso - freakin - lutely!

" Better yet lets just fucking vote again. " --- Ben
I think that it will come down to a run-off election and it should. It would certainly be quicker and helluva lot cheaper.

" Perhaps, the hand recount should be conducted by people who had no dog in the hunt? Maybe the recounts should be handled by out of state judges? " --- Jeremy
This would be the best idea but implementation might make a bad situation completely rotten.
Maybe anarchists should be the counters.










Steve Anderson
...
written by sanders , June 01, 2009

"Maybe the recounts should be handled by out of state judges? " --- Jeremy

Even an out of state judge would have some sort of leaning, especially in a Senatorial race.

"Maybe anarchists should be the counters." - Aunty

Wouldn't they throw them all out?? smilies/cheesy.gif



Dougie_D
Party Registration
written by Dougie_D , June 02, 2009

Kermit, I think what is confusing is that in Minnesota you do not need to be a registered party member to vote in Primary elections and you can decided which slate to vote for in the booth. In many states you only get the ballot for the party you are registered for in the primaries.


auntypsychotic
Instead of voting why not decide thru trial by ordeal?
written by auntypsychotic , June 03, 2009

"Wouldn't they throw them all out??"

I dunno sanders but would that really be such a bad thing considering the screw-ups?



0
No matter who might be selected
written by K-Rod , June 03, 2009

A runoff election is the only way to determine a winner.

The recount process is broken. I shall issue a warning letter.




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