Skip to main content

I have a little experience in the field of election administration, although I'm not about to claim expertise. Maybe I merely know enough to be wrong in less obvious ways?  :-)

Regardless, it seem to me that this election is ripe to be contested, a contest may well be upheld, and the whole thing re-run from scratch.

It's clear that every vote that was set aside as questionable - be it provisional or absentee - will be individually examined and decided with the totals appropriately incremented one-by-one.  And it seems unlikely that those decisions will be seriously challenged. I believe the Minnesota procedures are clear enough and unbiased enough that the courts will be reluctant to substitute their judgment for the judgment of those to whom the law assigned the task of canvassing the results.

Instead, a contest would likely involve the eligibility of voters who's votes were cast and counted on election day. Elections are human endeavors and mistakes are made. Of late, Minnesota has been looking at mistakes that would have improperly disenfranchised voters. But mistakes go both ways, e.g., voters who didn't properly register but were allowed to vote anyway. Such mistakes are (thankfully) pretty rare, but my experience would suggest that they're on the order of 20-30 per 100,000 votes.

We must accept that such mistakes occur, but we'll assume they occur at a lower rate - say 15 per 100,000.  With over 2.8 million votes cast, that leads to at least 420 votes cast that should not have been.  And these votes cannot be un-cast since there's (appropriately) no way to identify the ballots. If the ultimate margin between the lead candidates is, say, 200 then it is likely that the candidate with the most votes would still have been the winner even if only the valid votes had been counted. But that's by no means certain. Given a high enough level of uncertainty, a court might easily rule that the election itself was sufficiently flawed that the true winner cannot be determined with sufficient certainty.

Am I wishing for this outcome? Certainly not! But a US Senate seat in New Hampshire was re-voted in 1974 and we ought not be too surprised if it happens again here this year.

Originally posted to IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:47 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  tips (5+ / 0-)

    protocol says I put this here, right?

    I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

    by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:48:24 AM PST

  •  Pope - Catholic, Bear - Woods (7+ / 0-)

    Etc.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:55:43 AM PST

  •  A re-vote (5+ / 0-)

    could only be ordered by the U.S. Senate. I don't see any reason why they would do that if Franken is ahead after the recount is officially over.

    •  statutes pull in courts (0+ / 0-)

      Typically state law addresses the possibility of contests of elections and specify the involvement of the state courts.

      I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

      by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:01:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue

        is the Minnesota statute that allows a court to order a recount on the grounds you described?

        •  pretty vague (0+ / 0-)

          I'd gone off to do some searching. Perhaps chew on this in the meantime.

          I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

          by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:05:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  here's some MN law (0+ / 0-)

          Chapter 209 which includes this quote:
          "The contest may be brought over an irregularity in the conduct of an election"

          I'm guessing that voters not properly registered who voted nonetheless would be an irregularilty.

          I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

          by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:11:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  but (0+ / 0-)

            look to Minnesota law on registering voters. You can register at the time you vote. Coleman cannot challenge the registration of voters who voted on election day, he could only challenge specific individual voters.

            "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

            by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:20:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe we're misunderstanding (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miss Blue, mdsiamese

            each other. I know that the results of the election can be challenged in court, and the court can rule on the validity of certain votes. But I don't believe that the court has the power to nullify the election and order a new one. Only the Senate can do that.

            •  the court can implement a remedy (0+ / 0-)

              and that remedy can be a new election. I just don't think they will.

              "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

              by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:25:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think that is right (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                IowaLibert, ColoTim

                Minnesota Section 209.12 says:

                When a contest relates to the office of senator or a member of the house of representatives of the United States, the only question to be decided by the court is which party to the contest received the highest number of votes legally cast at the election and is therefore entitled to receive the certificate of election. The judge trying the proceedings shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law upon that question. Evidence on any other points specified in the notice of contest, including but not limited to the question of the right of any person to nomination or office on the ground of deliberate, serious, and material violation of the provisions of the Minnesota Election Law, must be taken and preserved by the judge trying the contest, or by some person appointed by the judge for that purpose; but the judge shall make no findings or conclusion on those points.

                After the time for appeal has expired, or in case of an appeal, after the final judicial determination of the contest, upon application of either party to the contest, the court administrator of the district court shall promptly certify and forward the files and records of the proceedings, with all the evidence taken, to the presiding officer of the Senate or the House of Representatives of the United States. The court administrator shall endorse on the transmittal envelope or container the name of the case and the name of the party in whose behalf the proceedings were held, and shall sign the endorsement.

                It is ultimately up to the Senate whether or not to have a re-vote, and I think it is unlikely that they would do that if Franken was ahead after the recount.

                •  thanks! (0+ / 0-)

                  This Minnesota-specific citation does look definitive. Thanks a zillion.

                  I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

                  by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:41:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  the question. (0+ / 0-)

                  The statute you quoted says only what "the question to be decided is" and not what the remedy is for all of the possible answers to that question. What if the court decides it cannot determine which party received the highest number of votes?

                  Courts have a lot of power to set remedies that don't seem to exist in the statutes. For example, the MN supreme court decision to count the mis-rejected absentee ballots - the remedy they set is not specified in MN law. They just decided that was the way it would be. Unless you can find a statute that outlines the remedies a court can take and it says the courts cannot order a new election, then the MN court can order a new election.

                  "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

                  by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:49:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think you're wrong (0+ / 0-)

                    The court has two options - it can say Franken got more votes, or it can say Coleman got more votes. They have to rule one way or the other based on the evidence presented.

                    Courts are not all powerful. The remedy for the improperly rejected absentees was unusual, but it was aimed at determining the validity of specific votes, which is within their jurisdiction. On the other hand, ordering a re-vote would be essentially determining that the entire election was flawed, which is not really the responsibility of the courts.

                    I think mandating a new election would be a pretty extraordinary step. Is there any precedent for that kind of power, in Minnesota or elsewhere?

                    •  if I'm wrong (0+ / 0-)

                      then surely you can show me the statute outlining what remedies the court is allowed to take in election challenges. If there is no such statute, then I am right that the court can do pretty much whatever it wants.

                      "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

                      by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:17:43 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I think the statute (0+ / 0-)

                        is pretty clear. You've offered no proof that "the court can do pretty much whatever it wants," so I'm inclined to trust my interpretation of the statute. In any case, I'm not going to argue this any more.

                        Have a nice day.

                        •  I think the statute is NOT clear (0+ / 0-)

                          and I most certainly DID offer proof that "the court can do pretty much whatever it wants" since IT JUST DID THAT IN THE CASE OF THE ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

                          "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

                          by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:41:29 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

      •  when it's over, it's over (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue, itskevin

        It's already been in state court for the last month. Once the Minn. SoS signs off on the result, though, it's the Senate's call.

    •  They've done it once before (0+ / 0-)

      in the 1974 New Hampshire race, where the margin of victory was very low, where the lead changed hands, and the Senate ended up getting so bogged down in contests and challenges to this vote or that one that it ordered a revote.  

  •  Absolutely right (0+ / 0-)

    I've posted this several times, but I'll say it again, there's a margin of error in every election and vote count.  When the margin of victory is larger than the margin of error, as in the vast majority of elections, no problem.  When the margin of victory is greater than the margin of error, there probably needs to be a do-over.  In this situation, there is no way to tell who won.  In this case, a there could be a runoff where those who voted for the third party candidate can choose between Franken and Coleman.  Like you noted, there is some precedent for that, in the 1974 New Hampshire Senate election where it was also too close to call, recounts, contests.

    •  I think you meant to say... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, uc booker

      When the margin of victory is greater than the margin of error, there probably needs to be a do-over.  

      When the margin of error is greater than the margin of victory...

      Obama/Biden'08 Delivering Change he Promised

      by dvogel001 on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:06:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  margin of error (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      N in Seattle, itskevin, ColoTim

      If a state's statutes do not say "if the election result is within the margin of error, do-over" then margin of error is totally irrelevant. Elections are not decided on statistical probabilities.

      "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

      by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:27:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

        No statistical probabilities. But that doesn't mean that no votes were cast by those who should not have. If (and this is a big if) the number of those voters is greater than the margin of victory, and those voters can be identified individually and shown to be ineligible, then the "no statistics" may backfire - 201 ineligible votes could be sufficient to throw out an election decided by 200 votes; can't use statistics to show it's unlike they all voted for the first place candidate.

        I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

        by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:34:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, it's not mandated by (0+ / 0-)

        state statute (although maybe it should be).  I point it out only because the Senate has ordered a revote once before because the margin was very very close, there were challenges and contests, and because of that the Senate could not be "sure" who really won.  

  •  I'm in Seattle taking care of my grandmother (0+ / 0-)

    She has cancer and does not have cable.  I was just wondering if there was ever a result in this election.  This makes Gore/Bush seem like a cake walk.

    •  still counting (0+ / 0-)

      It seems clear that Frankin will be certified as the winner by a small margin, but that may not be final (well, final pending court action) until after the new Congress is sworn in January 6th.

      I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

      by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:14:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Franken +50 (0+ / 0-)

      The recount is basically concluded.  All withdrawn challenges have now been allocated and Franken has a lead of 50 votes.  The last step is the resolution of the approximately 1300 improperly rejected absentee ballots.  After that is resolved a winner can be certified by the State (although Coleman will likely try to get a court to issue an injunction to keep that certification from happening).  After certification (and assuming Coleman takes it on the chin) the courts will have to decide Coleman's allegation that 130 or so ballots were duplicates that were counted as originals.  

  •  "level of uncertainty" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bensdad, Miss Blue, itskevin, ColoTim

    Whatever the court does, it has to have the law behind it. I seriously doubt any court would overturn the certified results of an election based on a statistical "level of uncertainty". I don't know Minnesota law, but I am pretty sure it says winners are determined by the number of votes counted, not statistical possibilities.

    Your point is also flawed since Minnesota allows same day registration to vote. Any challenge to someone's right to vote has to be made specifically to that person, I seem to recall from things I read about provisional ballots (which Minnesota does not have). Clearly, the laws of Minnesota favor allowing everyone to vote and even registering them at the very last minute possible. Those 420 votes - as long as those people are residents of MN, they would get to register and vote. The MN courts will not want to disenfranchise people that the law clearly wants franchised.

    "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

    by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:17:07 PM PST

    •  provisional ballots are federal mandate (0+ / 0-)

      Required by HAVA. If Minnesota doesn't have them, there's another reason the election might be ruled fatally flawed (but I'm sure they must have provisionals).

      I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

      by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:19:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no provisional ballots in MN (5+ / 0-)

        we have been through this before. Minnesota does not have provisional ballots because it allows voters to register at the time they vote. They don't need provisional ballots which are for people who cannot prove they are registered. No violation of HAVA here. If someone wants to challenge a voters qualifications to vote (e.g. whether the person lives where they say they live, etc), they have to bring the challenge in court after the vote is counted.

        "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

        by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:22:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Voter behavior (0+ / 0-)

          I can see a scenario like this:
          Voter says he's registered, there's no record, he's offered a registration form, "f-u" says the voter "I'm not filling that out again, I did it. now let me vote."  Are you simply going to give him a ballot and scan it? Are you going to simply turn him away?

          If you have experience in Minnesota and say there are no provisionals, I totally believe you.  But I remain curious how the rare "special" voters are handled there.

          I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

          by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:30:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  in your scenario (4+ / 0-)

            the voter cannot say "f-u" and just vote. MN has specific procedures for same-day-registration and anyone that says "f-u" to those procedures won't get a ballot. A simple google search of "provisional ballots Minnesota" yields some interesting reading for you:

            link

            link

            The pdf at this link says:

            42 U.S.C. § 15482. Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are exempt from HAVA’s provisional ballot
            requirement because they have Election Day registration, although Wisconsin and Wyoming offer provisional ballots to voters
            who cannot meet identification requirements. North Dakota is also exempt because it does not have voter registration.

            and more which I will leave to you to find.

            "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

            by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:40:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  thanks! (0+ / 0-)

              I will read those. Always interested in how things vary from state to state.

              Given what you've explained about Minnesota, I can't imagine then why Wisconsin and Wyoming offer provisionals.....

              I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

              by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:44:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  WI (0+ / 0-)

                Allows provisional ballots if you cannot meet the requirements to register at time of voting:  proper ID with your current address.  

                WI will accept a utility bill addressed to you, so it's a pretty easy thing to prove.  However, homeless people are allowed to vote, and they may not have proper ID.  They are still allowed to vote with a provisional ballot.  Virtually no one is turned away from the voting booth in WI.

                "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4210+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

                by Miss Blue on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:21:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  great, so why not MN too? (0+ / 0-)

                  Thanks. What you've said about WI and WY make sense to me. And I don't see why such scenarios as you describe wouldn't also happen in MN. Which leaves me with a lingering doubt about MN & provisionals.

                  I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

                  by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:31:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  true, but still not airtight (0+ / 0-)

      winners are determined by the number of votes counted, not statistical possibilities

      I completely agree with this. However, this simply means that the lawyers need make a massive public records request so that they can track down and identify the individual ineligible voters. This would obviously be very difficult to find enough of them if there are, say, only 600 ineligibles statewide and the margin of victory is 500. But if the margin is 100 and there are maybe a few more ineligibles....

      I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

      by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:25:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think a court would allow that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue, itskevin

        Courts don't like fishing expeditions. Coleman has to come up with some proof that some ineligible people voted before a court will consider that as part of his challenge. Excluding the absentee ballots that include the name of the voter, he can't just say "out of the 2.8 million people that voted, I think there are 500 people that were ineligible". He has to have names, and before the court will consider those names, he has to challenge them individually and prove they were ineligible.

        The better route, and more likely route, is that Coleman will assert counting mistakes and inequities by the canvassing board over the challenged ballots and absentee ballots. If he starts challenging the rest of the ballots, the court is going to ignore him.

        "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

        by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:32:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  maybe.... (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe Coleman wouldn't need a massive public records request. A more reasonable request for a subset (5%) might be seen as more than reasonable in the interests of fair and accurate elections. And if sufficient numbers of ineligibles are found, a full request could be hard to deny.

          I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

          by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:38:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  fishing expeditions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miss Blue

            Coleman has to have a good reason for such a request and a good expectation of finding improperly registered people. Given Minnesota's same-day registration and challenge rules, I don't think he has that expectation. I don't think MN has a significant number of improperly registered voters given their clear desire to make it so easy to register.

            "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

            by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:42:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "significant" (0+ / 0-)

              I think in this context "significant" depends on the size of the margin. If the margin ended up at 50 (which it won't), then the improperly registered are tiny in comparison with the total registered voters but significant to this election nonetheless.

              I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

              by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:46:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  challenges (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Miss Blue

                But you still are missing my point. Coleman has to bring the correct procedure to challenge those voters as being improperly registered. He has to challenge each voter individually and prove each voter is improperly registered, and those voters have the right to prove they were properly registered. Coleman cannot just go to the court and say "I believe Jane, Jack, Ben, ...x50 were improperly registered" and have that court decide it. He has to challenge Jane, Jane gets to prove her registration eligibility. He has to challenge Jack, challenge Ben, etc, and find 50 people who were not registered and prove they were not registered in court with each of those people getting to defend themselves.

                AND he has to be reasonably certain that those people voted for Franken, which he can't know ahead of time. So Coleman is going to challenge Democrats hoping to hit enough votes to get ahead of Franken.

                Suppose a court lets Coleman make those challenges, then Franken can challenge people too. He'll challenge Republicans.

                No court is going to let candidates cherry-pick challenges this way. There is no reason to believe the results would change by doing so since both sides can probably find voters to challenge.

                "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

                by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:57:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  trouble with this (0+ / 0-)

                  not with your comment over-all, but with the part about being sure how the voter voted. How do we know? Do we simply take the word of the voter, a voter who is - almost by definition - biased towards one candidate? That hardly seems right.

                  I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

                  by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:04:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Coleman would not know (0+ / 0-)

                    how the voter voted. There's no way to know. He would be stupid to challenge any voters without knowing for certain that excluding them will give him an advantage.

                    "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

                    by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:16:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

                      Forgive me if I'm being dense and missing something, but it seems to me that every voter who can be identified as having improperly voted is a "win" for Coleman in a contest of the election.  

                      Each such voter does nothing to change the election canvas - how could it when we don't know how the voter voted - but it does add to the count of ballots that were demonstrably cast improperly. If the total of such votes exceeds the margin, then there is the possibility that the result shown in the final canvas does not have the correct winner.

                      It seems that the MN 209.12 is fairly clear that the MN courts can only rule on who won and that must be A or B, not "we can't tell".  But also clearly they are to take testimony about such uncertainties as numbers of votes cast by ineligible voters and include that with the information transmitted to the Congress, the obvious intent being to help Congress fashion whatever it deems to be an equity resolution, which could include a re-vote.

                      I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

                      by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:25:37 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                        First - MN 209.12. Nothing is "fairly clear" about what the MN courts can decide. The only thing clear is what question they can consider, not what answer they give. You didn't even know MN doesn't have provisional ballots until you were told in the comments of this diary, now you think you are "fairly clear" on MN statute 209.12? Only the courts can determine what that statute means. Unless MN law says a MN court cannot do something as a remedy, then the MN court can do that something as a remedy.

                        Second - what is the remedy of a challenge to a voter? I don't have the statute handy, but since ballots are not identifiable, there is no way for a court to void someone's vote. The remedy is probably a fine. If Coleman challenges Jack, Jane, Ben, ... as legitimate voters, their votes will not be removed from the count of votes. He won't change the count of votes that way. You are saying if he demonstrates enough people were invalid that it would call into question the validity of the entire election. Okay, let's say that happens. Guess what - you just came up with a scenario where the court would not be able to decide who won the election and could not answer the question in MN 209.12. The only remedy the court could make is a re-vote.

                        "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

                        by mdsiamese on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:39:26 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  agree to disagree (0+ / 0-)

                          Let's skip to the end, the part that starts "OKay, let's say that happens...".

                          My reading leads me to believe the court would conclude that the canvassing board figures were correct and would not change the winner. The statute would require that those figures would be provided to Congress along with the facts with respect to the ineligible voters. Doing exactly that would match - neither more nor less - what the law requires.

                          But that's my reading of the statute and your reading is welcome to differ. The lawyers & judges will determine in any event.

                          And the discussion elsewhere of WI & WY has been very interesting. They both have same day registration and both have provisional ballots. Hmmm...

                          I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

                          by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:51:38 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

  •  Minnesota has same-day registration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norm DePlume

    mistakes go both ways, e.g., voters who didn't properly register but were allowed to vote anyway. Such mistakes are (thankfully) pretty rare, but my experience would suggest that they're on the order of 20-30 per 100,000 votes.

    Unless your experience with same-day registration in Minnesota, it is doubtful that you have any relevant experience period.
    HOW EXACTLY COULD anyone in Minnesota have failed to register? YOU ARE ALLOWED to register RIGHT THERE IF you haven't ALREADY, so how could THAT even MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE??  The only kind of ACTUAL illegality would be if you weren't ELIGIBLE to register.
    Minnesota, like my home state of North Carolina, RESTORES felons' voting rights upon completion of their sentence, SO IF THEY WERE OUT OF PRISON and presenting themselves to vote AT ALL, they could HARDLY be ineligible by felony.  What, you think 20 out of 100,000 people CAME ALL THE WAY FROM ANOTHER STATE so they could vote fraudulently in Minnesota?  Or claimed to be 18 when they were 17?  Or insisted on voting at the wrong address?? IN A STATEWIDE race like this one, THAT would NOT even make ANY DIFFERENCE?

    So 20-30 is just bullshit.
    This might be relevant in a place that had stricter eligibility or registration requirements, BUT NOT IN MINNESOTA.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:19:19 PM PST

  •  not a lawyer (0+ / 0-)

    Does the Minnesota registration form include affirmations that the voter has not lost their rights due to felony or mental capacity?  Are those checkboxes perhaps that must be affirmatively entered? If so, a voter registering who failed to check the boxes was probably improperly registered and not entitled to vote.

    I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

    by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:22:30 PM PST

  •  thanks to NoisyWithdrawal (0+ / 0-)

    I think the specific MN statute's been located and the courts there are prevented from having a re-vote be an equitable remedy in the event of an election contest. Thanks for setting us straight!!

    It is ultimately up to the Senate whether or not to have a re-vote, and I think it is unlikely that they would do that if Franken was ahead after the recount.

    I can't close this out without commenting on this (also from NoisyWithdrawal). I know politics is a rough sport, but I try to never completely accept these asymetric situations. I too have no doubt that this Senate will accept Franken without a revote while a revote would be possible if Coleman were ahead by identical circumstances. Fairness just doesn't seem to get the priority that it ought. I think we'd all agree that we wish it would/could. If only.

    I'm no longer in Iowa. I've been told I'm "a bad libertarian". Hmm... Maybe I need to change my ID???

    by IowaLibert on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:56:54 PM PST

  •  Will the Minnesota result be contested? (0+ / 0-)

    duh!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
    We inaugurate President Barack Obama in 21 days!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:14:34 PM PST

  •  "contest" has nothing to do with "revote" (0+ / 0-)

    They are entirely different matters, except perhaps in that a successful election contest might necessitate a revote.

    We had an election contest lawsuit here in Washington after the 2004 gubernatorial election, brought by the Republicans.  After a couple of weeks in the courtroom, it was dismissed "with prejudice" by the judge.

    In Washington, the grounds for a successful contest entail preponderance of the evidence demonstrating willful fraud or other interference by voters, the winner, and/or elections officials.  Simply pointing out that there were problems and/or errors in the registration, voting, collection, and/or counting processes is insufficient -- it has to be intentional.

    In the end, the judge did decide that there were a number of identifiably fraudulent ballots cast ... for the Republican.  Most were cast by widows for spouses who had died between the registration deadline and receipt of their absentee ballots in the mail.  Final result was that Governor Gregoire's winning margin increased, from 129 to 133.

    Students of the Minnesota legal corpus will have to weigh in on the acceptable grounds under which an election contest lawsuit might succeed in that state.

    The way to win is not to move to the right wing; the way to win is to move to the right policy. -- Nameless Soldier

    by N in Seattle on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:32:23 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site