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Every Vote Should be Counted, but Franken Votes Count Twice | Blogcritics
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Today on Blogcritics

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Home »
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Every Vote Should be Counted, but Franken Votes Count Twice

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class="post-89474 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry tag-elections-and-candidates tag-law-and-rights tag-local-and-regional tag-policy tag-u-s- post-listing">
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Every Vote Should be Counted, but Franken Votes Count Twice


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The ridiculousness of the Minnesota Senatorial election between Al Franken and Norm Coleman has reached its height, and the Wall Street Journal has been doing an excellent job of chronicling the details of how a close election can be stolen.

The final twist, which helped push Franken from being down by a few hundred votes to being ahead by a similar margin, was the decision by Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and the other members of the Canvassing Board which is overseeing the recounts, to count a number of duplicate ballots — in addition to the regular ballots filed by those same voters. In Minnesota, when a ballot is damaged, election officials are required to make a duplicate of it, mark the duplicate clearly as a duplicate, and store it separately from the regular ballots. Apparently, the duplicates in 25 precincts were not clearly marked, and in response to demands from the Franken campaign, the Canvassing Board decided to throw reasonable caution and responsibility to the wind and treat those duplicates as additional ballots to be counted.

You might wonder how we know those ballots are duplicates. Simple. In each of those precincts, after the votes were recounted, there were more ballots counted than there were voters who signed in at the polls. There were enough more to gain Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes. The only way for that to happen is for some voters to have voted twice. This poor decision is just one of many choices made by the Canvassing Board about which ballots to reject and which ones to accept which seem to scream bias, if not on the part of the entire board, then certainly on the part of Secretary Ritchie, who is guiding the process. Rules are being applied inconsistently and haphazardly, but apparently always to the benefit of Franken.

Throughout the process the Canvassing Board has seemed powerless to challenge Ritchie's partisan directions. Despite board member and State Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson's having admitted publicly that "very likely there was a double counting," earlier this week, the Canvassing Board certified Franken as the winner by 225 votes, far fewer than the number of overcounts, resulting in a court challenge from Coleman. The final settlement of the election will be in the hands of a three-judge panel selected by former Minnesota Viking and current State Supreme Court Justice Alan "Purple People Eater" Page, who has a background in the Democratic party and seems to be sympathetic to Franken.

This shameful saga should be resolved next week, but it raises the question of why there wasn't a point in this process at which someone in the Democratic party woke up and realized that no matter how great their ambition and greed for power, they do themselves no favors by corrupting and debasing the process for which their party itself was named? After all of this, with the extensive attention focused on the Franken campaign's dirty tricks, there is no way that Franken will be taken seriously if he is seated. He will be a pariah and a liability and held up as an object lesson to others, rather like a Macbeth for the modern era. Franken is supposed to be a comedian, but making a joke of the democratic process really isn't all that funny.


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About
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Dave Nalle
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  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Cindy,

    Re: above comment, there’s another thing I’d like to add. Our own individual experiences and moments of introspection – if we’re really honest with ourselves – should in almost every case throw in serious doubt our rather naive belief as to our own goodness.
    Coupled with the fact that it is always easier and more convenient to blame others for what’s wrong with the world or our own life, and I think that a healthy dose of self-doubt is a reasonable and wise policy.
    Roger

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Brother Nowosielski- I don’t necessarily want to claim that Sarah Palin is “deep.” For one thing, that sounds like some idiot carrying on about some stupid pop singer. Oh, Kurt Cobain was DEEP man. You just don’t Get It.

    Also, I don’t necessarily want politicians who are “deep.” I’m exactly NOT looking for a Platonic philosopher-king. That’s just broadly looking for a dictator, someone whose working on a different plane, and we just need to follow along with the big plan. I’m more looking for a capable manager and steward, not a visionary. That’s why Mitt Romney started looking pretty good to me in the primaries.

    But in fact Sarah Palin is a sharp cookie, and has significant executive experience – and has to some significant extent gotten results. Especially, her willingness to turn on corruption within her own party is a big plus with me.

    I could do without some of the populist shtick she was running with the McCain campaign, but I get a pretty strong general sense that her thinking mostly tends to run my way.

    Mostly, she seems like a really practical, sensible woman, beyond ideology. She’s not a hothouse flower like some Kennedy or Bush scion. She has some experience in actually managing budgets and working physical labor.

    Also, I will invoke Tina Fey’s primary season argument originally made for Hillary: Bitches get stuff done. Sarah is very ladylike, but she’s got just enough bitch to put a spiked heel down on a deserving foot. Same type of traits in a man might get him described as “hardass.”

    Finally, I can’t imagine that President Palin would be plotting how to spend an extra trillion dollars to stimulate the economy. She could accomplish that with a swimsuit calender. But beyond that, she’d be much more just practically skeptical of a lot of it.

    Plus, I admit a certain social joy in celebrating Sister Sarah because she pisses off all the right people really, really bad and mostly for just the right reasons. I love to defy particularly the faux-elitism lined up against her not just by pretentious Democrats, but Republican self-presumed elite. I’d love to put her in a cage match with that candyass Chris Buckley.

    Finally, Sarah Palin is FUN. That video she staged on the turkey farm at Thanksgiving was DARK humor from Miss Sarah. That was such an in-your-face affront to candyass sensibilities. She also inspires great Paul Bunyon type stuff.

    FACT: Sarah Palin won her governor’s seat by shooting her opponent the incumbent with a bow and arrow, and serving him up to constituents cooked up with a delicious moose stew recipe. Later, she staked his head on a post in the Aleutian Islands as a message to the Russians.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Look, Al,

    You don’t have a quarrel with me at all. Not once on this or any other thread have I made any disparaging remarks about Ms Palin, nor have I ever done it or thought so during pre-election times. In fact, I have always regarded the Democrats’ attacks on her as low and underhanded. I have no reason, no has she given me any, to doubt or question her ability(ies) to serve. As to Ms. Coulter, I’m sorry I kind of overreacted; I didn’t really mean half of the things I said, although I do have a rather low opinion of all ideologues, be they from the Right or the Left. But Ms Palin doesn’t belong of course in that category. So I hope we’re square on this issue. OK. No hard feelings, please!

  • Cindy D

    Roger,

    You’ll have to show me an evil baby then. I’ve never met one. Children can be very mean. They’re already being socialized.

    I didn’t think I was insisting on sainthood. Or even talking about goodness. I’m talking about being socialized into a system. Our culture promotes certain values, attitudes, etc. in order to function the way it does. All cultures do, no? Not all cultures are the same though, are they?

    Are you familiar with Milgram’s experiments? The set up is that it’s an experiment about learning. One subject is the “teacher” and the other is the “learner”? An authority figure in a white coat tells the “teacher” that when the “learner” makes a mistake s/he is to administer a shock (of course there were no real shocks, but the teacher didn’t know this). Most “teachers” went on shocking the “learner” despite the needle entering the danger range, despite their belief they were injuring the learner and despite extreme personal discomfort in doing so–because an authority figure told them to.

    Of course neither of these two studies could ever be replicated. They’re unconscionable and caused psychological damage to the participants. I’ve always found them very important for what they demonstrate about how people (in our society) act in certain situations. They offer clues, I think, about certain things that are very wrong in the way children are educated.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Interesting thing on Sarah Palin. I saw Colbert Report today and they played a clip I’d forgotten about of Bush back in 2000 getting subjected to the same kind of insulting and demeaning questions Palin got hit with during this campaign. He responded in much the same way, but got more pissed and was less cooperative. His response was more effective IMO. She should have been more aggressive and less nice when dealing with those media hit-job interviews.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    No disagreement, Cindy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Except “evil” starts small: selfishness, me-first kind of thing, things like that. Of course socialization plays a great role, but it’s all too easy to ALWAYS look for answers and solutions in the wrongs and imperfections of the society. There’s also a matter of personal responsibility – on the part of parents, educators, and the like – and that too, what we do individually, also plays a part in how individual persons in our charge turn out. Again, looking for faults elsewhere is the easiest way out.
    Roger

  • Cindy D

    Roger,

    …it’s all too easy to ALWAYS look for answers and solutions in the wrongs and imperfections of the society.

    The answers and solutions I’m after are those of a teacher who would like to do no harm to children by indoctrinating them into the mindset of robots.

    Instead of empty vessels to fill with a jumble of facts and myths, imagine a child who is encouraged to question, think about, and express opinions about what is taken for granted by most people. Imagine if children were offered information and learned to think for themselves. What if they did not see a teacher as having all the knowledge? But more as a facilitator, helping to find sources of information to think about and offering references and facilitating discussion.

    If children were allowed encouraged to think, I believe we’d have less people who would act like those in Zimbardo or Milgram’s studies.

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    Dave -

    When discussing those ‘mean questions’ to Dubya and Palin – what questions, exactly, were more mean-spirited than those the Republicans themselves threw at McCain, or at Kerry, or at Obama?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    The (the children) do it to begin with Cindy. We’re all born inquisitive until at a later age dullness and dogma sets in – again, not because of the child but the society. So it’s not that I disagree with you in principle, only that things are not as bleak as you seem to portray them. It’s amazing in fact, in spite of all the retarding influences, how many young people turn up being intelligent, inquisitive, and thinking for themselves. Think on that. There’ll always be those who don’t – and for ANY number of reasons. And while the goal of having a society where everyone of its citizens realizes his or her potential is a desirable one and we should be working to that end, it is utopian. So I’d just rather divert my energies to task that are doable.
    Again, things aren’t as bleak as you portray them.
    There is Hope & Change.

    Roger

  • Cindy D

    Roger,

    How many wars are we in? How many children are hungry each night? How many people are fighting about who’re the real heroes Democrats or Republicans? How many elderly people are locked away in hellholes nursing homes? How much of the population is in prison now? How many people trying to change things are forced to the ground by the authorities of a “free” country based in equal rights? How many girls think they need liposuction or breast implants? How many boys think they’re too short? Who is not okay because they don’t wear clothes that are in style? How many men see women as objects of conquest? How many women are seeing men that way? Why is sex slavery the fastest growing business in the world?

    How many people would shock the learner despite thinking the learner could die? How many people would join the “in crowd” of the Abu Ghraib prison torturers?

    No, it’s not as bad as make it out. It’s exceedingly worse.

  • Cindy D

    Oh and Roger? Let your government and your indoctrination tell you it’s a Utopian pipe dream–no one can really be human and self-responsible without a state or a god to force them.

    What I see as Utopian? This idea that while all around everyone there are huge piles of garbage. People readily admit it’s garbage. They’ll argue about it all the time, here and everywhere else. They all see something wrong. But, they still think this general plan will work. They criticize the outcomes of this plan from every angle. But, they all expect it to somehow work. That is Utopian.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Cindy,

    I can’t personally correct all those problems. They’re overwhelming. Which isn’t to say I’m not concerned. Any one individual can do only so much. For sanity’s sake, we have to limit our objectives; otherwise, one’d become paralyzed. Still, you should hang around some more around young people. Every new generation gets a new start. I don’t know how bad things are in your neck of the woods. But in California, at least where I lived, the young ones are doing just fine. It’s not only surprising but very encouraging.
    Of course, there’ll always be all kinds.

  • Cindy D

    And I don’t believe in Utopia. I think of myself as pretty practical. After all I’m not offering cut and dried solutions with a claim that they’ll work. I’m looking at actual ways to change what is actually wrong. Voting for a Democrat and “hoping” won’t change that.

  • Cindy D

    …we have to limit our objectives; otherwise, one’d become paralyzed…

    No, it’s probably exactly the opposite in my experience.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Well, Cindy. Some people join organization and causes – like many people I know, for example, who made it to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. And there are many other examples of people doing what they can in a practical and concrete way. Perhaps you should consider some of those options – it’s one way of dealing with one’s angst – but it’s not for everyone. But it’s beyond my powers, intellectual or otherwise, to address all those issues at once. I can only deal with one problem at a time.
    Roger

  • Cindy D

    Until we look at all those things, all the time, we will be paralyzed into inaction. We will be “happy”. We’ll turn to entertainment.

    If you saw an injured person right in front of your eyes would you help them? What about an injured person not in front of your eyes?

  • Cindy D

    I have faith in you Roger.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    If children were allowed encouraged to think, I believe we’d have less people who would act like those in Zimbardo or Milgram’s studies.

    But Cindy, the people in Zimbardo’s study were college students. (And not just any college – Stanford.) They lived and worked in an environment which encouraged them to think. And yet…

    I believe research tends to show that the intelligence and/or intellect of a person makes very little difference to how they will react in that sort of situation. At some point, the hardwired human instinct to conform kicks in and overrides any ethics, smarts or common sense.

  • Cindy D

    Dr.D,

    They lived and worked in an environment which encouraged them to think.

    You think so? Did it override their indoctrination from the time they could talk? My education did not override mine. And that is with an initial approach of being a rebel. Rebel at 15, rebel at 25. I focused everything where I had a choice (you know where I was allowed to choose the subject of my research or paper or reading) on questioning the status quo. I had support from a couple teachers through the whole of school. Some even gave us stuff to inspire challenge.

    How’d I end up becoming the status quo, then?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Cindy,

    Why don’t you read a recent piece on BC, “Médecins Sans Frontières’ Top Ten List For 2008″ in the Politics archive, Dec 24, 2008 and the few comments if any on the thread. I believe it will give you an answer to your previous question: no, I cannot respond to something that far away in the same way I could if it happened before my very eyes.
    Roger

  • Cindy D

    And Dr.D,

    I am not talking about being an educated person or as a protection from being inhuman.

    I’m talking about indoctrination that happens because a system demands it. If people were actually allowed to think this system couldn’t remain stable. Power couldn’t remain in power.

    You don’t have to be an intellectual or be educated to think independently. In fact take what we call “education” away and you’re probably better off.

  • Cindy D

    …make that being and educated person or being an intellectual.

    In fact thinking of myself as an intellectual has only hurt me. As I am still discovering.

  • Cindy D

    Thanks Roger,

    I’ll do that.

  • Cindy D

    I cannot respond to something that far away in the same way I could if it happened before my very eyes.

    So, how do the old people stop getting locked away?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Hold that thought and some previous things you said. I’ll try to address them later. I’m in the middle of something and wouldn’t like to rush with a response.
    Roger

  • Mark Eden

    …when we become what we resist we need to take a critical look at our acts of resistance

  • Cindy D

    Hi Mark,

    I’ll be thinking about that. :-)

  • Brunelleschi

    This discussion got boring!

    Let’s get back to the point.

    An ex-SNL writer and wise-ass is about to be a US senator!

    That’s awesome. The circus over the election might just be the beginning.. :)