What’s happening in Minnesota? part 2

Yesterday John Hinderaker explored “What’s going on in Minnesota?” with the late arriving-votes that have reduced Norm Coleman’s lead over Al Franken from 726 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting on Wednesday morning to 221 votes as of this morning.

The election seems to be in the process of being stolen, and the media are either bemused or, as in this incredibly stupid AP story by Brian Bakst, preparing the battlefield for the theft. Yesterday the Coleman campaign released a statement on what’s happening in Minnesota:

As improbable and statistically dubious chunks of votes appear and disappear, overwhelmingly benefiting Al Franken, the Coleman for Senate campaign today filed a data practices request with county auditors and the Secretary of State requesting data related to Election Night results, records related to ballot security and information relating to all revisions made to the results since being reported on Election Night.

“Minnesota has a history of fair and clean elections, and we are committed to ensuring that this election is no different. That is why it is so troubling to us that instead of the normal slight changes in vote totals one would expect during this process, we are now seeing huge chunks of votes appearing and disappearing – statistically dubious and improbable shifts that are overwhelmingly accruing to the benefit of Al Franken. And, as many of these unexplained and improbably vote swings are taking place on the Iron Range, we’re asking that local and state election officials provide us with the necessary data to reassure the public that the canvassing process has not been tainted,” said Cullen Sheehan, campaign manager.

It has been reported that during the night, 100 new ballots were reported to the Secretary of State’s office from the Mountain Iron area. These previously unreported ballots contained 100 votes for President-elect Barack Obama and DFL candidate Al Franken.

We have received messages from knowledgeable Minnesota readers who served as election judges. Their observations are for more helpful (and troubling) than anything that has appeared in the media. In the interest of supporting a continuing inquiring into what’s happening in Minnesota, even if we can’t answer the questions they raise, these messages should be aired.

One reader writes:

I’ve been an election judge for something like four election cycles. I live in Minneapolis and am a registered Republican, which once made me a hot commodity. I think it still does if I understand the rules correctly.

This year, for the second time, I was a judge in Ward 11, Precinct 3. This precinct is managed by Democrats and is a majority Democrat precinct, as are all in Minneapolis, I think.

It’s impossible to overstate the care with which our managing judge (a Democrat) constantly verified that the number of ballots cast matched those that were supposed to be cast. We had one “logged” incident that I was involved such that the “ticket” that gave the voter a ballot was faulty. It became apparent immediately and was fixed. The point is the system worked. All was constantly checked in detail. “Exhaustion” is worthless as an excuse.

The checks throughout the day, by multiple judges, guaranteed the transparency of the issue. Furthermore, voter “intent” as an issue is utter nonsense. If the machine could note discern “intent” the ballot was REJECTED! The voter was then given the opportunity to revote with a replacement ballot so “intent” would manifest, or the voter could state that it wasn’t that vital, and the machine would read those races where intent was clear.

While I was there we had half a dozen rejected ballots. One lady was obviously casting her first vote in her life and had hers rejected two times before she correctly filled out a replacement ballot.

The point is there simply can’t be any “ballots” to “find.” If what is happening in Mountain Iron (and apparently elsewhere) is allowed to stand it will show that Minnesota is as corrupt as Chicago, Albuquerque and Boston.

Another reader writes concerning Hennepin County (MInneapolis and inner ring suburbs):

I am a Minnesota election judge. Last Tuesday I worked the election in Plymouth at Wayazta High School. While not a head judge I was a “Machine Judge” which required me to set up and close out the machine. I was trained specifically for the tasks you outlined in your “What’s happening?” post. These are optical scanners and perform as you described, HOWEVER….

This election we were unable to transmit our results. The results were not uploaded electronically. The night before the election (Monday) the head judge I worked with advised me that there was a problem with the way ALL the Hennepin County machines were configured. There would be no way to transmit the results to the State. Instead….at the end of the election day since we were unable to transmit, we were instructed to pull the card out of the machine and carry it to City Hall for processing.

I was informed this was not the case for just our precinct, but for all of Hennepin County. I can tell you I did not transmit the info and the head judge left with the card, the ballots, and the official tape in her car on the way to City Hall all by herself (I trust her, but others may not be so trusting).

I was told there was something wrong with the IP address coded in all the machines and there was no way for the info to be transmitted via electronic means. I found this concerning, but did not think it a problem until all the fallout with the recount. Given how close this election is and the group involved in the recount, I felt it was critical this issue be brought to light, and those responsible forced to address why normal procedures were not in place and followed during this election.

Instapundit reader Joshua Dixon wrote Glenn Reynolds yesterday to comment on John’s post:

I am a small town newspaper editor in a purplish part of Minnesota. Based on what I’ve read and observed, the Coleman/Franken election recount fails the smell test many times over.

With Minnesota election rules and the optical scanning system, each ballot must be checked, rechecked, accounted for and re-accounted for by a number of election judges. Each judge’s tally must match the others’, and with the scanning machine’s tape produced the night of the election. The machine prints out three copies of each ward’s results on a single tape, which has to be signed in triplicate by the judges, and sent to the county seat. A day or so later, each town or township gets back a third of the tape it sent in on election night for convassing at an open meeting.

According to the city clerk I talked to just a few minutes ago, the election night tape is considered public record, and anyone who wants to can walk in and ask to examine the tapes. When I asked if I could take a photo of the relevant part of this town’s results of the Coleman/Franken contest, she not only allowed it, she straightened the tapes (Ward 1 and Ward 2) so I could get a better picture (attached).

The Power Line story brings up some legitimate questions. Here are a few more: How can St. Louis County deny being able to produce the genuine tape from election night? They were provided with one tape containing three copies of the results, one of which was required to be sent back to the town of Mountain Iron for canvassing. Did they send Mountain Iron its copy of the tape for convassing at an open meeting? If so, why not just provide the town’s copy of the tape instead of the county’s? Were the county and city’s copies of the tape treated as public record? If not, why not?

In short: the explanations for Franken’s new votes just don’t work.

And the head GOP election judge of Wyanett Township in Isanti County adds a footnote:

Not all precincts have upload capability to the Secretary of State — we are one of them. We turn our signed tapes into the County Auditor office within a reasonable time frame after poll closing. The tapes have to be in the constant contact with at least two judges from different political parties until they are turned over to two individuals at the County Auditor’s. We retain a copy signed by all of our election judges.

There is much more to be said, but it is important that these messages see the light of day this morning while the election hangs in the balance. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritichie (who is a story in himself) should know that he is being watched and will be held to account.

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