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Whooo boy! Coffee mug don't fail me now! (Put some of this together last night.) Recount Day was off and running, so I'll put up highlights and links from yesterday, and as much updating as will stay updated.

Minnesotans! Please consider this an open thread for posting Recount news, links, pix (!), reports from the front, local anecdotes, and, of course,....... RAMPANT speculation! After all, we have a Kos tradition to uphold, Gopherine Kossacks!

Hat tips and shout outs to Tomtech, Psycho Liberal, The Big E and Brownsox for their diaries and discussions last night. (And it looks like some kid blogger who goes by Kos put up a Front Page thingy too. Its OK kid; after all we share a birthday.)

So.....to the Orange fold.....and beyond.

From Wednesday evening.

  1. First, a big shout out! to Kossack ImpeccableLiberalCredentials, who got out of his parents' basement, changed out of pajamas, drove his Volvo with the snow machine engine into Bemidji in Beltrami County in order to park himself, his latte and his Birkenstocks 7 feet from the county recount table! He was there for all the drama as noted in the comments here: http://www.dailykos.com/...
  1. The Star Tribune has a really cool update site county-by-county MAP. Mouse over a county and click and it flips over the recount update in nearly real time, including a net change for Coleman or Franken and the total number of ballots challenged by either camp. (These ballots will go to the State Canvassing Board.) http://www.startribune.com/...
  1. MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's website for election and recount info is here: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/...

If you want to read the procedures, do's and dont's for election boards, its on the downloadable PDF file at the first page. Also, not really necessary but if you want to send Mr. Ritchie an e-mail pat on the back I'll bet it will be appreciated.

First nightly update from SoS office (8:00pmCT):
Coleman 195638= -70 from election night in these same precincts.
Franken 180923= -27 from election night in these same precincts.
So BOTH lost votes on the recount, but this is a net swing TO Al Franken of 43 votes.
ALSO: Franken has challenged 106 "Coleman & other" ballots statewide.
Coleman has challenged 115 "Franken & other" ballots statewide.
Those 106+115=221 ballots will go to the State Canvassing Board for final decisions.
N.B. The running recount totals do NOT include the challenged ballots. So to take Al's case, he is down 27 votes net from Nov. 4th NOT including the 115 ballots Coleman challenged. (If you WOULD take them into account Al's total would be 27 + 115= MINUS 142 from election night.) Same with Norm. Number crunchers, have at it! "Paging Nate Silver! Mr. Silver, please report to your choice of 10,000 lakes. Mr. Nate/Poblano/538 Silver, please!"

  1. Beyond the Star Tribune (and their cool online map) we also have 2 new media outlets for more current and running info at these links:

Mike McIntee at  http://theuptake.org/
and http://www.minnpost.com/
Big tip of the chapeau to Kossack chumley for the info!
AND for you fans of the nefarious: The Coleman campaign continually bars "The Uptake" from its press conferences because (wait for it!)............. "you're funded by George Soros!" (OH NO! We've been discovered.) Also shows the quality of journalism they are practicing, as in, "if a Republican doesn't like your reporting, you must be doing something right!"

  1. Ramsey County (St. Paul) court ruled in favor of Al Franken in a lawsuit to get access to the names of voters who voted absentee in Ramsey county. Such names are supposed to be available "for public inspection" after the polls close on Election Day in each county. For some reason Ramsey County has been holding back, not just from Franken but from everybody (including the Coleman and Barkley campaigns for that matter) for reasons unclear. Judge ordered release by 5:00pm Wednesday.

Hennepin County (Minneapolis) has likewise not released their absentee names either. No word on a similar lawsuit by anyone. No word Hennepin County was going to release their names (as of 9:00pm Wednesday.)
From a blogger comment at TheUptake: "Read the ruling, important to note ruling does not order the state to count absentee ballots, only to grant Franken campaign access to rejected absentee ballots and the written reasons for their rejection."

  1. Also from Ramsey County, a brief set-to at the recount. Everyone is being very careful (apparently state law does not permit anyone except an election official to even touch a ballot during the recount; I'll bet that's probably called "tampering with an election", which sounds REALLY serious) but things reached this point:

One dustup came when Coleman observer Bob Murray questioned Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky on all the people jamming in the room as well as how ballot stacks were being counted. When Murray challenged a handful of ballots in which voters appeared to mark Franken clearly, Mansky said they were frivolous challenges, something state law prohibits.

"If you want to deal with it, take me to court," Mansky said.

"State law prohibits frivolous challenges."
WOW! Now I realize there's ground for argument here but I'll bet serious money there are also precedents here (since the 1960s when the law was written.) Sooo...how much do you want to risk raising a "frivolous challenge"? Mr. Murray, can you enumerate all forms of a frivolous challenge and are you sure you are on the right side of frivolity? Sounds to me like Mansky is running a pretty tight ship in Ramsey County.

AHA! Further fact checking (Journalism students, watch closely) provides further background, foreground and sideground on the above Murray-Mansky to-do, thanks to mnblue.com

Grace Kelly, who was there all day, said that Murray got louder and louder each time he didn't get his way. Mansky stayed calm the entire time. McIntee commented that Murray later apologized. Noah Kunin had this comment on the Strib's article
    'The quote from Mansky is slightly inaccurate as posted here. Consultation of video from the incident produces the following exact quote:
   MANSKY: If you want to deal with them, you can take my determination to court.
   Slightly more politic, I’d say...'
   Noah Kunin
   Senior Political Correspondent
   http://www.theuptake.org

  1. Funny pages:

        A) The webmeister of Uptake, Mike McIntee reports the following:

Snark from the Minnesota Democratic Party today: CNN reported today that Senator Norm Coleman met with embattled, and recently defeated, Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) behind closed doors in the Capitol.

Minnesota Democratic Party spokesperson Frank Benenati released this statement:
  "Norm Coleman and Ted Stevens’ meeting today makes many wonder what the two senators were discussing behind closed doors. Was Stevens offering advice on the best way to fight allegations of illegally-funneled money and unreported gifts from donors? Were they planning another fishing trip to Alaska with high-powered lobbyists and oil executives? Or were they merely discussing what lobbying firms on K Street are hiring next year?"

"Makes many wonder"? Mr. Benenati, you may have just invented the reply to Faux Noise's "some people say." Good job!

         B) Want to play election judge? Minnesota Public Radio has pictures of challenged ballots here:
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/...

To me some are pretty obvious, but there's at least a couple where I want another sip from my Cleveland Browns mug before I make a call. In NE Minneapolis one challenged ballot was marked with an X, between Coleman and Franken's names.......sigh.

Now for Thursday morning:

  1. Lopez & Brown write the story for the top half of the front page.  http://www.startribune.com/...

 Star Tribune lists Coleman's lead at 174, total challenged ballots at 269, and 18% counted (unclear if ballots or precincts). Franken gained a net of 23 votes in St. Louis County (Duluth, although in this case not in the city of Duluth itself but from the outlying areas that stretch to Canada) because some precincts were using an older model optical scanner that couldn't read some of the ballots.

  1. Lawyers swing light sabres. Mark Elias (Franken) was pleased by Ramsey County court decision to allow access to names of absentee voters. Has impact across state in other counties. Fritz Knaak (Coleman) complained voter privacy should prevail. Elias said, "We'll decide what to do with the data once we get it. I promise you I will not knock on Mr. Knaak's door, in order to avoid frightening him."
  1. Lots of interest, lots of help, and some heat. Franken campaign says they have "deployed 2100 trained volunteers across the state, bolstered by an array of national and local legal talent."

"Knaak (Coleman) said his side has about 200 lawyers monitoring the process, along with hundreds of volunteers."

    Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky took another strong stand on Wednesday afternoon, insisting that in disputed ballots where voter intent was clear, he should make the call.
    Coleman recount attorney Knaak told reporters that Mansky "just can't do that," and had to be made to understand that once challenged, ballots had to be set aside for the state Canvassing Board to make a determination.
    But Mansky, a longtime elections expert who logged years at the Secretary of State's office, instead called Franken and Coleman lawyers aside at the end of the day to review the 13 challenged ballots. "I'm going to win all those challenges, I guarantee 100 percent," Mansky said. "We have some folks who are new to this and feel they have to challenge something."
    When the informal meeting was over, only a single ballot remained in dispute, out of 30,000 votes counted that day.

So there's a fair news round-up from yust southeast of Lake Wobegon.

Shalom.

Originally posted to WineRev on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 04:29 AM PST.

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