Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Minnesota Senate Recount Update, 12/14/08

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 14, 2008

This piece at the website discussing an AP analysis of the challenged ballots is among the most sensible I’ve seen of the TradMed offerings on this story. The salient points:

— Fewer than half of the challenges left — about 1,640 — are in genuine doubt. Still, that’s eight times more than the current margin between the two men.

— In ballots that could easily be assigned, Franken netted 200 more votes than Coleman. But that number was essentially meaningless because Coleman has withdrawn significantly fewer challenges than Franken — that is, the pool of challenges that can be awarded to Franken at this stage is notably larger.

— Nearly 300 challenges wouldn’t benefit either man because the voter clearly favored a third-party candidate or skipped the race.

— Of the challenges that can’t be reliably awarded to either candidate now, more than 400 possible Franken votes are being held up because on grounds that those voters identified their ballots through write-ins, initials, signatures, phone numbers or some other distinctive marking. At least 300 possible Coleman votes are in limbo for the same reasons.

— The next biggest class of ballot that can’t easily be awarded falls in the category of unclear voter intent. Nearly 600 involve cases where a voter filled in two ovals but crossed out one, put an X above or below their darkened oval or put differently sized partial marks in more than one. There are slightly more potential Franken ballots in that pile as well.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who heads the panel filled out by four judges, has set a goal of completing the challenged ballot reviews by Friday. The AP analysis suggests that the process could move fast once the board shows its mind on the challenge types that occurred most frequently.

This, of course, doesn’t cover the fate of the “fifth pile” absentee ballots — that is, those absentee ballots that were rejected for reasons other than the four allowed by state law. Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Secretary of State, asked the county elections boards to go over their rejected absentee ballots to make sure they were all rejected for the right reasons (a preliminary check found that several were not). As of last Friday, per a press availability held by Ritchie and recorded by The UpTake, seventy-four of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties have either finished with doing this check, or are in the midst of doing it.

The upshot of all of this? Ritchie is determined that, however narrow the margin, it be absolutely trustworthy. He is also determined that every vote that can be counted, is actually counted. There will be no reason for this to go to court or the US Senate, if he has his way: The final total will be rock-solid. But you wouldn’t know that if you only got your information on the recount from some of the headlines of the StarTribune — which, as Chris Steller of the Minnesota Independent points out, used verbiage (“muddle”, “doubt”, “confusing” and “confusion”, for instance) that comes straight from the Coleman campaign’s press releases.

2 Responses to “Minnesota Senate Recount Update, 12/14/08”

  1. Ollie Ox said

    Excellent analysis.

  2. Thank goodness for an honest SoS.

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