Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Regarding the Recount

There's a lot of discussion about the recount that will be going underway in our Senator election. If you haven't been following, Senator Coleman is currently beating Al Franken by 200+ votes.

If you have been following the discussion nationally, a lot of people are looking at the process in Minnesota with dubious eyes. I think this is understandable considering Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, but I think the situation here is different.

I served as an election judge here at city hall in Mound, MN. Let me tell you that the people I worked with worked real hard to get things done correctly, including the city's staff, and the volunteer judges. This is coming from a Democrat who's living in a strong Republican area. Here's a couple of things I observed that leads me to be confident that the count will be as accurate as possible when the recount is done.

When you sign up to be a judge, they ask you what party affiliation you are, as to distribute judges fairly among the precincts.

When something unusual happens, like the ballot box gets jammed, it is required to have a judge from both parties present when it is opened to correct the problem.

At the start of the day, each polling location records exactly how many ballots there are. Then at the end of the day, a count takes place of the ballots, including spoiled ballots, ballots cast, write-in ballots, and unused ballots. If the ballot total at the end of the day is not the same as at the start of the day, it would be noted in the incident log. This means it would be very, very hard to "stuff" a ballot box. Even if someone snuck a blank ballot out of the polling location, made some legitimate copies, and even _if_ they snuck them back to the same location, and somehow gotten past the judge manning the ballot box, getting those ballots in there. They would've messed up the count, and the judges at the end of the day would note it, and results from that precinct would've been eyed suspiciously.

Also, at the end of the day. All the ballots are placed in sealed envelopes and boxes that would be for all practical purposes, impossible to sneak more ballots in.

I have a lot of confidence that the recount will be done fairly. If lawyers and judges are brought in, it could make things more dicey. Let's hope that's kept to a minimum, and we'll know the result by Mid-December.

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