December 15, 2008

Standing Tall Against Standards

Hatched by Dafydd

(I feel a bit like I'm poaching on the home turf of Power Line and Captain's Quarters Ed Morrissey's Hot Air posts; but it is a national story. Honest!)

In the drawn-out Senate race still crawling along in Minnesota, the battle lines have at last become clear: Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN, 64%) wants clear statewide standards before considering rejected absentee ballots -- while failed comedian Al Franken has gone to court to reject all standards and allow local Democrats to decide which absentee ballots to accept and which to reject.

From the first story:

Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R) campaign has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to issue a stay in a decision Friday by the state’s Board of Canvassers that could significantly sway the razor-thin margin in Minnesota’s still-undecided Senate race.

The Board recommended that Minnesota’s 87 counties open and count absentee ballots that were disqualified for no stated, legal reason. The Coleman campaign said Monday it had asked the state’s highest court to put a halt to that count until it could determine uniform standards for counting the ballots, estimated to number more than 1,000.

"The Supreme Court ought to direct the local officials to step back, take a breath, and allow the Court to set a uniform standard," Coleman campaign attorney Fritz Knaak said Monday in a conference call.

And here is the response from the Franken campaign to Coleman's call for uniform standards, as reported in Politico's second article:

Democrat Al Franken’s campaign on Monday accused Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R) campaign of trying to halt the recount in the state's contested Senate race and disenfranchise Minnesota voters whose absentee ballots were improperly disqualified.

"The Coleman campaign went to the state’s highest court to stop the counting and overrule a unanimous decision by the canvassing board," Franken campaign attorney Marc Elias said in a conference call Monday.

The state's Board of Canvassers recommended on Friday that counties to open and count more than 1,000 absentee ballots they said were disqualified for no stated, legal reason. The Coleman campaign filed a suit with the Minnesota Supreme Court asking the court to stop counties from tallying the ballots until the Court can establish a uniform standard for reviewing the uncounted ballots....

Franken’s campaign accused Coleman’s suit of really trying to overturn the board’s decision last week, and prevent the votes from being counted. Elias said that a clear, uniform standard for counting the ballots already exists in the Minnesota election code.

"Norm Coleman didn't get his way on Friday, so he's suing to stop the counting of lawful ballots and disenfranchise voters who did nothing wrong," Franken spokesman Andy Barr said. "That may be characteristic of his approach to this entire process, but it's entirely un-Minnesotan."

(How long before Franken's charge that Sen. Coleman is "un-Minnesotan" metastisizes into accusing Coleman of being unAmerican?)

The contrast could not be clearer... and it exactly mirrors the central argument in Bush v. Gore, the 2000 Supreme Court case about counting, recounting, and revoting the votes in Florida: The very reason that seven out of the nine Justices voted to stop the chad-count was that there were no uniform statewide standards; the precincts simply made ad-hoc rulings higgledy-piggledy. (Which meant in practice that conservative precincts tried to be unbiased and neutral, counting every legitimate vote; while liberal precincts decided their mandate was to count every Al Gore vote, legitimate, illegitimate, or imaginary.)

As Dennis Prager frequently notes, clarity is often more important that agreement; now at least everyone in the country clearly knows where Franken and the Democrats stand!

I'm now in a position to predict that this race will not be settled by January 6th, when the Congress is seated, nor on January 20th, when we swear at the president-elect. I'm not even sure it will be settled by the 2010 election. Al Franken and the Democrats plan to drag this out "forever and a day," on the theory that a 58-41 majority is better than a 58-42 majority -- so they'd rather force the seat to remain open as long as possible.

Democrats: "Holding firm against the courage of any convictions whatsoever!"

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 15, 2008, at the time of 4:54 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Don

I fear I must disagree with your conclusion, Dafydd. Al 'Landslide' Franken will be elected by the Minnesota State Elections Board (and or local precincts in Minneapolis).

Who says American Manufacturing is dead? Well, Detroit seems to be going down the drain, but in Minnesota another kind of manufacuring seems to be thriving. Certainly at the artisan level, and perhaps mass production also....

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2008 6:24 AM

The following hissed in response by: Insufficiently Sensitive

This seems to be Democratic Party policy on close elections when the party machine controls elections bureaus. Vote early and often, then count early and often, with sufficient 'adjustments' and 'corrections' and 'discoveries' en route to bring the Democratic candidate's count up past a plurality.

All the while, issue poisonous public statements acccusing the other side of suppressing the counting of all ballots, legal and otherwise.

It damn near worked in Florida, it did work in Washington in 2004, and appears to be working today in Minnesota, unless the Supreme Court acts judicial instead of partisan - since the elections board has already voided the state law about recounting only the ballots as sorted on election day, in order to dredge through the rejects for more votes for the Dem.

John Fund's book on 'Stealing Elections' is weak, and needs to revisit this obvious tactic with merciless intensity.

The above hissed in response by: Insufficiently Sensitive [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2008 6:56 AM

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