[OVC-discuss] Vote for Lizard People in MN?

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Nov 21 2008 - 17:52:23 CST

One person I showed this to, said, "well, obviously the voter didn't really care." Maybe so, but once the ballot is cast, there are plenty of people that care about it. If it's counted, it will count as much as any other vote.

A US Senator may be chosen -- Franken or Coleman -- depending on how ballots like this are processed. Brent said that on MSNBC yesterday, they said this vote was thrown out. I'm not so sure. The voter filled in the bubble for Al Franken, and wrote Lizard People in the write-in space. However, the bubble in the write-in space was not filled in (note that in the contest before, the voter did fill in the bubble as well as writing in "Lizard People").

Obviously, there are several things wrong with this picture that could be avoided with better voting technology.


Indecision, Thumb Prints and Lizard People in the Minnesota Recount
Brad Haynes reports on Senate races.

If someone has filled in the bubble next to Al Franken's name for U.S. Senator, can we be sure that the voter intended to vote for Franken? What if that voter has also supplied a name in the space provided for a write-in candidate? What if that name is "Lizard People"?

These are the tough questions confronting elections officials in Minnesota as they hunker down for a manual recount of the 2.9 million ballots cast in the Senate race. After one day of recounting, covering 18% of ballots cast, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's lead has shrunk from 215 votes to 174. The Franken campaign also won a key legal challenge, forcing counties to turn over the names of absentee voters whose ballots were rejected. That may open up many more ballots to dispute, as the campaigns can now identify and argue for the inclusion of ballots that were unlawfully rejected.

Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers and hundreds of lawyers are challenging official decisions, ballot by ballot, waging weighty interpretative battles over voters' messy scribbles - a few of which you can find here.

If a voter fills in the bubble for Coleman and then writes "NO" in capital letters next his name, should we take that as an intended vote for Coleman? Does a smudged thumb print count as a distinguishing mark, like a signature or Social Security number, which should invalidate the ballot? And then there are those excruciating calls: "Even though the voter filled in the bubble next to [Dean] Barkley's name, a Franken representative said what appear to be eraser marks over Franken's bubble indicated the voter intended to vote for Franken."

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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:17 2008

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