Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Minn: Franken “votes” and the ACORN counter

With the Minnesota Senate race vote recount not due to begin until next week, there are already questions about ballot security, the “discovery of votes” no one knew were lost, and the fairness with which the recount will be conducted.

A Wall Street Journal editorial today questions some of the “vote discoveries” that have enabled Democrat Al Franken to close incumbent Republican Norm Coleman’s election night lead from over 700 to just over 200 yesterday, Nov. 11.

The WSJ notes:

For example, there was Friday night's announcement by Minneapolis's director of elections that she'd forgotten to count 32 absentee ballots in her car.

The Coleman campaign scrambled to get a county judge to halt the counting of these absentees, since it was impossible to prove their integrity 72 hours after the polls closed. The judge refused on grounds that she lacked jurisdiction.

Up in Two Harbors, another liberal outpost, Mr. Franken picked up an additional 246 votes. In Partridge Township, he racked up another 100. Election officials in both places claim they initially miscommunicated the numbers. Odd, because in the Two Harbors precinct, none of the other contests recorded any changes in their vote totals.

According to conservative statistician John Lott, Mr. Franken's gains so far are 2.5 times the corrections made for Barack Obama in the state, and nearly three times the gains for Democrats across Minnesota Congressional races.

Mr. Lott notes that Mr. Franken's "new" votes equal more than all the changes for all the precincts in the entire state for the Presidential, Congressional and statehouse races combined (482 votes). …
At The Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog Hans von Spakowsky warns:
…This entire process is being overseen by Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who isn't exactly a nonpartisan observer.

One of Mr. Ritchie's financial supporters during his 2006 run for office was a 527 group called the Secretary of State Project, which was co-founded by James Rucker, who came from The group says it is devoted to putting Democrats in jobs where they can "protect elections."

Should we be worried that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is an ACORN-endorsed official who was elected in 2006 with considerable help from the Secretary of State Project, a liberal 527 organization whose goal is to control secretary of state offices throughout the nation?

Should we be worried that the SoS Project called Ritchie the most “progressive” secretary of state in the nation? Or that in 2003 he led National Voice, a voting coalition sponsored by radical organizations like, Greenpeace and the National Council of Churches?

No matter how much the final vote tally shrinks before it is certified, there will be a recount. A key factor in that recount may be Minnesota Statute 204C.22, which says that a “ballot shall not be rejected for a technical error that does not make it impossible to determine the voter’s intent.”

In other words, it seems that Ritchie and other local election officials may have the final say in determining voter “intent” on questionable ballots.

I guess it will just be a funny coincidence if those determinations all seem to follow the same incredible pattern as the “corrections” to the vote count have so far in Minnesota, i.e., the “intent” always favoring Franken in the recount.

Let’s hope they don’t, because all of us — Democrats, Republicans and independents — have an interest in a fair election process that does not allow partisan bias to change the outcome of an election as voted by the American electorate.
Powerline’s John Hinderaker was on Hannity & Colmes last night. I missed the program. Did any of you see it?

The entire WSJ editorial's here; von Spakowsky's post is here.

BTW - I was surprised to see the WSJ refer to Lott as a "conservative statistician."

If the editors thought there might be a conservative tilt to Lott's analysis, they could have had a statistician of their own choosing perform some procedures and used data generated thereby.

On the other hand, if they believed Lott's statistical work raised legitimate concerns about - as the WSJ titled its editorial "Mischief in Minnesota?" - what was the point of identifying Lott as a "conservative statistician?"