Monday, July 13, 2009

Coleman Brought a Squirt Gun to a Knife Fight In the Minnesota Senate Recount Battle

Well, the Minnesota senate race recount is finally over, and what most people, including me, thought would happen happened. Vicious, no-holds-barred ultra-liberal Democrat Franken out-recounted incumbent Republican gentleman-Norm Coleman. It’s hard to understand even now Coleman’s puzzlingly restrained behavior while the Franken Democrats were stealing the election via a selective recount in Democratic strongholds. Coleman may have thought Minnesota Democrats were above bad behavior, but the joke’s on him, and unfortunately also on us.

This Democratic tactic has been tried twice in the recent past in high profile races – in the 2000 Presidential election, of course, and in the 2004 Washington state governor race. Bush fought hard and finally prevailed, but in Washington state the Republican caved. Coleman seems to have taken an above-it-all approach, counting on the courts to invalidate Franken’s shenanigans, even though such an approach in the Washington governor’s race didn’t work and even though a leading Democratic strategist from that contest was called in early as a Franken advisor.

Coleman won the initial count by over 700 votes, and then also won the first recount by over 200. But as in the Washington governor’s race, that did not deter the Democrats. Votes were selectively “found” in majority Democratic precincts. Democrat Franken’s team seemed to have out-hustled, out-maneuvered, and out-smarted Coleman’s. Franken was recently declared the winner by 312 votes.

Among the many disturbing reports, one from the Wall Street Journal (link) particularly astounded me for the brazenness of the state’s Canvassing Board, led by the ultra-liberal Democrat Secretary of State, who was elected with significant help from the ethically bankrupt left-wing ACORN organization. In one heavily Democratic precinct the hand recount showed fewer votes than had been recorded by the machine on election night, so the Board went with the higher election night count, netting Franken 46 votes. But in another heavily Democratic precinct, the opposite occurred, so the partisan Democrat Board went with the recount, there netting Franken 37 votes. As the WSJ noted, Franken “benefited both ways from the board's inconsistency.”

Another aspect was how local precinct officials decided which “votes” were valid under the law. John Hinderaker at Power Line blog (link) notes:
It turns out, not surprisingly, that the counties that are careful about applying election laws are Republican-leading counties, while the lax ones … are heavily Democratic. What this means, in practice, is that thousands of votes are counted in Democratic counties that would not be counted if the same voter lived in a Republican county…. Thus a deep irony arises: if a uniform standard of strict compliance with the absentee ballot statute is applied, Coleman wins. If a looser standard of substantial compliance with the statute is uniformly applied, Coleman also wins. The only way Coleman loses is if a strict standard is applied in Republican counties and a lax standard is applied in Democratic counties. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened so far.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board (link) supplies the coda:
Mr. Coleman didn't lose the election. He lost the fight to stop the state canvassing board from changing the vote-counting rules after the fact. This is now the second time [citing the 2004 Washington state governor race] Republicans have been beaten in this kind of legal street fight. If the GOP hopes to avoid repeats, it should learn from Minnesota that modern elections don't end when voters cast their ballots. They only end after the lawyers count them.
John M Greco

Previous posts on this subject:

In Minnesota, If It’s Close, They Will Try to Steal It

Democrats Gaining in Their Attempt To Steal Minnesota Senate Election Via Rigged Recount

Minnesota Canvassing Judge Slams Criticisms of Bias, But Does Not Rebut a Single Allegation of Serious Mischief in the Coleman-Franken Recount