What’s happening in Minnesota? part 8

Al Franken is waging a campaign to overturn the results of Minnesota’s Senate election based on a series of deceitful allegations. On this score the fraudulent sob story involving the 84-year-old stroke victim whose ballot was supposedly rejected because of an issue regarding her signature may serve as representative.

Another such myth, retailed by the AP’s Brian Bakst, is premised on a supposed Franken “undervote.” Ed Morrissey takes pains to demonstrate the fraudulence of this line of attack for anyone unfamiliar with Minnesota’s voting system. (Incidentally, Brian Bakst has no such excuse.)

Before the recount begins next week, Norm Coleman has already lost 519 votes. So far as I can tell, no adequate explanation has been offered for the newly discovered Franken following the tabulation of all votes reflected on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s site on the morning of November 5.

John Lott originally explored this subject in a column posted on FOX News site. The revised and updated version of this important column appears today, but not in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press or any other Minnesota news venue. No, Lott’s column appears — where else? — in the New York Post:

If Al Franken wins his Minnesota race, Democrats will get at least 58 US senators, giving them an effectively filibuster-proof majority.

When Franken woke up on the day after the election, his GOP opponent, Sen. Norm Coleman, led by what seemed a relatively comfortable 725 votes. By that night, Coleman’s lead had shrunk to 477. By Thursday, it was 336. Friday, 239.

By late Sunday, the difference had gone to just 221. When counties finally certified the results on Monday, Coleman’s lead had been cut to 206.

A pickup of 519 votes over 5 days – pretty impressive when you consider this was just from the correction of typos. A recount won’t even start until Nov. 19.

Yet, the particular changes are unlikely to have occurred by accident.

Corrections were posted in other races, but they were only a fraction of those for the Senate race. The Senate gains for Franken were 2.2 times the gain from corrections for Barack Obama, 2.7 times the gain Democrats got across all Minnesota congressional races and 5.6 times the net loss that Democrats suffered for all state House races.

In total, the 519 net pro-Franken corrections were greater than the total changes for all precincts in the state for the presidential race, all congressional races and all state House races combined.

But it isn’t only the size of the corrections that make these changes so surprising. The majority of Franken’s new votes came from just three out of 4,130 precincts. Almost half the gain (248 votes) occurred in one precinct: Two Harbors, a small town north of Duluth along Lake Superior, a heavily Democratic precinct where Obama got 64 percent of the vote.

No other race had any changes in its vote total in that precinct. That single precinct’s corrections produced a much larger net swing in votes than occurred for all the precincts in the state for the presidential, congressional or state House races.

Also troubling is that new ballots that weren’t included in the original count are being discovered. While not yet a large number, 32 absentee ballots were discovered in Democratic Minneapolis under the control of a single Democratic election judge after all the votes had been counted. When those votes are added, they’ll likely cut Coleman’s lead further.

The recount starting next week presents an even bigger opportunity for fraud….

I should add that when I posted Lott’s original version of this column, John Hinderaker commented:

Based on my own research, I’m convinced that the two big increases in Franken’s total that have been clearly reported on–Mountain Iron Precinct 1 and Partridge Township–are legitimate. The Coleman campaign sent a representative to Mountain Iron [this past Tuesday] to get to the bottom of that 100-vote jump, but the “corrected” totals look right in the context of the other races in Precinct 1 and the results in Precinct 2….

*****

Two Harbors is the biggest Franken gain, at 254 votes, I believe. That’s about half of Franken’s net gain. So far, neither the Secretary of State’s office nor the Democratic officials in St. Louis County have been willing to tell the Coleman campaign what happened to cause that increase. Nor has there been any reporting on the subject: is it possible that no reporters are curious? This represents, it seems to me, a serious failure of transparency.

Before the recount begins, it would be nice to have an answer to the questions implicit in Lott’s analysis. So far as I am aware, Lott — a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland — stands virtually alone in seeking it. Perhaps some day someone will explain how it is that a senior research scholar at the University of Maryland writing for FOX News and the New York Post has just eaten the lunch of the Minnesota press corps that is toying with this story, but we can probably figure that out on our own.

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