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Missing Votes, Uncounted Absentee Ballots To Count In Tight MN US Senate Race

Minnesota’s tight US Senate Race will apparently be decided by ballots that have not been counted yet. The State Canvassing Board today recommended that counties find and tally ballots that were improperly rejected. The board also approved counting 133 ballots missing from a Minneapolis precinct. That was a victory fro the Al Franken campaign since that pricinct gives him a net gain of more than 40 votes. Continue Reading →

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“Utterly Implausible” Explanation For Not Counting 133 Ballots

The Al Franken campaign today restated that it’s internal numbers shows their candidate continues to lead by 4 votes over Senator Norm Coleman.  Franken campaign lawyer Marc Elias then offered rhetoric to counter Coleman campaigns suggestion that the 133 ballots missing from a Minneapolis precinct should not be counted… calling the suggestion that 133 people signed in and didn’t vote as “utterly implausable”. 
 
The only new twist to anything was a question from the Star Tribune about challenged ballots that are no longer challenged.   The Star Tribune reporter apparently has seen some ballots where the challenge has been withdrawn that does not indicate the judge’s original ruling on who got that vote.   Elias said the Franken campaign would look into it. Continue Reading →

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Three Counties Refuse To Sort Rejected Absentee Ballots In MN US Senate Race

Three counties, including two of Minnesota’s most populous counties, are refusing to go along with a request from Minnesota’s Secretary of State that could unearth an additional 500 to 1,000 uncounted ballots in Minnesota’s tight US Senate race.  The race between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Senator Norm Coleman is the last Senate race in the country yet to have a declared winner. Last week at the urging of the State Canvassing Board, which must certify the results of the elections, the Secretary of State’s office asked counties to sort through rejected absentee ballots.  Minnesota law lists four reasons an absentee vote may be rejected.   The Canvassing Board wants to know how many ballots that did not match any of those criteria were rejected.  This is what is being called “the fifth pile”.  
Based on the advice of their lawyers, Ramsey, Washington and Itasca counties are refusing to do the sorting.  Ramsey and Washington counties are part of the metro area and accounted for about 14% of all of the votes in Minnesota.  The Secretary of State estimates there may be from 500 to 1,000 improperly rejected absentee ballots. Reacting to the refusal, Franken attorney Marc Elias said “I don’t know of any good reason why a county would refuse to sort ballots by rejection type.” Elias says the Franken campaign’s internal count gives their candidate a 4-vote lead over Coleman.  Elias criticized media such as the Star Tribune, which continue to report a 192-vote lead for Coleman.  Elias said the media knows that number isn’t true because it assumes the more than 6,000 ballot challenges will be upheld when hundreds of those challenges have already been withdrawn.  On Monday the Franken campaign announced it was withdrawing about 425 ballot challenges, bringing to about 1,000 challenges it has withdrawn.  The Coleman campaign has withdrawn about 600 challenges. Continue Reading →

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Team Franken: “22 Votes Up” Sans Challenges

Wednesday the Al Franken Campaign claimed for the first time a razor thin lead, 22 votes, in the Minnesota Senate Recount. This is derived from their internal counting methodology which is based on assuming all challenges are invalid and counting each vote per the decision of the election officials at the county level. The campaign also began unilaterally withdrawing challenges starting with 633 ballots. The +22 includes these withdrawn challenges. Here is a list of the withdrawn challenged ballots. Continue Reading →

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171 Ballots Found During Recount In Ramsey County

Minnesota US Senate Candidate Al Franken picked up a net 37 votes after 117 previously uncounted ballots were discovered during a recount in Ramsey County.  The ballots had been sealed in boxes since the election.  Ramsey County Election Manager Joe Mansky talks about how the error likely happened. 
 
Mansky also tells The UpTake this is why paper systems are superior to electronic systems because there is always a physical ballot to go back to and check. Continue Reading →

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Mower County Auditor Brings Franken Observer To Tears

On Monday, Mower County Auditor Doug Groh stopped all counting to question an observer from the Al Franken campaign who wanted to challenge a ballot.  The challenge had been labeled as frivolous by Groh.Holding up the challenged ballot he says “I hope you have a clear understanding on what voter intent is. We have our jobs to do. Election judges have their jobs to do. We have our job to do.”This incident had apparently been going on for several minutes before this video was shot by another Franken volunteer Laura Askelin who was taking a vacation day from her job with AFSME to observe the recount for the Franken campaign.According to an Askelin, Groh continued to speak until the observer stated “I will withdraw if you stop humiliating me”.   The observer was brought to tears at this point. This happens at about 4 minutes into the video.  The observer is the woman with the headbnd and her back to the camera.  Even without seeing her face, you can see that she is visually upset.  After that, Groh is heard to say “the candidate for Franken withdraws the challenge.At the end of the day, the Franken campaign asked that the ballot in question be examined again.  The precinct box was reopened, recounted and this time was successfully challenged.Reached on Wednesday, Groh says the observer had stated that “she did not know what she was doing” when Groh questioned her on the statutes regarding voter intent.  In reviewing the challenged ballots he asked her “what [the] basis of the challenge [was].  She was unable to answer.”  Groh continues that he stopped the count to address the room because he “wanted to make sure they had an understanding of what they were to look at so we could facilitate the process and be done with that count in a timely manner.”Later that afternoon other Franken observers asked to review that precinct’s ballots again.  They challenged three ballots including the original ballot in question.Voices were again raised when Dale Chibester, Mower County DFL Chair, made a challenge.  “I can reject this challenge. Continue Reading →

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Franken Campaign Won’t Appeal Canvassing Board Decision Today

Mark Elias, a recount lawyer for the Al Franken campaign says the campaign will not appeal a decision today from the Minnesota Canvassing Board the said the board can not review rejected absentee ballots. The board did indicate it would be proper for local election officials to sort absentee ballots into piles based on the reason for rejection, including a pile for ballots that were rejected improperly.  
The campaign did not rule out making a challenge to the ruling in the future.  
Elias said the Coleman talks truces on challenged ballots, but still continues to run them up. Coleman’s campaign has challenged about one hundred more ballots than the Franken campaign. Continue Reading →

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Canvassing Board Recommends Sorting Rejected Absentee Ballots

Minnesotas US Senate race may come down to 500-1,000 improperly rejected absentee ballots. The MN State Canvassing board says local election officials should sort those out. But does not rule what should happen with those ballots.  
Today the board ruled against a move by the Al Franken Campaign for the Canvassing Board to review the rejected absentee ballots directly. Continue Reading →

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Missing Ballots, Hidden Totals

Al Franken’s campaign claims their candidate is gaining on Norm Coleman in the recount of Minnesota’s US Senate election. Lead Franken Recount Attorney Mark Elias says the challenged ballots (now numbering about 3,000) are masking the real results.  
Elias also express concern over several reports of missing ballots.  Some of those ballots have been found.  Others have not. Continue Reading →

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A Challenging Recount Job

At the Hennepin County elections warehouse in Minneapolis, one calm person is in the eye of the storm between election judges, the media, and campaign lawyers: Cindy Reichert, Director of Elections for Minneapolis. Cindy describes the challenges that arose on the first day of Minnesota’s senate recount. We also take a look at a sampling of challenged ballots, including a glimpse of a “Mickey Mouse” ballot, and a bit of MN GOP chair Ron Carey being interviewed. Produced by Chuck Olsen for The UpTake Continue Reading →

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Election Official Rules on “Frivolous” Challenges

On Day 1 of the Minnesota Senate Recount between Al Franken and Senator Norm Coleman most recount locations ran smoothly and politely. However, there was a small amount of tension at the recount location in Ramsey County. Coleman campaign representative Bob Murray challenged two ballots that were for Franken. Ramsey County Elections Directory Joe Mansky declared the challenges “frivolous” and accepted the ballots for Franken. Franken’s campaign representative had challenged one ballot for Coleman. Continue Reading →

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Glitches On First Day Of US Senate Recount In Minneapolis

Minneapolis has more than 209-thousand ballots to recount in the next few days for Minnesota’s US Senate race.  The time that it will take to count those ballots got a little longer today when the recount had to start over because ballots with identifying marks were not being pulled aside.  In Minnesota, marking a ballot with your name or initials invalidates the ballot.  
The UpTake’s Chuck Olsen talks to Minneapolis Elections Director Cynthia Rechert about the problems of the first day of oounting. Continue Reading →

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Media Calls MN GOP Chair On Being “Presumptuous”

Minnesota GOP Chair Ron Carey told reporters on Monday that it was “presumptuous” of Franken to take a trip to Washington, DC.  Franken is visiting the nation’s capitol to give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others an update on the recount in Minnesota.  
Minnesota reporters didn’t take Carey’s bait, instead asking wasn’t it presumptuous of Carey to declare Coleman the winner, not once, but twice when the state has yet to certify any results? Continue Reading →

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Coleman Prepares Lawyer “Hordes” for Recount

Lead consul for the Sen. Norm Coleman recount campaign, Fritz Knaak, comments on the MN Secretary of State, his faith that Coleman will win the recount and the staff, volunteers and lawyers the Coleman campaign is recruiting for the recount. Knaak assures reporters that despite the “hordes” of lawyers, it won’t be that bad. The Franken campaign is also retaining lawyers and staff for the recount.   Continue Reading →

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Franken request to review absentee ballots rejected

Team Franken attorney David Lillehaug asked the Hennepin County Canvassing Board to review rejected absentee ballots. “We have information that a significant number of persongs who voted by absentee ballot, particularly in Minneapolis, had their ballots rejected and not counted.” Lillehaug said they have information about 461 absentee ballots rejected for various reasons that may be valid.  
The board, under advice from Hennepin County senior attorney Dan Rogan, rejected Lillehaug’s request, stating the board has limited authority to address the issues. Rogan said Lillehaug could raise the issue with Minnesota’s state canvassing board meeting. Continue Reading →

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Dress Rehearsal For Coleman/Franken Recount-Ramsey County Ballot Audit

A post-election ballot review of five randomly selected precincts in Ramsey County yielded one more vote for DFL candidate Al Franken and one less vote for Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman. The two-vote swing, in what represents a small fraction of the entire vote in Ramsey County, may not be reflected in the Secretary of State’s running tally for days or even weeks.  
The ballots are being recounted, not as part of an anticipated state-wide recount in the US Senate race between Franken and Coleman, but as part of normal ballot review done after every election to determine if the optical-scan voting machines recorded accurately.  
Many are looking to the post-election ballot review to provide an indication of how the impending state-wide recount may go.  
All eyes are on the ballots that are improperly marked. Continue Reading →

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Election night with the Minnesota GOP: The Michele Bachmann Show

One of the undisputed stars of the Minnesota Republican Party was, and will remain to be, Michele Bachmann. Her penchant for outrageous comments coupled with a hard-right bent has earned her intense scrutiny from the media and strong support from Republican activists.  
With the results of her race against DFL and Independent endorsed candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg still in doubt Bachmann entered the ballroom floor relatively early in the evening to talk with a select few members of the media.  
Bachmann stopped to talk with former Minnesota Sen. Rudy Boschwitz and conservative talk show host Jason Lewis.  
Lewis appeared to suggest that if Bachmann had tied her controversial comments about Barack Obama and some of her congressional coleagues holding “anti-American” views to the KKK and individuals such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney then more of the public would have understood. Continue Reading →

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Election night with the Minnesota GOP: Acceptances, concessions and one abstention

With Minnesota’s US Senate race still undecided, Senator Norm Coleman addresses GOP supporters on election night. Barb Davis-White concedes in the 5th District race. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann claims victory in what was supposed to be an easy race for her to win but became close after she remarked that Barack Obama “may have anti-American views”. We also see Republican reaction to Senator John McCain’s concession speech and President-elect Barack Obama’s victory speech.  
**http://the-uptake.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/1232/ Continue Reading →

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Final Franken Coleman Confrontation Turns Nasty

Senator Norm Coleman took every opportunity he could to claim he was a victim and blame DFL candidate Al Franken for publicizing a lawuit that alleges one of Coleman’s wealthy supporters funneled money to the Senator through a company his wife works for.  
And that was just the first question.   Things didn’t get much more civil after that.  Watch! Continue Reading →

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