A total of 329 improperly rejected absentee ballots will be reviewed by in Hennepin Co. The observer was present for the review of 77 ballots from 3 cities - Bloomington (38), Brooklyn Center (2) and Brooklyn Park (37). Of these, 56 ballots were accepted and 21 were rejected.
One hundred and thirty-three improperly rejected absentee ballots were reviewed today in Ramsey County. Around 50 ballots were rejected by both parties for various reasons. The observer reports that 37 absentee ballots were rejected because local election judges failed to give voters the proper materials so that they could register to vote and that approximately 25 occurred in New Brighton.
The observers traveled to Renville County on December 16, 2008 to observe the sorting of the rejected absentee ballots for the U.S. Senate race. Everyone present was able to get close enough to view the ballots. Six out of 27 ballots will be sent to the Canvassing Board for acceptance consideration. Here are the observers' significant observations:
The observer reports that Robbinsdale will send five rejected absentee ballots to the State Canvassing board for acceptance consideration. They had a total of 36 rejected absentee ballots.
The League of Women Voters Minnesota (LWVMN), Common Cause Minnesota, and Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN) Non-Partisan Coalition ("the Non Partisan Coalition") calls for Minnesota's election officials to count every properly cast ballot in the 2008 election. All absentee ballots rejected in error must be included in the final vote tally to ensure the accuracy of the outcome.
It was reported by CEI on Monday that Brooklyn Center will send two rejected absentee ballots to the State Canvassing Board for acceptance consideration. Here's the reason behind one of these ballots (we are tracking down further information for the second one): The county sent the wrong envelope for a voter's absentee ballot. Not knowing this was a mistake, he used the envelope for his absentee ballot. Election judges rejected his ballot on election day because it was in the wrong type of envelope.
The observer reported yesterday that Dakota will send just over 100 rejected absentee ballots to the State Canvassing Board for possible acceptance. 51 of those ballots were from Burnsville.
They sorted a total of about 800 ballots yesterday. They are about two-thirds finished with the sorting - they will resume sorting the rest of the rejected absentee ballots on Thursday.
The observer reports that 37 ballots remain rejected. However, 2 ballots will go to the State Canvass Board for possible acceptance. The most common reason ballots were rejected was because the signature was missing on the ballot or envelope.
CEIMN Director, Mark Halvorson, and CEIMN Project Coordinator, Sarah Martyn Crowell, observed and videotaped today's search at the Minneapolis Election's Warehouse for the 133 missing ballots from Minneapolis Ward 3 Precinct 1.
As has been reported in the local media, the reason given for the 133 unaccounted ballots yesterday - that write in ballots were fed through the optical scanner twice - does not appear to be accurate. Minneapolis elections director, Cindy Reichert and her staff are currently trying to sort out the situation. CEIMN staff, Sarah Martyn Crowell, who went to the Mpls elections office just reported there is no further information available at this time.
The observer reports that in Minneapolis W3 P1 officials counted 129 write-in ballots. The election officials believe these ballots (which are stored separately in the optical scanner) were initially not labeled correctly and were inadvertently run through the optical scanner a second time on election day. The election officials believe this explains almost all of the 133 unaccounted ballots in the precinct. Officials are looking into the remaining 4 uncounted ballots. The observe reports that the process has been very transparent and smooth.
The observer last week reported missing ballots in Lakeville precinct 10 and Inver Grove Heights precinct 04. We weren't able to get a full explanation until today when CEIMN Director Mark Halvorson spoke to Kevin Boyle from Dakota County Elections Department. Kevin reported that in Lakeville precinct 10 there were duplicate ballots that were counted twice. However the original ballots cannot be found. Kevin reported that in Inver Grove Heights precinct 04 they don't have an explanation for why ballots are missing for both candidates lost a total of 20 ballots.
The observer reports that in Minneapolis W3 P1 the recount tally showed 133 fewer ballots compared to the election day tally. Observer reports that the election officials believe that the write-in ballots were entered into the optical scanner twice. They have sorted out the write-in ballots and are currently counting them.
The observer reports that the count in Minneapolis W5 P5 has finished and the result is the same as what they got on 11/20/08.
The observer reports that Director of Elections, Cindy Reichert, decided to conduct a second recount of Minneapolis, W5 P5. Officials said the reason is that the first recount did not match the Election Day tally. The precinct was originally recounted on 11/20/08.
In Maplewood, P-6, the head counter reported they were 132 ballots over after several counts. Note, just minutes ago in an interview with MPR, Joe Manksy, Director of Elections for Ramsey County reported they found 171 ballots that weren't counted on election day.
The observer reports that officials finished about 35% of the precinct today and there are 11 challenged ballots so far.
The observer reports that Minneapolis has added four more counting tables.
Officials expect counting will continue throughout the week. The observer
reports 41 challenges from today, however the precincts had not fully
finished counting. Everything was very smooth today.
The observer arrived about 8:15AM and stayed until 5PM yesterday, 11/25. The counting started about 8:45AM. He reported there were six counting tables. He was able to see the ballots clearly only at three tables and the other three were 15 to 20 feet away. The observer reported the following: there were very few challenges in the early morning and through early afternoon. Around 2PM the number of challenges escalated dramatically at the table closest to him.
The observer reported that just learned from the county auditor that the 9 ballots that were reported missing late this afternoon have now been found.
The observer just reported the full story in Becker County. This morning 32 ballots (not 35 ballots as we earlier reported) were missing from one precinct and 14 ballots were missing from another precinct. Officials first checked the supply box in the same secured room as the ballots, but they did not find the missing ballots. Next, the officials contacted city officials and sent county representatives to the township halls in both precincts. The ballots were located in locked ballot boxes under the optical scan voting machines in both township halls.
The recount observer reports 48 missing ballots across three precincts. County officials will next inspect the optical scan voting machines to see if there are any jammed ballots.
The observer reports that the counting is at a standstill. One precinct is missing 35 ballots and another precinct is missing 14 ballots.
CEIMN will continue to monitor the situation and provide timely updates.
The observer reports that by the time she left at 4:45 PM yesterday, the county had finished a large precinct and only about 3,700 of the 6, 834 votes had been counted. However, she reports that the county's plan was to keep going and finish the recount last night.
The observer reports that this was the first day of the recount in Becker County where 3691 ballots (roughly 20%) were counted out of a total 18,093 ballots.
The observer reports that Goodhue County finished their recount today. There were 31 challenges total. Overall the observer reports that things went very smooth. Channel 4 and the Red Wing Eagle newspaper were present today.
The observer reports that both campaigns felt that the county auditor was not properly accepting their challenges. The observer gave the following example that she was able to see clearly: a ballot was marked with an X on the oval next to a US Senate candidate. This ballot did not have any of the other ovals filled in for a US Senate candidate. The observer reported a party representative challenged this ballot. The challenger felt the X indicated voter intent for their party's candidate.
The observer reports that each campaign had over 14 challengers. By midday, a total of 39 challenges had been made between the two campaigns. The observer reports that many challenges appeared frivolous.
The observer reports that as of 12:00pm today, Koochiching County has recounted 416 out of over 6000 ballots. The recount process is expected to continue after today.
Twenty of Eagan's precincts and five from Rosemount are being counted today. The recount process seemed tightly organized: eight tables with three official counters and a total of four party observers at each table (2 from each campaign). Other party observers are allowed close to the tables, but there's a tape about 4-5 feet out that separates the party observers from the rest of the public.
The observer reports that at the request of one of the campaigns, Ramsey County changed their counting process. Now they are first sorting the ballots and then counting the ballots. Before the counting and sorting was done simultaneously. The recount supervisor said this may slow down the recounting process a little bit.
The observers reports that the counting is going very well. The officials have finished counting the ballots from the older voting machines in the county and have now moved on to counting ballots from the newer machines. So far, the observers report a very smooth counting process. Approximately 40 people were present today, most of whom were party challengers.
The observer reports that there were no observers from the general public. Therefore the observer was able to go back and forth between the two counting tables unimpeded. As the afternoon progressed the counting proceeded without incident, with the exception of a single ballot from one precinct being challenged by both campaigns. Overall the observer reports that the county auditor ran a very tight ship, and was adept at defusing arguments between the campaigns before they got out of hand. The observer felt the experience was both educational and rewarding.
The observer reports that the recount in Ramsey Co. went smoothly on Friday. The process was orderly and civil. A few partisan observers contested ballots automatically/frivolously. The observer reported one glitch involving duplicate ballots: the original and duplicate ballots could not always be matched. This led to challenges and a lot of lost time in searching through piles of ballots. The election manager and two partisan spokespersons agreed among themselves how to treat mismatches that could not be reconciled.
The observer reports that approximately 80 people were present at the recount today. Roughly 20 were staff and most of the rest were challengers from the campaigns. Several media representative were present - the Star Tribune and the Uptake. Overall, the observer reports that it was a very well run process today.
The observer reports 45 challenges in Dakota today, 16 in one precinct (Apply Valley P-15). In this precinct, the officials could not find all of the absentee originals and there was confusion about the duplicates, so the Franken campaign challenged all the absentee ballots.
The observer reported this afternoon that the original count for Ward 1 came up very short. The first theory was that perhaps one of the ward boxes was mis-marked, but the officials checked and all the ward boxes were correctly marked.
Bloomington has 32 precincts. Today was their first day of counting and they did 9 precincts - 4 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. They will count tomorrow, Monday and are also scheduled Tuesday. The observer reports that all was very smooth: staff and observers worked well together and made sure all disagreements were worked out. There were about twice as many Coleman observers as Franken. A photographer from the Minnesota Daily and Channel 5 were present.
The observer reports that Auditor has decided to complete entire recount today. Six out of a total 26 precincts are left. These six are the biggest precincts--all in the city of Owatonna.
The observer reports that the Senate race recount at Minnetonka City Hall was thorough and well-staffed by county elections staff. Four counting teams were
The observer reports that there was a lady bug stuck to one of the ballots. When one of the election officials pointed it out, one of the candidate representatives said, "Is that an identifying mark?" - Laughter ensued....
The observer reports that the ballots have been located. The observer reports that the ballots were in a secure location in the building, in a box mark 'unvoted ballots'; the missing ballots are reported to have been on top of a pile of unvoted ballots.
The observer reports that Ward 1 in Robbinsdale is a couple hundred ballots short. It appears Franken is missing about 143 votes and Coleman is missing about 100 votes. Officials are not sure of the reason. Possible theories include that a box was mislabeled or that there are missing absentee ballots. Officials are working to solve the issue.
They're underway again here in Milaca. Today is the Minnesota State Senate District 16 race recount - Alison Krueger (R) vs. Lisa Fobbe (DFL). There is no incumbent, as Sen. Betsy Wergin (R) is retiring. Candidate Lisa Fobbe (DFL) is here in person at the recount.
Observer estimated that yesterday in Ramsey County there were between 75 – 100 people in the room (55 of which were at the tables participating in the recount). Each table received a box of ballots from a different precinct, which varied in size from around 1,000 to a couple thousand ballots. Each precinct box was sealed when it arrived and was unsealed on the table by the workers.
Steele County recount has started. Five counting tables, one observer of each party allowed at each table. Extremely well organized by county auditor. Officials have finished counting five precincts. Berlin Township came up one vote short - ballots are being recounted and checked.
Hopkins completed 2 or 6 precincts yesterday and plan to do the other 4 today. There were 12 challenged ballots—mostly voter intent issues and a couple stray marks on the ballot. There was a dispute about what to do about 3 duplicate ballots that could not be found in Precinct 1—the election official speculated that it was because the election official forgot to mark the ballot as "duplicate." The election official is going to send the 3 ballots to the Canvassing Board with a note of explanation.
Excelsior's count remained the same, both Tonka Bay's and Shorewood's counts changed. Observer did not know the reasons for the discrepancies. Total Ballots 6289; Total Challenges 3; Coleman -7; Franken +1.
Over 120 people have signed in and attended the recount. This includes partisan and non-partisan observers, media, and the public.
Washington County will not finish its recount today. Recounting will resume tomorrow and officials hope to end Friday. Observer reports that the counting system seems very good. To date, seven challenges were made. They all concerned voter intent.
Officials breaking for lunch. All ballots being locked up. Two precincts had to be recounted so far. One precinct has 3 ballots missing. The observer reports that the precinct is 2 votes down for Franken and 1 vote down for Coleman. After recounting everything, the 3 ballots were not found. Officials believe the missing ballots are in another precinct that is stored in the same ballot box.