Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.
Mr. Franken started the recount 215 votes behind Senator Coleman, but he now claims a 225-vote lead and suddenly the man who was insisting on “counting every vote” wants to shut the process down. He’s getting help from Mr. Ritchie and his four fellow Canvassing Board members, who have delivered inconsistent rulings and are ignoring glaring problems with the tallies.
Under Minnesota law, election officials are required to make a duplicate ballot if the original is damaged during Election Night counting. Officials are supposed to mark these as “duplicate” and segregate the original ballots. But it appears some officials may have failed to mark ballots as duplicates, which are now being counted in addition to the originals. This helps explain why more than 25 precincts now have more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. By some estimates this double counting has yielded Mr. Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes.
This disenfranchises Minnesotans whose vote counted only once. And one Canvassing Board member, State Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson, has acknowledged that “very likely there was a double counting.” Yet the board insists that it lacks the authority to question local officials and it is merely adding the inflated numbers to the totals.
In other cases, the board has been flagrantly inconsistent. Last month, Mr. Franken’s campaign charged that one Hennepin County (Minneapolis) precinct had “lost” 133 votes, since the hand recount showed fewer ballots than machine votes recorded on Election Night. Though there is no proof to this missing vote charge — officials may have accidentally run the ballots through the machine twice on Election Night — the Canvassing Board chose to go with the Election Night total, rather than the actual number of ballots in the recount. That decision gave Mr. Franken a gain of 46 votes.
Meanwhile, a Ramsey County precinct ended up with 177 more ballots than there were recorded votes on Election Night. In that case, the board decided to go with the extra ballots, rather than the Election Night total, even though the county is now showing more ballots than voters in the precinct. This gave Mr. Franken a net gain of 37 votes, which means he’s benefited both ways from the board’s inconsistency.
And then there are the absentee ballots. The Franken campaign initially howled that some absentee votes had been erroneously rejected by local officials. Counties were supposed to review their absentees and create a list of those they believed were mistakenly rejected. Many Franken-leaning counties did so, submitting 1,350 ballots to include in the results. But many Coleman-leaning counties have yet to complete a re-examination. Despite this lack of uniformity, and though the state Supreme Court has yet to rule on a Coleman request to standardize this absentee review, Mr. Ritchie’s office nonetheless plowed through the incomplete pile of 1,350 absentees this weekend, padding Mr. Franken’s edge by a further 176 votes.
Both campaigns have also suggested that Mr. Ritchie’s office made mistakes in tabulating votes that had been challenged by either of the campaigns. And the Canvassing Board appears to have applied inconsistent standards in how it decided some of these challenged votes — in ways that, again on net, have favored Mr. Franken.
The question is how the board can certify a fair and accurate election result given these multiple recount problems. Yet that is precisely what the five members seem prepared to do when they meet today. Some members seem to have concluded that because one of the candidates will challenge the result in any event, why not get on with it and leave it to the courts? Mr. Coleman will certainly have grounds to contest the result in court, but he’ll be at a disadvantage given that courts are understandably reluctant to overrule a certified outcome.
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s other Senator, Amy Klobuchar, is already saying her fellow Democrats should seat Mr. Franken when the 111th Congress begins this week if the Canvassing Board certifies him as the winner. This contradicts Minnesota law, which says the state cannot award a certificate of election if one party contests the results. Ms. Klobuchar is trying to create the public perception of a fait accompli, all the better to make Mr. Coleman look like a sore loser and build pressure on him to drop his legal challenge despite the funny recount business.
Minnesotans like to think that their state isn’t like New Jersey or Louisiana, and typically it isn’t. But we can’t recall a similar recount involving optical scanning machines that has changed so many votes, and in which nearly every crucial decision worked to the advantage of the same candidate. The Coleman campaign clearly misjudged the politics here, and the apparent willingness of a partisan like Mr. Ritchie to help his preferred candidate, Mr. Franken. If the Canvassing Board certifies Mr. Franken as the winner based on the current count, it will be anointing a tainted and undeserving Senator.
As predicted by myself on 11-19-08. This is dictatorship. Get use to it or fight.
Here we go again another recount debacle.
The Minnesota senate recount could have been prevented with technology. Every kid on the street has an IPOD but Minnesota can not afford electronic voting machines which could have stopped the inane fights over pen marks on ballots. There has never been any proof, or even any credible allegations for that matter, of electronic voting machines resulting in voter fraud. So why after Florida does Minnesota find themselves with this senatorial race a comedy of errors?
This is a travesty.
When are the citizens going to stand up and insist their votes count. Pulling mysterious votes out of thin air by looser’s to rip off an election is NOT ACCEPTABLE.
By TRENT ENGLAND
Sorry Minnesota, but the sequel is never as good as the original.
For those who watched the Washington State governor’s race recounts in 2004, the ongoing recount drama in Minnesota is just another rehash of the same script — albeit for a U.S. Senate seat that might put Democrats one vote away from a filibuster-proof majority.
Four years ago in Washington, Democratic Party candidate Christine Gregoire lost the first count, lost the recount, and then won a second, highly dubious recount by 133 votes. In Minnesota, where Sen.
Norm Coleman is defending his seat against comedian-turned-candidate Al Franken, the first count showed Mr. Coleman up 725 votes. Today, thanks to another dubious recount, Mr. Franken is apparently in the lead.
Razor-thin margins like these put election systems to the test. As the old proverb goes, they are a crisis and an opportunity. Yet the crises keep coming and the opportunities continue to be squandered. It’s time to learn the lessons of the recount wars and address the systemic flaws in our election processes. Indeed, the price of a continued decline in voter confidence is too troubling for most Americans to comprehend.
In Washington’s 2004 gubernatorial election, at least 1,392 felons illegally voted, 252 provisional ballots were wrongly counted, and 19 votes were cast from beyond the grave, according to Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges’s opinion in a case brought by Dino Rossi, Ms. Gregoire’s Republican opponent.
Election workers in King County (where Seattle is located) “enhanced” 55,177 ballots to make it easier for tabulating machines to read them — even though the county had failed to establish written procedures as required by state law. In some cases, individual election workers modified voted ballots using black felt markers and white-out tape while observers were kept at a distance that prevented meaningful observation. Nine separate times, King County “discovered” and counted unsecured ballots.
Nevertheless, Ms. Gregoire lost to Mr. Rossi by 261 votes.
An automatic recount reduced Mr. Rossi’s lead to just 42 votes. The Gregoire campaign demanded a state-wide hand recount, a time-consuming and expensive process that state law says the challenger must pay for (if the result changes, the challenger is reimbursed). Big labor unions joined with far-left groups like MoveOn.org to put up the money for Ms. Gregoire’s third-time’s-the-charm ballot shuffle.
During the recount process, five counties found new, uncounted, unsecured ballots and added them into their totals. King County officials admitted publicly that ballot reconciliation reports were falsified in an attempt to conceal variations between the number of votes counted and the number of voters who voted (two elections workers were disciplined as a result).
By the end, 3,539 votes more than the number of voters who voted were tabulated. Four other swing counties provided an additional 4,880 mystery ballots. Ms. Gregoire was the victor by a margin of 133 votes.
That margin — 133 votes — happens to be the same number of ballots that Minneapolis election officials are currently missing. The initial vote tally in one Democrat-leaning precinct counted 133 more ballots than officials have been able to find for the Senate recounts. The Minnesota canvassing board decided on Dec. 12 to allow Minneapolis simply to ignore the recount and go with the original number. This provided a 46-vote boost for Mr. Franken, about the same as his current projected lead. The board also “requested” that counties reconsider rejected absentee ballots, a new and novel part of the recount procedure that is also expected to favor Mr. Franken.
Something is wrong when a victorious candidate owes more thanks to vote counters than to voters. Such was the case in Washington in 2004, and Minnesota is poised to follow in its footsteps in 2008.
It need not be this way. After 2004, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation produced a 42-page report offering a dozen solutions. While a few were implemented, most were simply ignored by officials content to cross their fingers and hope the next close election is in someone else’s jurisdiction.
Some reforms are simply educational and cultural; others are fundamental and essential. Election officials need to understand current federal and state laws and regulations governing the entire election process, including recounts. Those responsible for elections must also inculcate a culture of compliance among election staff, including temporary staff hired at election time.
From the moment they are printed, ballots should be isolated and guarded and their chain of custody recorded. Officials with rule-making authority are responsible for establishing processes that clarify how ballots are to be handled, stored, counted, and, if necessary, recounted.
Most important to maintaining and increasing public faith in elections is improving openness, especially leveraging Internet technology to make anyone a potential election observer. The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s project to put all 6,700 contested ballots in the Senate race on the Web, so people can compare their own judgments to those of the canvassing board, is but one example. Election officials who have nothing to hide should be putting as much as possible online as quickly as possible.
Citizens and the media might also take a closer look at some of the individuals and organizations involved in monkeying with and even overturning elections. Both Mr. Franken and Ms. Gregoire were endorsed by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — Acorn — a group under investigation in several states for suspected voter registration chicanery.
The man overseeing the Senate recount, Minnesota Secretary of State
Mark Ritchie, was also endorsed by Acorn, and his election campaign in 2006 was funded in part by something called “The Secretary of State Project.” This latter group, founded by MoveOn.org’s former grass-roots director, exists solely to install far-left candidates as secretaries of state in swing states.
Close elections will always stir controversy. They will often require recounts to validate the results. Yet the Washington and Minnesota recounts offer cautionary tales. The democratic process is too important to be disregarded until a virtual tie forces us to pay attention. Regardless of which candidates win our elections, the voters — not the vote counters — should win every time.
Mr. England is director of the
Citizenship and Governance Center
at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
Once I really started paying attention to Barack Obama and what was or was not being said about him I found the lack of TRUE confirmed information astounding.
Barack Obama essentially has no history other than that he has made up for himself. Because he has sealed his records and refuses to provide even the bare essentials required by law to become President of the USA. “We the people” literally know nothing about him.
This is disturbing on a number of levels.
Why the secrecy?
I can think of no reason that is positive can you?
Here are a few clips addressing the issues.
As we move forward now to the inauguration of Barack Obama we still do not know much about him.
He refuses to produce even the key information which proves him eligible for this office. There is grave doubt that he is a “natural born citizen”. That is a basic requirement to even be considered for this high office in our USA. Why does he refuse to provide this information?
Those required to insist this information be made public fail to do so.
There is only one answer that at this point is logical.
He can not and is not.
“We the people” are left clueless as usual.
The Federal Election Commission is made up of six board members. Three Democrats and three Republicans. It takes a majority vote to investigate campaign finance fraud.
Pictured are Cynthia L. Bauerly, Caroline C. Hunter, Ellen L. Weintraub and Steven T. Walther.
Not pictured are Donald F. McGahn II and Matthew S. Petersen.
The 2008 election is over. Democrats dominated like George Soros and the Democrats predicted. How did they dominate? In a nutshell they adopted the radical statement “by any means necessary.” Another way of saying we just had a coup where the Republicans were blind sided and weak. This was a guerrilla fight where the Democrats totally ignored the rule of law and the Republicans were still playing by the rules. A big sucker punch. And the results showed it.
First was the financial blow out. The Democrats seem to be well liked by the rich and famous as well as foreign citizens looking for a weaker United States. The bottom line is in 2008 Democrats garnered 64% of the $1,666.2 million in political contributions. The Republicans 36%. Quite a contrast to the propaganda spread throughout the country. Apparently not enough fat cats are contributing to Republicans these days.
Obama received 44.5% of the total contributions. McCain received 20.7%. Obama received an astonishing $741.7 million and 68% of all donations. An astonishing two to one spending gap over McCain’s equally astonishing $345.6 million in donations.
Quit a stark contrast to the 2004 campaign. In 2004 Bush received $258.9 million to Kerry’s $233.9 million. A relatively balanced 52.5% to 47.5%. Democrats raised $400.6 million to Republicans $258.9 million. The total of $662 million is a paltry 40% of the 2008 total of $1,666.2 million. The difference is an astonishing $1004.3 million dollars. To look at it another way the candidates raised 150% more money in 2008. The Democrats raised 166% more contributions from 2004 to 2008 while the Republicans raised 132% more. But the gab in fund raising changed from $141.7 million to $467.2 million in favor of the Democrats.
Political Action Committee (PAC) donations were a paltry 0.4% of all donations. The largest contributors were under $200 dollar donations where the donors address and location are not required to be reported to the Federal Election Commission. 40.4% of all donations in 2008 were untraceable under $200 donations. The second largest donor group was over $2,000 that compromised 28.5% of donations. This under $200 money could have come from overseas or donors contributing over the maximum limit. With current financing laws nobody will ever know.
A further look back at 2000 shows Bush with $94.5 million and Gore with $49.2 million. Republicans increased donations 266% and Democrats 1,400% in eight years. Statistically impossible numbers for donors in the United States. The vote count from 2000 to 2004 went up 12% and from 2004 to 2008 the vote increased 2%. Even with 15 million new voters in eight years, even with smaller donors fired up over Obama’s campaign; these numbers make no sense at all. This was a complete break down in campaign financing law.
In 1996 Clinton received about $43 million and Dole about $45 million. Clearly it seems the less campaign financing reform the better. Evidently McCain-Feingold left a huge hole in campaign financing the size of a Saturn rocket. Obama and the Democrats most likely received $400 million and as high as $537 million from who knows where. Another example of unintended consequences and another reason there should be no campaign financing laws except contributions must be from US citizens and US corporations.
My guess is a lot of money came from the Middle East, Europe and Africa. The BBC recorded one of these campaign finance raising sessions in Gaza City. Obama shirts were sold throughout the world and I would speculate the money was sent to eastern states, placed in pre paid credit cards in sums less than $200 and donated to Obama and the Democrats. Various Internet cops have photographed themselves giving donations in the name of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other fictitious names and addresses to the Obama campaign. Addresses like London, England, Berlin, Germany and so forth. When these Internet cops tried the same tactics with the McCain camp the donations were refused.
So we end up with a most likely ex-Muslim sympathizing Mombasa, Kenyan born president who should have been exposed years ago owning the Democratic Party and the United States for a paltry $500 million dollars. Last time I checked the Gross Domestic Product of the United States was $13,807.5 billion. So for 0.003% of our GDP we now are beholden to a foreign president and foreign interest. The Democrats peace offering is they will be fine in 2012 if Arnold Swarzenager runs for president.
Like we care.
Is Swarzenager even a Republican anymore?
When I was in graduate school it always amazed me when I researched political graft such as the sugar industry how little money it took to bribe politicians and how huge the pay offs would be. For the sugar industry if I recall correctly for every dollar in political donations the industry received $20 to $100 dollars in political protection from foreign competition. It would appear that this last election was the biggest political pay off in the history of the world.
At the federal level is abundantly clear a Libertarian government is what the founding fathers favored. They had been through political graft, corruption and foreign born leaders running their countries via the system of royal marriage prevalent back in the 18th century. The federal government is incapable of anything but the most basic exercise of military and courts. The founding fathers had been through the corruption and did everything they could to limit the federal government.
And now we repeat history. The part of history the founding fathers wanted to avoid.
We have regulations of corporations with Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and our banks failed. We had the Securities and Exchange Commission regulating Wall Street and Bernard Madoff ripped off investors’ $50 billion in a ponzi scheme. We had congressional oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and they both are insolvent. And we have the Federal Elections Commission regulating campaign financing and we end up with the most lopsided fraudulently funded election in history. Federal regulation and regulation in general never work and will never work. Crooks don’t care about the law. We can write all the laws and regulations we want and the only people adversely affected by them will be the honest citizens.
Simple transparent rules work best. Here is a couple for campaign financing.
- First all contributions must have a valid US citizen or US corporations name and address of an eligible voter or corporation traceable and verifiable by the FEC.
- Second there are no limits on the amount of the donation.
- Third all donations must be reported to the FEC.
The Libertarian solution is always the best solution.
Other areas of Republican defeat was federally funded ACORN, a Democratic voter fraud scheme designed to overwhelm local election boards with fraudulent registrations and more importantly to disguise illegal alien and convicted felon voters. The more time the local precinct workers spend on fraudulent voter registrations the less time spent on illegal and felon registered voters. Confuse and conquer.
The Democrats in 2004 perfected the methods of increasing voter turn out and stealing close elections. The Wall Street Journal documented the stealing of the 2004 Washington State governors race recently and the same game plan is working in the Minnesota senator race for the clown Al Franken. The Democrats also work feverishly in their districts after the polls close to get additional voted from voters who didn’t show up to the polls by voting for them. Franklin Delano Roosevelt would be proud.
These guerrilla take no prisoner tactics are favored by communist and fascist the worlds over. 2008 was the death of the Republic and the beginning of the dictatorship. And the Republicans are still clueless. They don’t fight or protest. A complete waste of a party. The Democrats with the exception of the Obama insiders seem equally clueless and have no idea of the perils and tribulations ahead of them. They seem stick in 1996 Clinton la la land. Both parties regulated by McCain-Feingold to trash junk bond status. $500 million dollars goes a long way when you know how to spend it.
Just ask George Soros.
This is a critical issue and to date few governmental officials are doing much if anything about it.
This website is intent on educating the public about the Constitution and our Bill of Rights.
These are the documents this country was founded on.
This is not about Barack Obama’s politics or race … IT IS ABOUT the preservation of the Constitution of the USA.