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By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2008 11:43am PT  

These are some of the folks whose votes that democracy-hating Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) is going to the state Supreme Court to keep from being counted in the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota...


The video, produced by challenger Al Franken's campaign, was described by the Coleman camp as "a new low." As Republicanists tend to project just about everything they do on others, we'd suggest that there may be "a new low" here, but in this case, it ain't coming from the Franken camp.

As we reported on Friday, the state canvassing board --- made up of Republicans (two are MN Supreme Court judges), Democrats, and Independents --- ruled unanimously in favor of counting the 1,600 or so absentee ballots which were improperly rejected by election officials and not counted originally in the state's razor-close U.S. Senate race.

Hopefully those ballots now will be counted, unless Coleman has his way in the Supreme Court where he hopes to get an order to stop the counting of legal ballots cast by folks like those seen in the video above. Nice.

CORRECTION: The original version of this article referred to 16,000 rather than 1,600 improperly rejected absentee ballots. The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.

As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...



Two Important Decisions by the State Canvassing Board Go His Way...
LATE UPDATE: Coleman Camp 'Desperate,' Headed to Court for FL 2000-style Attempt to Stop Ballot Counting, Says Franken Camp
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2008 4:35pm PT  

[Ed Note: Now updated at bottom, with Coleman's attempts to have the state Supreme Court stop the counting, ala Bush/GOP's FL 2000 playbook.]

We've been on the road for several weeks, and haven't been able to report on the day-to-day details of the hand count of the razor-thin U.S. Senate race in Minnesota between incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and challenger Al Franken (D). Happily, the mainstream coverage of the counting has been pretty good (surprisingly so), so we haven't felt the need to jump in to fill in the untold stories.

But today is an important one, and has resulted in two very key wins today at the State Canvassing Board for Franken, who has recently claimed that he's up by just 4 votes in the race, presuming that the thousands of challenged ballots (by both sides) are decided by the board the way his team believes they will be.

As of this afternoon, things are looking good --- very good --- for Franken...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Missing Ballots, Uncounted Absentees and the GOP PR Battle That May Trump Both...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2008 10:13am PT  

UPDATE at end of article.

Math/statistics/poll-wiz Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com predicts the race between incumbent MN Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and challenger Al Franken (D) could result in a 27 vote win for Franken. That's right, just 27 votes.

With that in mind, every single vote matters, so it's of note that the Franken campaign is now wondering about some missing ballots in a number of counties. From Public Record's coverage last night:

According to the secretary of state's website, 1,074 people in Clay County voted on Election Day but only 1,069 ballots were produced by the county for the recount. In St. Louis County, 1,649 people voted on Election Day but the county turned over 1,646 ballots for the recount. And in Washington County, 1,464 voted on Election Day but 1,449 ballots were turned over for the recount. The shortfall can easily shift the election to Franken or Coleman's favor because the race between the candidates is so close.

That in mind, we'll take the opportunity to remind both parties in the recount of our earlier suggestion that they make public records requests (if they haven't already) for the invoices from printers of all of the original ballots, and then request that all ballots --- including unvoted ballots --- be counted as part of the final reconciliation of ballots. The number of voted, spoiled, and unvoted ballots should be exactly equal to the number of ballots shown as printed originally on those invoices. If not, there's a problem.

But while ballots have now turned up "missing," and absentees have been tossed from the hand count, the GOP seems to be preparing for a FL 2000 PR gambit to "win" at all costs...

We've got a few more notes/thoughts on a couple of related ballot issues that have bubbled up over the last few days as we've been driving across the country. Given the closeness of this race, these issues could ultimately end up deciding it one way or another, even as the GOP seems to be preparing a FL 2000 PR gambit to "win" at all costs, no matter the final outcome of the hand-count...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Ballot Challenges Being Made on Basis that Voting for the Republican Presidential Nominee Must Be Indication of 'Voter Intent' for Republican Senate Candidate...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2008 10:02am PT  

I wrote over the weekend of how the numbers of challenged ballots, by both the Franken and Coleman campaigns in Minnesota's U.S. Senate hand count, have been ballooning as the count proceeds. In some cases, there are good reasons to challenge ballots on the basis of whether the voter's intent is clear or not.

And then, there's the Coleman campaign's attempts to challenge ballots simply because the voter had voted for John McCain, and thus, as they argue, a vote for Al Franken, or for no Senate candidate at all must have been a mistake, and the ballot should be counted instead for Norm Coleman.

No, seriously, this is what they are arguing. Here's The Uptake's video report:

(Note: TheUptake.org has been featuring regular daily LIVE VIDEO coverage of the counting at a number of locations, in addition to their edited video features posted at their RecordTheVote.com site. Thank you, Uptake! I've been on the road, and off the grid almost every day for the last few --- and will be again for the next several --- so if you guys see any vids over there that folks ought to know about, please leave the links in comments!)

As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...



By John Gideon on 11/23/2008 4:37pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The Minnesota Senatorial race is still the source of most of the news. The Minneapolis-St Paul Star-Tribune seems to have some of the best coverage of the recount. The link in the article below has not changed over the past few days but the story is constantly updated and changes as the news changes.

One of the counties that had problems on election day, readers will recall, was Kenton Co. Kentucky. You may remember that many of the county’s Hart Intercivic eSlate machines were not properly recording straight-party votes and they were taken out of service. The machines are sold, maintained and programmed by Harp Enterprises.

During an investigation of the Kenton Co problem the president of Harp told investigators that election officials in nearly 100 Kentucky counties failed to do any pre-election testing. If officials in Kenton Co had done the testing they should have found the problem that affected their machines. Of course, Harp has thrown the counties under the bus to some extent. It should have been their duty to warn the state that the testing was not happening. It is also important to note that Harp programs the machines in many of those counties so they are deflecting the blame to some extent...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Unlike GA's Still-Undecided Senate Race, At Least the Public Has Something on Which to Determine the Results in MN...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2008 12:05pm PT  

As of the end of Day 3 of hand counting paper ballots in the MN U.S. Senate race between Democratic challenger Al Franken and incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, the total number of challenged ballots by both camps has now ballooned to more than 1500, even as the official gap of ballots that have now been tallied (versus the challenged ballots that will be adjudicated later by the state Canvassing Board) shrank slightly to 115. Franken's camp, however, now puts that number at less 100, based on their calculations of how election officials initially judged a number of those challenged ballots.

After Day 2 on Thursday night, when the gap had stood at just 129 votes , we noted the quickly growing number of challenged ballots by each party, which would likely end up determining the final results of the election. The numbers of those challenged ballots has now increased exponentially, with just over 60% now counted out of 2.9 million originally cast.

Unlike Georgia, where another U.S. Senate race from November 4th is still undecided, at least there are ballots to be challenged...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Margin Between Two Shrinks to 129 Votes as Number of Challenged Ballots Grows
Official GOP Website Continues Baseless Claims of 'Stolen' Election...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2008 7:06pm PT  

With just over 40% of the ballots in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, the gap has now shrunk to just 129 votes at the end of the second day of counting.

According to tonight's update of the MN Secretary of State's "recount" webpage, Coleman has so far lost a total of 212 votes and Franken has lost 126 during the counting. The net gain is 86 votes for Franken out of the original 215 vote advantage certified by the state for Coleman before counting began yesterday.

The original numbers were based on the tabulations reported by the state's faulty ES&S and Diebold optical-scanners. But today's numbers may be equally misleading, for the moment, as there are some 360 ballots so far challenged by Coleman, and 374 by Franken, which will be judged later by the canvassing board. Those numbers are not included in today's totals.

Last night, after the first day's counting with just over 15 percent of the ballots manually inspected across the state, Franken had a net gain of 43 votes. Today, with slightly over 40 percent counted, Franken's net gain has exactly doubled that to 86 votes...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Franken Gains in First Day of Counting, Media Play Fast and Loose with Numbers, GOP Prepares for the Worst...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2008 11:12pm PT  

We've predicted since Election Day that Al Franken's chances of winning the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota are excellent. News tonight, out of the state where a manual count of the paper ballots began today, may already be bearing out that prediction, though it's far too early to know for sure. Franken, so far, has gained about 30 votes on the incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman on the first day of counting, bring the gap between the two to just 172 votes.

The race was previously determined, by the faulty and easily manipulated ES&S and Diebold ballot-scanning machines initially used to tabulate the paper ballots, to have given an edge of little more than 200 votes in favor of Coleman, out of nearly 3 million ballots cast.

That hasn't stopped Coleman from desperately and prematurely declaring "victory" --- hey, it worked for Dubya in 2000, and he was able to successfully take that to the Supreme Court, after all! --- nor has it kept the GOP conspiracy theorists and potential sore-losers from declaring all manner of unsubstantiated claims of "fraud" and attempts to "steal the election."

But as the hand count moves slowly forward --- and as I may be "off the grid," or otherwise unable to keep up with every beat as quickly as usual over the next several weeks --- I'd ask that you folks keep a very close eye on a very important point likely to reveal itself (to those who pay attention) during this count...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




State's Republican Governor Pawlenty Reverses Previous Claims, Admits 'No Actual Evidence of Wrongdoing or Fraud in the Process'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2008 1:31pm PT  

Of all the shameful behavior by the Republicans during this last election cycle, the National Republican Senatorial Conspiratorial Committee's continuing baseless charges that Al Franken and the Democrats are trying to "steal" the U.S. Senate election in Minnesota has to be near the top of a difficult list to top! If only because that rejected sort of politics continues despite the thorough spanking their party took in an election which would seem to have been a rejection of such tactics.

Even Minnesota's own governor, Tim Pawlenty, has now reversed his previous conspiratorial tone to declare on yesterday's Fox "News" Sunday that there is "no actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in the process." He was referring to the currently reported election results --- where Franken trails the incumbent Sen. Norm Colman by just over 200 voters --- and in the upcoming manual recount plans.

None of that has kept the RNSC from keeping up their shameful "Minnesota Recount" conspiracy theory website with postings that declare Franken "lost the election, so he is pulling an Al Gore, with his supporters manufacturing postelection votes by the hundreds" and shoveling, without correction, the now wholly debunked theory that "his supporters discover mislaid ballots in places like the trunks of their cars. By a mysterious coincidence, none of these includes votes for Franken’s rival Norm Coleman."

Though the last post on their conspiracy website was made on Friday --- so perhaps that signals they're getting the message --- all of it still remains there, as unretracted garbage, even after Pawlenty himself has now acknowledged it as such. But the RNSC isn't the only bad actor here. So are the networks, cable channels and even the New York Times...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Voting Machine Issues, Confusion Compounded Delays Faced by Untold Thousands of Voters This Fall
Though Even That Number Fails to Reveal Untold Counting Errors on E-Voting Systems Across the Nation...
By Steven Rosenfeld on 11/16/2008 5:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Steven Rosenfeld of AlterNet

The electronic voting problems in the 2008 election are broader than recently-publicized snafus such as machines not turning on, voter databases omitting names, or touch screens not properly recording votes, according to an analysis of 1,700 incident reports from the nation's largest voter hotline.

Moreover, the voting machine issues and the confusion they caused among poll workers appear to have compounded the delays faced by untold thousands of voters this fall, a preliminary analysis of 1-800-OUR-VOTE reports by Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a researcher at Princeton University and the University of California, has found...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Central Claim of GOP Conspiracy Theory for 'Stolen' U.S. Senate Race in Minnesota Falls Apart (Though They've Yet to Acknowledge It, Of Course)...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2008 4:13pm PT  

For those following the nonsense being put forward by the GOP conspiracy theorists (such as Sean Hannity, Norm Coleman, RedState blog, PowerLine blog, and all their fact-free friends), David Brauer at MinnPost.com does a terrific job of debunking the whole "32 ballots driven around in an election director's car for days" nonsense.

They weren't driven around in her car, they weren't all votes for Franken, they weren't "lost" for days, and the claim, which is being used by the national GOP at their conspiracy theory "Minnesota Recount" site to prop up their unsubstantiated claims of a "stolen election," turns out (surprise surprise) to be entirely false...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




NRSC Publishes Unapologetic, Shameless, Evidence-Free Conspiracy Theories After Democrats Opened Door for Them to do so
And, Again, We Offer Our help to ALL Parties in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2008 3:33pm PT  

The Democrats, as usual, have only themselves to blame. But we're still happy to help both them and the Republicans if it means the voters might see their votes counted and counted accurately, no matter who will ultimately be declared the winner of any election. You're welcome, Republicans (and Democrats).

After years of Democrats refusing to use the f-word (fraud) or discussing concerns about the s-word (stolen) for elections, for fear of being declared conspiracy theorists and sore-losers by the Republicans, we'll note that Republicans have no such fears. They never did. And they are happy to don enormous and shiny tin-foil hats any time to claim any conspiracy they need to, regardless of the actual evidence (or lack thereof) to support their theory.

They will claim --- even at the highest official levels of their party --- that "Democrats are stealing the election," "stuff[ing] new ballots into the ballot box" and all other manner of unsubstantiated allegations, if they believe it might help their candidate "win." The voters be damned.

To that end, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has now gone so far as to set up a "Minnesota Recount" conspiracy theory blog. The site is devoted to the advancement of making and reposting unsubstantiated claims from around the wingnut 'sphere --- and that would include liar John Fund's Wall Street Journal --- that Al Franken and the Democrats are in the process of "stealing" the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2008 9:40pm PT  

The election results being reported in Alaska still stink from top to bottom. While it may be true that fewer voters turned out to vote for Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Barack Obama on this year's Presidential tickets than turned out to vote for Bush and Kerry in 2004 --- even with Alaska's record increases in voter registration and voter participation during their primaries and unprecedented turnout during early voting --- it does strain credulity, as noted by Anchorage's Shannyn Moore, by poll analysist/expert Nate Silver and others.

There could be some reasonable explanation for poll-shattering upset victories by Republicans in Alaska's U.S. House and Senate contests, despite pre-election polls predicting near-certain defeat for convicted 7-time felon Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, who is currently under FBI investigation on corruption charges.

The state senator I spoke with --- who can't understand how it could be that polls predicted Democrats would gain 4 to 6 U.S. House seats in Alaska, but instead, according to Diebold and state election officials, currently seem to have lost 2 seats instead --- could simply be wrong in his belief that something strange is going on up there.

But, as always, rather than speculating on any of it, I suggest another way: Find out for certain who won and who lost, in such a way that no party or citizen would have reason to question the final results, by, among other things, counting the ballots --- all of them.

I've come to learn that's a nutty idea that only crazy people would advocate, but for all of you crazy people out there, here's what can be done to try and find out who really won or lost any particular race...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2008 9:09pm PT  

I was happy, if exhausted, to check in with my friend Cenk Uyger on Brave New Media's Meet the Bloggers once again last week. Last time I was in studio, this time, I was at home on fuzzy video cam, on the morning after last week's election (so it wasn't just the cam that was fuzzy that day.)

You can watch the entire episode over at the MTB site. It also features Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and the great Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel. My four and a half minutes or so, on "how it went", emerging concerns that morning, and a message for Al Franken, follows...





Republicanist John Hinderaker of PowerLine, Newcomer to Election Integrity Concerns, Charges 'Signs of Fraud' Without Any Such Evidence...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2008 6:30pm PT  

Rightwing, partisan, conspiracy theorists* and bloggers (and, perhaps, sore-losers*) such as Powerline's John Hinderaker have suddenly found religion when it come to the integrity of elections. At least now that it looks like MN's Sen. Norm Coleman (R) may be in trouble in his razor-thin re-election contest against challenger Al Franken (D).

At last check, there were just 221 votes between the two candidates, with automatic hand recount triggered and scheduled to begin November 19th.

The only thing that's particularly clear from Hinderaker's desperate and ill-composed screed over at his Republicanist blog, is that he has no clue what he's talking about. Being the generous fellow that I am, however, and more interested in helping to assure the person who actually received the most votes gets to be the winner of the election than I am in any particular candidate "winning" it, allow me to help him with a few of his misconceptions about the U.S. Senate race in MN, and about elections in general...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




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