Recount Day 2: Stray Marks and Identifying Marks
When I first arrived at the Ramsey Recount Center, I was looking over the shoulder of election judge on the second page of challenges when only 0-3 challenges is normal. Every stray mark was being challenged. Apparently stray marks could be identifying marks according to an old law that prevent people from signing or otherwise marking their ballot, so they could get paid for their vote. I could foresee boxes of challenged ballots arriving in front of the canvas board. Fortunately later in the day, Joe Mansky, the Ramsey county elections director integrated the mark check into a brief flash. Also all challenged ballots are reviewed by Joe Mansky, who makes the authors give a reason, dismissing the frivolous. Joe Mansky also declared that stray marks are not identifying marks! Suddenly the recount process was again back up to speed, with only 0-3 challenges. It is everyday heroes like Joe Mansky who create good government.
I am glad that stray marks are not going to invalidate a vote, because no one I know of was ever warned about that. It is apparent that in this ballot, one voter wanted to talk back and not just vote. In this picture of a ballot, a voter wrote "I thought this was what the lottery was for".
Unusual ballots were definitely the theme of the day. On one ballot, the voter had traced the circle of the correct choice but not filled it in. This was clearly the vote not read by the machine that was added in the recount.
Another unusual process added today was the checking of duplicate ballots. Apparently when an overseas ballot is mailed in or an absentee ballot is too folded then a duplicate ballot is made that can be read by machine. Each original and duplicate are labeled "Duplicate 1", "Duplicate 2", etc. Not all precincts have duplicates. Today duplicates were being checked to see if there was a possible challenge.
So the second day of working out the rules and processes has ended. At this point, the game is going to change from "working the refs" to a plain endurance and concentration contest. Enthusiasm and fortitude are going to start counting big time.
Everyday the Franken side of the room has had more people than the Coleman side of the room. As I was talking with people, one Coleman volunteer said that he has trouble remembering and hearing, but he was here because Senator Coleman gave him a personal call for help. So I am wondering about the depth of support out there for the Coleman cause. Twitter messages have been reporting that prominent Republicans don't believe that Coleman will win. What will the Coleman team have to do to keep enough people to challenge?
And was this lack of Coleman support behind all the Coleman challenger fuss about how many people were allowed into the recount room from each campaign? That fuss resulted in a rule today that limited the number of "roving" challengers from each candidate's side. Was the Coleman team trying to prevent the Franken team from using their numbers and enthusiasm advantage?
Hmmm, you decide!