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Absentee Ballots Push Franken Lead to 225 Votes January 4, 2009

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Democrats, News, Politics, Voting.
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Courtesy FiveThirtyEight.com

Minnesota took until 5 PM today to begin actually counting rejected absentee ballots, as the Canvassing Board sorted through various legal objections, underwent the arduous task of physically opening more than 900 ballots, and then gave the campaigns a chance to review the back of the ballots for identifying marks. Once they finally got underway, however, with election officials calling out the names of the candidates one ballot at a time, Franken went on a long winning streak and essentially never looked back.

All told, Franken gained a net of 176 ballots from the 952 under review according to The Uptake’s unofficial count, putting him 225 votes ahead in the recount overall. Excluding disqualified ballots, Franken won 53.7 percent of the votes counted today, Coleman 34.1 percent, and other candidates 12.4 percent. Franken’s 225-vote advantage is now slightly larger than the one Norm Coleman held before the recount began, when he led by 215 votes based on the certified Election Night tally.

Although the absentee ballots were expected by all observers to help Franken’s prospects, the nearly 20-point margin that he ran up on Coleman today was surprisingly large; two pre-election polls that surveyed absentee voters had Franken winning that group by 8 points and 12 points, respectively. (n.b. Originally missed the Research 2000 poll on this — nrs). It should also be remembered, however, that the Democrats made a large nationwide push for early and absentee voters this year, with Barack Obama overperforming by as many as 20-30 points among those voters in certain states.

The other possibility, of course, is that the Franken campaign did a more effective job of using its veto power on absentee ballots, perhaps by taking better advantage of voter lists.

-Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

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MN Senate Race: Coleman Campaign Rejects Election Judge’s Ballot January 1, 2009

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Campaigning, Politics, Voting.
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Courtesy Rawstory:

With Al Franken holding onto a 49-vote lead in the Minnesota Senate recount, incumbent Republican Norm Coleman seems to be pulling out the stops in his attempt to keep as many likely Democratic absentee ballots as possible out of the tally. 

Election officials across the state are determining which absentee ballots were rejected improperly on Election Day, and both campaigns have to agree before a previously rejected ballot is counted. As theStar Tribune reports, Coleman rejected 59 of 60 ballots that were set aside in St. Louis County, which supported Franken. His decision to reject Shirly Graham’s ballot was particularly shocking.

“I’m an election judge,” Graham told the paper. “I expected to be the last person whose ballot wouldn’t be counted.”

Graham, who actually voted for Coleman, said she would consider going to court to have her ballot included. Coleman’s campaign argued that the ballot was invalid because the date next to Graham’s signature did not match the date next to the witness who also signed the ballot. 

As Nate Silver notes, the ballot decision may demonstrate that Franken’s campaign should perhaps be concerned about the events in St. Louis County.

-Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

 

Supreme Court Rules On Minnesota Senate Race: Window Closes On Norm Coleman December 25, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Law, Voting.
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Courtesy Huffington Post:

In what may very well be the death knell for Norm Coleman’s time in the U.S. Senate, the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously dismissed one of his last legal objections to the recount process.

In a five-to-zero decision, the court rejected a Coleman campaign lawsuit that sought to block the course of the recount due to concerns that some ballots had been counted twice. It was the Minnesota Republican’s last legal angle for making up the 47-vote deficit he currently faces against Al Franken.

Coleman had argued that in the process of recounting, some precincts had accidentally counted both the original ballots and duplicates that were used for those original ballots that couldn’t be properly scanned. But the campaign asked only for the state to look at 25 specific counties, suggesting that the argument was politically and not legally motivated. Moreover, it couldn’t provide evidence that voting tallies during the recount exceeded those on Election Day — which would have been the obvious result of duplicates being counted.

With this issue, seemingly, out of the way, the recount process will come to an end once the state and both campaigns decide what to do about improperly rejected absentee ballots. That should come in early January. And while it would be foolish to predict how the counting and disbursement of these 1,600 ballots would proceed — the two camps have agreed on principles by which the process will be conducted — it seems likely that the results will favor Franken.

Franken’s campaign has been pining to have these wrongfully rejected absentee ballots counted from the beginning of the recount process, suggesting that they believe the votes will favor Franken. It is more common for Democratic voters to make clerical errors on their absentee ballots than it is for Republicans.

All told, the window through which Coleman was looking to hold unto his Senate seat just became measurably narrower.

UPDATE: Not entirely surprising, the Coleman campaign says a lawsuit challenging the results of the election is now a near certainty. According to the Hill:

-Article Continued @ Sourced Site.

Analyst: Franken, Coleman may battle into February December 23, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Law, Politics, Video, Voting.
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Courtesy Rawstory:

A Minnesota Supreme Court justice haspredicted “an extended legal contest” in the Minnesota senate race, no matter which way the final recount between Democratic challenger Al Franken and incumbent Normal Coleman goes, and election analyst Nate Silver of 538.com agrees.

“There are any number of grounds on which you can challenge an election,” Silver told MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer on Monday. “So far, people have been pretty well behaved, but if Al Franken wins by 12 votes, Norm Coleman will probably sue. If the reverse is true, then Al Franken will probably sue. We may not have a senator seated until mid-January or February.”

Franken is currently leading by 250 votes, but Silver believes that Coleman is likely to gain about 200 votes as challenged ballots are resolved, while Franken may get back 50 from the absentee ballots. 

-Article Continues with Video @ Sourced Site.

GOP IT Guru for 04 Ohio Election Dies in Plane Crash December 20, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in News, Politics, Repiglicans, Technology, Voting.
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Courtesy Rawstory:

A top level Republican IT consultant who was set to testify in a case alleging GOP election tampering in Ohio died in a plane crash late Friday night. 

Michael Connell — founder of Ohio-based New Media Communications, which created campaign Web sites for George W. Bush and John McCain — died instantly after his single-prop, private aircraft smashed into a vacant home in suburban Lake Township, Ohio. 

“The plane was attempting to land around 6 p.m. Friday at Akron-Canton Airport when it crashed about three miles short of the runway,” reports theAkron Beacon Journal.

Connell’s exploits as a top GOP IT ‘guru’ have been well documented by RAW STORY’s investigative team. 

The interest in Mike Connell stems from his association with a firm called GovTech, which he had spun off from his own New Media Communications under his wife Heather Connell’s name. GovTech was hired by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to set up an official election website at election.sos.state.oh.us to presented the 2004 presidential returns as they came in.

Connell is a long-time GOP operative, whose New Media Communications provided web services for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Republican National Committee and many Republican candidates. This in itself might have raised questions about his involvement in creating Ohio’s official state election website.

However, the alternative media group ePlubibus Media further discovered in November 2006 that election.sos.state.oh.us was hosted on the servers of a company in Chattanooga, TN called SmarTech, which also provided hosting for a long list of Republican Internet domains.

-Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

Paper projects Franken victory over ColemanCourtesy December 19, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Democrats, Voting.
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Courtesy Rawstory:

As of Thursday night, GOP Senator Norm Coleman officially maintains a lead over Democratic challenger Al Franken of just five votes, with 5,861 challenged ballots remaining to be counted.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, having just wrapped it’s own count of the ballots in question, is making a projection:

-Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

Franken lawyer slams ‘cynical and desperate’ attempt to stop vote count December 16, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Law, Politics, Voting.
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Courtesy Rawstory:

Al Franken’s team is increasingly optimistic the Democratic candidate will prevail in the Minnesota Senate recount, and the campaign’s lawyer on Monday slammed a lawsuit filed by Republican incumbent Norm Coleman as a “cynical and desperate” attempt to keep votes from being counted. 

Coleman’s lawsuit asks Minnesota’s supreme court to set a “uniform standard” for absentee ballots a state canvassing board has ordered included in the recount; the Coleman campaign also says it is concerned that some ballots have been counted twice. 

Franken lawyer Marc Elias, speaking to reporters on a conference call, dismissed those concerns, portraying them as the desperate gasps of a campaign worried at its declining fortunes. 

“They are suing because they’re behind,” Elias said, reiterating his methodology that shows Franken with a four-vote lead. “The numbers are what they are. … What we’re seeing is a cynical and despearate attempt by the Coleman campaign.”

-Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

Humboldt County CA’s Transparency Project Uncovers Diebold E-Vote Scam December 10, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, News, Politics, Technology, Voting.
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Courtesy Bradblog:

Hundreds of Lost Ballots, Illegal Voting System, and the Boondoggle Behind Billions of Federal Dollars Spent on Voting Machines That Don’t Work All Illustrated by Simple Citizen Oversight, Free Open-Source Voting System in One California County…

“Some people have called those who have long decried our nation’s move toward voting machines nuts or just sore losers,” reads the editorial from yesterday’s Eureka Times-Standard.

“They were loud, and they were strident in proclaiming that they didn’t trust election technologies as much as they trust the ability of actual human beings to count votes,” the paper continues in response to the citizen’s “Transparency Project” in Humboldt County, CA which, as The BRAD BLOG reported last week, discovered some 200 ballots that the county’s Diebold optical-scan system had deleted from the initially certified count. Humboldt registrar Carolyn Crnich — who deserves much credit for working with local election integrity advocates to allow them to create a more transparent, open-source optical-scan system as a check on the buggy Diebold hardware and software — was forced to to re-certify the November 4th election with new results after the findings.

“The recent discovery, thanks to the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project, of a discrepancy in election results due to flawed software reveals that these activists were right to make noise, and right to complain about a company that has been less than responsible in dealing with the problem.”

Thanks for noticing, Times-Standard. Now will the rest of the country notice? Specifically, will the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, responsible for testing and certifying these machines at the federal level, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, responsible for enforcing federal laws — which again seem to have been violated by Diebold (whose election division now calls themselves Premier) — notice and take action?

Interviews with and responses from CA officials from Crnich to Sec. of State Debra Bowen’s office indicate a serious problem, yet again, with Diebold’s handling of the software failure which the company has known about for four years, even as they allowed election officials to continue using the same system in several states.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of Diebold’s original terse, emailed notice of the software failure, sent to Crnich’s predecessor in 2004, but never sent to CA’s new Sec. of State, despite her “Top-to-Bottom Review” of all e-voting systems in the state which she undertook after taking office in 2007. (The Diebold email notice is posted below, in full.)

At the same time, local software programmer Mitch Trachtenberg, who developed the simple, transparent, open-source optical-scan software, using off-the-shelf hardware for the citizen’s project — including the ability to post all scanned ballots onto the web for citizen review — may have inadvertently revealed the scam perpetuated by the nation’s electronic voting machine vendor’s who were allocated some $3.9 billion federal tax dollars for their efforts at creating proprietary systems, which don’t even work as promised…or as required by federal law…

Diebold Knew…

Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

Senate recount: Pendulum swings to Franken December 3, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Democrats, News, Politics, Voting.
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Courtesy Star-Tribune (Minnesota)

The U.S. Senate recount took two abrupt turns Tuesday, both boosting the prospects of DFLer Al Franken.

Franken unexpectedly picked up 37 votes due to a combined machine malfunction and human error on Election Day that left 171 Maplewood ballots safe, secure but uncounted until Tuesday’s final day of recounting in Ramsey County. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s office immediately asked county officials to explain what had happened, and U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign said it sent its own experts to Ramsey County to review the situation and said it was “skeptical about [the ballots’] sudden appearance.”

By the end of Tuesday, with 93 percent of the total vote recounted, the Republican’s lead stood at 303 votes with the state Canvassing Board set to finalize results Dec. 16. More than 6,000 ballots have been challenged by the two campaigns, with Coleman challenging 183 more than Franken.

-Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

Franken camp: Down by 50 Votes in Minnesota Race. December 2, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, News, Politics, Voting.
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Courtesy Rawstory:

Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken’s campaign says he trails Republican incumbent Norm Coleman by just 50 votes as the recount of ballots in Minnesota nears its conclusion.

Marc Elias, the Franken campaign’s lead attorney, told reporters the margin was based on tallies from observers in recount locations. Elias also said he’s optimistic at the prospects to have some of the more than 9,000 rejected absentee ballots re-added to the count as elections officials begin sorting through the ballots based on the reason they were rejected.

Whatever happens, Elias vowed to fight on “until every vote has been fairly and accurately counted,” even if that means asking the US Senate to intervene. Of the rejected absentee ballots, Elias estimate as many as 1,000 represent legitimate votes that should be counted.

“Whether that happens at the county level, before the canvassing board, in the courts or before the United States Senate, we are more confident than ever that will happen,” he said.

While the 50-vote tally separating the candidates was far narrower than estimates from local newspapers, Elias acknowleged, he said it sought to correct for “frivolous” ballot challenges from Coleman’s team. 

The two campaigns have challenged about 6,000 ballots of more than 2.4 million cast; Coleman’s campaign is challenging about 200 more than Franken. The Minneapolis Star Tribune estimates that Coleman is leading by a wider margin than Elias said. The paper put the gap between the two at 340 votes Tuesday afternoon. 

-Article Continues @ Sourced Site.