Road To 60: Franken Fighting To Count Excluded Absentees

With the Minnesota vote certification set for tomorrow and the recount to commence on Wednesday, Al Franken's campaign is fighting to make sure that absentee votes that were wrongfully disqualified are counted. Franken had originally requested voter information on all excluded absentee ballots but when two counties rejected the request, citing privacy concerns, Franken took it to court.

Franken has sued to get access to a roster of voters whose absentee ballots were invalidated. The campaign says it would use the information to investigate whether the rejections were proper.

The hearing on this lawsuit is set for Wednesday morning, shortly after the recount is scheduled to begin, so the Franken campaign has requested that the certification -- and hence the recount -- be pushed until all valid votes are counted.

The Franken campaign filed a brief with the five-person board Monday, demanding that every vote be counted.

"We would ask them to not certify the vote count," Marc Elias, a Democratic election lawyer working for Franken, said in a news conference Monday.

As Elias said on a conference call with reporters today:

"I don't think that they have a vote count to certify."

It's important to note that, despite the Republican party line on this, this is not some futile fishing expedition by a campaign desperate for any vote it can get. This is a legitimate enfranchisement issue.

Franken's advisers say they know of hundreds of voided absentee ballots based on their surveys of Minnesota counties that voluntarily supplied information, but they wouldn't give a precise number. [...]

One of the affidavits is from James Langland of Thief River Falls, who voted absentee in person because he was traveling on Election Day. Langland said he was told his ballot was invalidated because it lacked proper documentation. He said he learned nine days after the election that a county official failed to sign the envelope.

Langland said in the document that he voted for Franken, as did the other three voters who submitted sworn statements.

"In an election this close, every vote matters and every vote should be counted," said Franken attorney Marc Elias. "Whether it's a close election or not, these individual Minnesotans have a right to have their vote counted."

Elections officials in the state have said that the absentee ballot issue could potentially be dealt with during the recount, so it doesn't look as though an official certification of the vote would spell the end for those wrongfully disenfranchised absentee voters, but clearly, the Franken campaign would like to add them to the official pre-recount tally to minimize any lead Coleman has and hence any premature claims of victory.

Whenever it actually starts, the recount is going to be expensive, so help Al out over at the Road To 60 ActBlue page.

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Rewriting the 2000 election controversy

I have been watching all the talking heads on the 24/7 Cable News stations a lot recently, and the stupidity of these people has been driving me crazy.  I keep hearing them cry hypocrisy over the Democrats possibly nominating the candidate with the least popular votes despite disputing the 2000 election because Bush took office even though he lost the popular vote nationwide.

Now, there are many differences between the current situation and the one in 2000 (The MI/FL situation, caucuses vs. primaries, no popular vote numbers from some caucus states, should contests in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and other US territories count towards the popular vote even though they can't vote in a general election, etc..).  And so I don't want to get into the legitimacy of the Florida/Michigan situation and who actually leads in the popular vote.  

All I wanted to say to the morons on the right who is that the legitimacy of the 2000 election was not disputed over the fact that Bush "won" despite losing the national popular vote.  Al Gore was fully prepared to concede the election even though he won the popular vote nationwide once the Florida votes were counted.  The winner of national popular vote was never in doubt.  The election was disputed because the Secretary of State in Florida refused to count all the votes in that state in accordance with the law, and thus we never got to find out who actually won Florida's 25 electoral votes. So, note to right wing hacks, you still stole that election in 2000 and you are either stupid or completely dishonest...probably a combination of both.  But I guess we already knew that.  I just needed to do a little venting.  I hope you understand.  VIVA DEMOCRACY!

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HBO's Recount put this election in perspective, We MUST Win!

Watching "Recount" on HBO brought back all the terrible memories of the 2000 fiasco and so much more. I was only 12 when it happened, and I'll admit I was thoroughly confused by what went on. All I knew was that the election was very close and the U.S. Supreme court decided democracy just took too much damn time.

HBO did a fantastic job of clarifying that awful mess. It certainly wasn't a feel good movie--in fact, it was more of a "feel like complete shit" movie. It made me pissed off again. How the hell did this happen? Voters disenfranchised by the thousands, non-partisan decisions in the hands of the most partisan of people, butterfly ballots, hanging chad, planted protestors disrupting vote count and assaulting a lawyer, election officials being tricked left and right by the disruption created by the Republicans.

But about 20 minutes after the movie ended, my frustration about what happened in 2000 came to an abrupt halt. It dawned on me that the situation we now find ourselves in is making those very same Republicans open bottles of champagne and celebrate the Democratic party once again shooting itself in the foot.

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Il-14: The Recount Dilemma

richard k. means, the best progressive election lawyer in the state of illinois, explains that the procedure for obtaining a recount is quite clear:

A discovery recount is only available in Illinois to a candidate who is within 95% of the winner.  Even then you get to recount only 25% of the precincts in every election jusridiction in the district for a pidling $10 per precinct.  In order to change the result, you have to go to court and prove that, had certain very specificly described errors not been made, that your candidate would have won.

means is one of the authors of the 2002 handbook on illinois election law published by the illinois institute for continuing legal education and wrote the chapter on recounts in the state.

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NH recount results

There are some results from a small number of precincts in NH posted on the SoS website.

Some conclusions

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