Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sweet sixteen, part 1

Norm Coleman is appealing sixteen ballots that the Minnesota Canvassing Board has ruled on. I don't have a problem with this. They need to get this right, and every vote clearly matters. I would, however, object if Coleman uses any erroneous ballots to attack the process.

Here's an attempt to be objective about the first five of the sixteen ballots:

1. Hennepin County, Minneapolis W13 P8, Ballot 2 - ruled no vote, I assume because of the apparent initials from the voter
2. Dakota County, Apple Valley P5, Ballot 4 - same ruling, same reason

The comparable Franken ballot that was ruled a vote is Washington County, Stillwater W3 P7, Ballot 88. Indeed, it has what appears to initials, as well. I've already stated that I think the distinguishing mark prohibition is obsolete, but it is the current law of Minnesota. The initials on the Coleman ballots are both in the same box as the votes, but the law doesn't make that distinction, so I agree that these ballots out to receive the same treatment. If the Canvassing Board is going to be liberal about distinguishing marks and look for intent to mark as well as voting intent, I'd give these two to Coleman.

3. Dakota County, Inver Grove Heights P9, Ballot 1 - ruled no vote

I don't need a comparable. There are easily more than 100 such votes in the original list of challenges, and they should be counted. This is a vote for Coleman and a clear error on the part of the Canvassing Board.

4. Wright County, Cokato, Ballot 6 - ruled overvote
5. Wright County, Annandale, Ballot 2 - ruled overvote

The comparables offered by the Coleman campaign are:

  • Washington County, Oakdale P2, Ballot 19 - By the way, I'd rule this an undervote, not a Franken vote.
  • Dakota County, Burnsville P17, Ballot 1 - Based on the voter's pattern, the possible overvote for Barkley is a cross-out, and this is a correctly ruled Franken vote.
  • Stearns County, Brockway, Ballot 1 - Same ruling and reasoning as the previous example.
Problem is, they aren't really comparable. Here's how I'd rule: Ballot 4 is most probably a Coleman vote. The voter's pattern is predominantly to use both an X and a filled circle to represent a vote, and only the marks for Coleman for Senate show both. Ballot 5, on the other hand, is far too puzzling and inconsistent to be confident of voter intent, and I'd rule it an overvote.

Tally so far: +4 for Coleman and -1 for Franken

Update (12/30): See part 2 and part 3 also.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good analysis. Keep it coming.