Friday, January 09, 2009

Vetoed Voters Get Letter

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie decided to send letters to the almost 400 absentee voters, whom the local election official deemed were improperly rejected, but were vetoed by one of the campaigns.
The 400 voters also could file separate lawsuits to insist their votes should have been counted in the race.

Local elections officials believe they were correct in not counting the vast majority of the 12,000 ballots that weren't included in the Election Day tally or the recount. But after Election Day and before the end of the recount, the officials realized poll workers mistakenly rejected about 1,350 absentee ballots.

Through a process ordered by the state Supreme Court, the Coleman and Franken campaigns and local elections officials received veto power over which of those would be included in the recount.

In local meetings statewide last week, the campaigns used that power to exclude 381 ballots. The ballots were not opened, so the candidates could not see whom the voters picked in any of the races.
The providing of veto power to the campaigns was the biggest error made in the recount process, in my opinion. In fact, I believe if the Contest Board rules on anything, they will rule that ALL improperly rejected absentees, as determined by local canvassing board, be counted. They may even go through all 12,000 themselves and re-evaluate. Either option is acceptable to me. All valid and legal ballots need to be counted.

Those receiving the letters have some recourse, but are under the same 7 day deadline Coleman's campaign was, in order to file and election contest:
The voters do have some recourse.

The letters, sent Wednesday, tell them there are "at least two possible options for voters who believe that their right to vote has been wrongly denied."

The voters could file a claim that there was an error or omission in the election or could file an election contest, claiming there was some irregularity in the election or questioning who received the highest number of legally cast votes.

"Only the results in the United States Senate race are still open to contest," said the letter signed by the secretary of state's legal adviser, Bert Black.

But if the voters want to file such a contest on the Senate race, they'd better step to it. According to Black's letter, Monday is the deadline to file an election contest.
Although it would be nice to have a seated Senator in Washington representing us, I am thankful for Coleman's decision to contest. It will put and exclamation point, instead of a question mark, and the end of the long run on sentence that is or US Senate race.


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