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Some national media types are trying to make it sound like the Coleman-Franken recount sound like Florida 2000. It’s time to deflate that myth. The minute that public hears that someone has to determine voter intent, they first flash back to Florida’s butterfly ballots, then think of the punch cards ballots.

While it’s natural to do that, that isn’t the case. In Florida 2000, people were debating voter intent based on the chad family (dimpled, pregnant or hanging.) Minnesota’s ballots are extremely straightforward. When determining voter intent, here’s some things to look for:

1) Did the voter fill in the oval?
2) Did the voter put a check mark inside the oval?
3) Did the voter put an X inside the oval?
4) Did the voter underline the candidate’s name?
5) Did the voter circle the candidate’s name?
6) Did the voter fill in more than one oval? If they did, then voter intent can’t be determined.

Minnesota election law stipulates that voter intent can only be determined by what’s marked on the ballot’s face. If people haven’t underlined or circled the candidate’s name, then they have to have either filled in the oval, put a check mark in the oval or put an X inside the oval. Those are extremely objective benchmarks. They aren’t subjective by any stretch of the imagination.

The election officials that I’ve worked with have been courteous and professional. The methods they use are consistent, logical and straightforward. Now that I’ve worked within the system, it’s my opinion that the administrative side is flawless.

I don’t want to paint the picture that everything is proceeding without incident. That isn’t accurate by any stretch of the imagination. From the outset, Franken employed a challenge strategy to make it look like he was gaining votes, thereby momentum. I wrote about that here. I’d bet that the vast majority of the ballots that they’ve challenged will wind up as Coleman votes. It’s still important that people volunteer for Team Coleman. That’s their check against Team Franken’s planned mischief.

It’s my opinion that the recount itself is a smokescreen for the fight. The fight won’t start until this reaches the courts.

Questioning the voter’s intent is aimed more at temporarily subtracting votes from Sen. Coleman’s totals. I’m betting that Team Franken hoped that they’d overtake Sen. Coleman’s totals so they could point to when they actually led. That hasn’t happened thus far. I doubt it ever will.

Each time a precinct’s worth of ballots is finished, the odds increase that Team Franken won’t get the results they want without a court fight.

That’s about the only thing the Coleman-Franken recount has in common with Florida 2000.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

4 Responses to “Coleman-Franken Isn’t Florida 2000”

  • eric z says:

    Not like Florida, also, where that was a presidential election.

    There were time limits, that is a big part of what the 5-4 split vote (along appointment lines) was over, whether there was time for a valid recounting.

    Here, don’t seat either until all the dust has settled, including perhaps the Kazeminy question, is an option within the legislative branch.

    Ultimately, you say judicial review will be a factor, yet it is this time the legislative, not the executive or judicial branch that is in charge.

    It could prove precedent-setting, beyond the record spending during the campaign, rampping up to the additional spending, both sides, in the recount Kabuki theater.

    With each side challenging just under a thousand ballots, your analysis is biased against Franken, but those numbers are real and with a 215 spread on the final pre-recount canvassing, it surely looks as if the five member board will be calling the shots, ultimately, on where the recount goes.

    Each side needs its volunteers to watch the officials, and each other. It’s two party democracy in action. It suggests that truly viable third, fourth and fifth parties might not be a bad thing.

    History argues against multiple parties surviving, and suggests that two-party stability is a norm.

    Like Boeing and Airbus, I suppose, political oligopoly. Any thoughts about that, Gary?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Here, don’t seat either until all the dust has settled, including perhaps the Kazeminy question, is an option within the legislative branch.

    That isn’t a matter for the election judges to decide. That’s another matter for another jurisdiction. In fact, what it really is is a pile of BS perpetrated by Team Franken & the DFL.

    With each side challenging just under a thousand ballots, your analysis is biased against Franken, but those numbers are real and with a 215 spread on the final pre-recount canvassing.

    I admit that it’s biased against Franken because it’s Franken that started challenging ballots that the Canvassing Board will rule are legitimate votes the minute they’re unsealed from their challenge envelopes. Franken’s Thieves don’t get a pass on that.

    Their goal was to challenge a ton more ballots than Team Coleman so that they could say that they held the lead at some point in the hand recount.

    Team Franken’s strategy didn’t have anything to do with challenging questionable ballots. It had everything to do with PR & their spin operation.

    I’d also take issue with your statement that “Each side needs its volunteers to watch the officials”, though I agree they need to watch “each other.” The election officials that I’ve dealt with have been consummate professionals.

  • eric z says:

    Thanks Gary. Watch the officials for error, not bias or misconduct.

    It’s tedious, and if I were an official I’d welcome people double checking. I did not mean the other way. Sorry it was unclear.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Nicely put, Eric. I wholeheartedly agree with your summarization.

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