James Lileks: What the recount has taught us

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 21, 2008 - 5:42 PM

Friday, the canvassing board concluded four days of peering at ovals and reading minds. More to come.

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BizineerDec. 21, 08 6:05 PM

"One person one vote" does not apply to people who screw up their ballots and then are too stupid to ask for a replacement. If the ballot is screwed up, it's screwed up and should not be counted. Who is John Galt?

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jzwiebelDec. 21, 08 8:14 PM

If MN had implemented Instant Run-off Voting, and required a majority, rather than a plurality, to win an election, this would not have happened. Those who voted for Barkley would have made a second place choice. While it is possible even that vote could have split evenly, it is more likely that a clear winner would have been chosen. http://instantrunoff.com/ If you are concerned that an even more complicated ballot will result in even more voter errors, then support Open Systems Voting. Voting machines you can trust! Every line of code is open to anyone who wants to review it. None of this "black box", proprietary software that has been used to hijack election after election over the past eight years. http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ If you want your vote to count, you must have a ballot process you can trust. Do it now while you are still thinking about it.

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trojan1980Dec. 21, 08 8:43 PM

For federal elections that involve Congress people, US Senators, Presidents and any federally elected official should by abide the same standards. This would result in a clear set of guidelines that eliminate election high jacking, judges intervening, phonied up "rule of law" charges, and other mischief. That means voters who are late to vote,who send their absentee ballot late, try to trick those counting the votes can simply be eliminated. Whatever the standards are or will be, it can eliminate the circus that has been seen in Florida, Washington State, and now Minnesota.

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abowers13Dec. 21, 08 9:04 PM

Minnesota law gives every advantage to counting a voter's ballot. That is why you do NOT have to fill in your ovals perfectly so the machine can read them. You only have to mark the ballot good enough for a human being to figure out who you meant to vote for. Most of the time this is pretty easy - the oval wasn't completely filled in or it was filled in and also ran over the lines, or one oval was not completely erased so it was Xed out, or the voter voted for a candidate and also wrote in the same candidates name. Machines have trouble with these kind of votes but people can figure it out. First time voters, people with poor motor coordination and people who feel pressured and flustered make these silly mistakes. But why should they be punished by not having their votes counted? Minnesota law is clear and the Board was very fair, if the intent of voter could be determined the vote counts. Democracy matters. Machines don't.

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rawkibbyDec. 22, 0811:03 AM

The 'liberal medium' "red star" has offered up a partisan hack to weigh in on these most transparent of reviews of challenged ballots. Both campaigns have agreed to a set of standards and those standards are applied fairly. To compare this to the mess in FLA or even a completely different kind of mess in Ill is just stupid. Appeals to the ditto-head clades looking for scandal where there is none. Lilieks was once funny (back in 1980, MNDaily) but now that he is in favor of war "all wars, all the time and famine, too" he is completely the wrong person to comment here. He is unable to take his partisan glasses off and see the fair process unfold in front of his very eyes. Such partisan blindness should disqualify Lileks from this job.

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hope23Dec. 22, 0811:25 AM

You are off base on this one. Out of 3 million ballots, there were approx 6,000 mistake ballots which is a error rate of .2%. I agree that some of the ballots were filled in by "lizard people" but the others are Minnesotans who made a mistake, have trouble with dexterity, have trouble with anziety etc. Have you ever made a mistake in your life with a bill? A check?

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commonsensedDec. 22, 0811:40 AM

If you are unable to fill out your ballot correctly, you are likely too stupid to vote.

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hope23Dec. 22, 0811:57 AM

Like I said in a earlier post: out of 3 mil ballots, there were 6,000 mistake ballots-an error rate of .02%. Some were "Lizard people" and should not vote, most were honest mistakes. Have you ever forgot to pay a bill on time? Wrote the wrong amount on a check? Made a mistake on a recipe?

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winzy57wmbDec. 22, 0812:01 PM

Their does seem to be inconsistencies about how they treat the tickets when going through those they have gone over online. Its not so much them discerning voters intent that bothers me, more that they seem to treat ballots that have the same problems differently according to who they decide a voter is voting for. That makes the election unfair. Sadly, it is what this country has come to, the voter doesn't matter to election officials, it is only the people that vote for that count. That makes our vote not count.

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misternDec. 22, 08 5:28 PM

"commonsensed" is advocating violating the law if (s)he is saying that the ballots should be used as an IQ test for voting. Literacy tests to qualify to vote were deemed to be illegal long ago. Voting is NOT about determining if a voter should be allowed to vote. It's not about judging the voter, it is about judging the candidates. It is ONLY a method to determine what candidate each voter wants to represent them.

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