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Franken-Coleman Recount Update: They Told Us So

hourglass.jpgFor weeks now, in addition to urging a review of rejected absentee ballots and other ballot issues, Al Franken’s campaign has been urging Minnesota’s Secretary of State and the State Canvassing Board to find those ballots that were cast on Election Day but had gone missing during the recanvassing prior to the recount. And the local media, taking its cues from the Coleman campaign, has been essentially laughing off the Franken campaign’s pleas:

But, Corbid said just because the numbers are off does not mean any ballots have disappeared.

"Can I tell them exactly what happened in those precincts? No," Corbid said. "But I think it’s less likely that there’s missing ballots and it’s more likely that there was a group of ballots counted twice for some reason."

Corbid said ballots can be repeatedly counted after voting machines get jammed. If proper procedures are not followed, an already counted ballot can be rescanned.

[…]

Republican Senator Norm Coleman’s campaign dismissed Franken’s "hundreds" of missing ballots claim.

Spokesman Tom Erickson said the Franken side is clearly worried that Coleman is on track to win the recount, and is setting the stage to challenge the election results in court or in the U.S. Senate.

"When you make these wild accusations, as the Franken campaign is, you’re not only insulting our dedicated elections officials but also insulting the entire electoral process here in Minnesota," Erickson said.

Well, guess what — the Franken campaign was right:

The Minnesota Senate Recount in Ramsey County discovered 171 ballots that were not counted on election day. [The UpTake] spoke with Ramsey County Elections Director Joe Mansky who explained what occurred [see The UpTake’s video above].

On Election Day, one of the ballot counters (a device that sits on top of the ballot box) for Maplewood Precinct 6 stopped functioning correctly. The ballot counter was replaced by election judges but was not reactivated. 171 ballots remained in their ballot box until today, when the box was reopened during the hand recount. Election workers quickly determined that there were more ballots in the box than on the machine tape record of election night results. The problem was traced back to the defective ballot counter and the results of these ballots wil now be included in the recounted totals.

This follows more good news for Franken: SoS Mark Ritchie’s office has asked local election officials to examine an estimated 12,000 rejected absentee ballots to see whether their rejection fell under one of four reasons for rejection defined in state law. Ritchie’s office asked that ballots that were rejected for something other than the four legal reasons be placed into a so-called "fifth category." In other words, since the canvassing board punted on this one, and since Ritchie doesn’t want the screwed voters to have the courts for their only hope of relief, he’s asking the counties to do what the canvassing board won’t.

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