Lori Sturdevant: We've been down this recount road before

  • Article by: LORI STURDEVANT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2009 - 10:51 AM

The 1962-63 precedent gives Norm Coleman a green light to go to court. But a red light lies ahead.

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notaxmaxJan. 11, 09 6:47 PM

According to an article in the paper this morning the head of Minneapolis's election judges said that they made errors in 17 precincts. That was in a statement issued a couple of weeks ago, she now refuses to elaborate. My election judge wife tells me that all of the discrepancies we are seeing should have, by law, been addressed election night. Because they were not, fraud is very much suspected (more machine votes then physical ballots more ballots than machine votes). Coleman is right to challenge the count. Do we really want a senator who won by using California money to finance his campaign while he lives in New york? I think our representation will be poor and the taint of a fraudulent election will follow Minnesota for years. For the record, I was not a Coleman supporter.

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lkjhJan. 11, 09 8:03 PM

Yes, Senators are voted in by their state constituents, but they are making decisions for all U.S. citizens. Pitting one state against another, complaining about where the money is coming from, expecting your senators to put blinders on to everything outside their own state is ridiculous. If you don't want California money in your politics, then stop watching movies, stop watching television, stop buying salads in the winter time, stop buying peaches and almonds, stop buying green products, stop buying computer processors, stop supporting their economy. Maybe Garrison Keilor is all you need for entertainment and quality of life. At least there's reason to believe that Franken will be thinking about someone other than himself when it comes to decision making, I'm not sure you can make the same claim about Coleman.

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MorecambJan. 11, 0910:42 PM

I am an Al Franken supporter and I agree with Lori Sturdevant -- Mr. Coleman has reason to go to court. I also believe that Mr. Coleman should not be demeaned for so doing. Both candidates and their enthusiastic supporters should take comfort in how the life political really works: (1) good men and women always find ways to serve the nation that do not depend upon vote totals, (2) there are checks and balances of all sorts - political, constitutional, philosophical, cultural and personal - that tend to make who ever is elected better than was anticipated by his/her opponents (except perhaps Dubya, (3) money, lots of it, will benefit a few well placed people wo are on the winners side, and (4) as the great columnist Jimmy Breslin reminded us -- an elected position is only temp work. P.S. Norm Ornstein is a pal of Al Franken and was a frequent guest on Al's Air America radio program.

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rayrlewisJan. 11, 0910:43 PM

Thank you! It is important for people to understand Minnesota election law and culture that contributed to our current situation and to apply what we learn from this election contest to a larger scale for the future. I'd also recommend Edward Foley's articles at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/ for someone who is not only taking an outside view of our trouble in electing a US Senator in MN, but is looking for methods to prevent a similar problem with a future US Presidential election. I wish more people understand the separate goals of improving the impartial processes of applying and improving our election laws, while the political parties have a different goal of electing candidates. Minnesotans who worked as election judges took this oath before work on November 4, 2008: “I (your name) solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will perform the duties of election judge according to law and the best of my ability and will diligently endeavor to prevent fraud, deceit, and abuse in conducting this election. I will perform my duties in a fair and impartial manner and not attempt to create an advantage for my party or my candidate.” Page 10, 2008 Election Judge Guide, Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

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allieaJan. 17, 09 9:39 AM

I am so glad I don't live in New York or Illinois, or California for that matter. Our ethics here are strong. But that does not mean we should not check to see what some people have done. Mistakes, errors, and yes individual illegal acts. I can imagine gung-ho supporters of either candidate sliding a pack of votes or absentee ballots out of the way, or mismarking them as not to be counted, and many other things. You can't stop that individual if they are determined, but you can audit the results with our cross checks and then have a court decide the result. As clean as we are, this is also the state known for having some of the greatest frauds in the US, most recently the mortgage fraud brokers, and Petters. There are individuals who live here who are not clean. If any such individuals caused the now well known anomalies in the election counts then a court Must decide where the votes truly should go in such a close election.

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