Dollar a Day to Democrats for as long as Norm Coleman stalls


33 Responses to “Dollar a Day to Democrats for as long as Norm Coleman stalls”

  1. Timothy Hutton says:

    Triscuit – why not devise one standard for absentee ballots (those are the votes in question in MN as I understand it) and apply it equally to all absentee ballots? That is all the Coleman campaign is requesting, that seems to be a reasonable idea, yet the Franken campaign somehow denies that as a valid idea and the three judge panel agrees.

    Coleman should fight, even if he has no chance of winning, to establish that the proper procedure in such cases it to have a policy on how to count votes and apply it consistently througout the recount process. Is there any argument against that position?

    As for your source deciding the fairness of the three judges decision – the final report of the three judges themselves, that’s pretty convienient – is there any reason to think the Judges wouldn’t find themselves fair and even-handed in this process?

    Would you really expect a judge to write “This finding for the plaintif is based on the whim of the court, and the careful application of selected laws and statutes relevant in this case”?

    All the absentee ballots should be measured by one yardstick – period, and until that happens, the Coleman campaign should keep challenging the flawed decisions of lower courts.

    We both agree the election itself went fine – it is the after party called “absentee ballot counting” that is responsible for all the excitement.

  2. Andrew B. says:

    I’d believe something from Onion News Network before I would believe anything coming from the mouths of the[their writers] politicians of today[or any time] really.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Where can I send money to have them both walk away?

  4. Anonymous says:


    The State of Minnesota *has* devised one standard for absentee ballots. Its a procedure that delineates all of the things that have to be in place in order for the ballot to count. It’s written in the state constitution.

    The thing is, it’s not just cheese and parties. Speaking as an election judge in Minneapolis, there are a ton of things that need to be in place in order for an absentee ballot to count. It’s a complicated process. When the count is so close, it seems to me that a more strict interpretation of these procedures is in order during a recount. So, does the ballot envelope that was signed by a man’s wife, does that one count? How about the college student that signed his name on the PDF ballot with MSPaint? Does that count? What about the person that wasn’t registered in the same precinct, does that count? Did you know that there are apartment buildings in Minneapolis where the precinct line goes through the middle of the building?

    The thing is, election judges get this set of rules and they have to follow them exactly. They are taught strict interpretation of the election rules. However, we have issues where election judges have made mistakes in what absentee ballots where accepted. It wasn’t a dedicated, wide-spread, or systematic series of mistakes, but they were, you know, errors. We can’t change them. We don’t know what ballots go with which ballot envelopes. So why compound the issue by counting even more ballots that shouldn’t have been counted in the first place?

    Frankly, this “count every ballot” business is straight up shenanigans. If the positions were reversed, we’d be hearing the same things, but from the different parties. Coleman was in such a hurry to get Franken to concede on the day after the election, but now the tables are reversed, and it’s Franken asking Coleman to concede. It’s politics. That’s why it’s probably best to have the courts decide it. In America, I guess the courts are the bodies that are most insulated from politics. Beats pitchforks.

    The entire thing makes me miss Paul Wellstone even more.

  5. Uncle Geo says:


    I think the Democrats would not have done what what the GOP did in the last coupla three decades that has cost us so much, so there are far more than rhetorical differences. To suggest they are both the same is a specious argument.

    Yes, Obama is wrong about FISA -maybe that will change. Bush handed dough over to CEOs with no strings -Obama put conditions on it and Chrysler said, just yesterday, no thanks. Obama released the torture memos (never woulda seen that from Bush) and said he would not presecute the CIA but the AP reports that Obama has left the door open to prosecution of Bush admin officials. I’d rather see Bush, Chenety and Gonzales tried than scapecgoats as in Abu Ghraib.

    I’ve called or doorknocked plenty of what you call “independents” and what others call “undecideds” -which I think is more accurate. As a block they are not a block but a mixture of people like you who pay attention and really care (but may be jaded by the parties), others who have no interest in politics but feel they must vote anyway and people (lots of ‘em,) who just do not care one way or the other.
    Independent voters by definition are not organized -how will they have any winning effect? The GOP will not crawl back under it’s rock -in fact they’re mad as hornets- that’s why I feel I must continue to work for Democrats as to do otherwise might subject us to the GOP dark ages mentality once again.

    I also know a number of officeholders and candidates and it is simply incorrect for some posting here to suggest they are all blowhards or dishonest. That is simplistic and adolescent. Many of these folks are very good people. Go meet them -it ain’t hard.

    My point is that, by dismissing the parties, you have no viable alternative. I used to vote “independent” whenever possible but when the GOP got power and got really scary I knew the Democrats were the only possible way to defeat the GOP. No third party was -or is- around with any kind of clear platform or functional organization that could deliver enough votes to keep the GOP out of power -in fact third parties often guarantee a GOP victory by splitting the vote. This may have indeed happened in some races including Bush/Gore.

    Since parties (at least the Dems) are not monolithic, change can happen from within. Unlike the MN GOP whose meetings are closed, our meetings are open and anyone can be involved at all levels of the party. I and others who got active in the MN DFL have already made changes in the choice of candidates and in the platform. In fact since so few people get off their asses to do anything, it has been rather easier than I thought.

  6. dhalgren says:

    It’s almost May and this is still unresolved. Usually I’d bend toward sarcasm and say something like, “Here we go again, let’s recount the votes until we get a result we like.” I agree stick to one standard with the absentee ballots that are legal to be counted, and that’s that.

    I have no opinion towards Coleman, typical Republican blandness, and Franken is a world class blowhard. I have never found Franken funny. At the very least, annoying, at best, you want to punch him in the face, not funny. Politically he’s just another one of those high pitched whining voices that our wonderful political system produces in mass quantities, Republicans and Decomcrats in equal measure.

    If either of these guys had something original to bring to Washington, heck maybe even an original idea, I might actually give a poop. I don’t.

    I say the people of Minnesota deserve a better class of politician. I say let them re-vote but give them two new candidates or even better make it an open election, get rid of the two party’s that are driving our country off the cliff while we are mesmerized by all our little distractions like American Idol, Twitter, PS3′s, WoW, and Jell-o pudding.

    Why Jell-o pudding…because it just tastes good.

    rant done. Go about your business.

  7. masomenos says:

    Read an update on the recount the other day, and took away the gem that Coleman’s neighbors in St. Paul have big FRANKEN signs on their lawns.

  8. Timothy Hutton says:

    #31 POSTED BY ANONYMOUS – I can easily believe that to be the case.

    As I understand it, it boils down to the fact that MN had about 9/10th of everything nailed down regarding recounts, but we have seen what can happen when that last 1/10th is left undefined. What we are witnessing is the painful completion of the missing regulations and guidelines in MN – the other 49 states are still likley up in the air.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If you live in MN or Northern Wisconsin and get Minnesota news, you’d gladly fork over a dollar or five to stop hearing about this.

  10. Teller says:

    This whole thing reminds me of the Onion line:
    Biggie Smalls Cremation Enters Second Week.

  11. triscuit says:

    Sorry for the dbl post…

    @#12… My point was not that the judges are above reproof. But I oh so humbly think that touting an article from WSJ opinion column as support for your argument is weak tea.

    I’m a displaced Minnesotan and am not party-affiliated. From friends and family back home that I’ve talked to and from reading the Mpls StarTrib regularly, my sense is that someone (a judge) is going to have to make the decision and half the state’s population is going to be unhappy with the result. The margin of error for the election process is so much larger than Franken’s current lead. Statistically, there is no way of distinguishing who won. From reading the judges’ decision, I think they applied an equitable standard, and quite strongly rebuffed Coleman’s case for lack of proof of miscounting.

  12. Nadreck says:

    First off, I’d like to echo the sentiments of the posters who are remarking on how great it is that this is all being sorted out in the courts instead of out on the streets with machetes. The standard behaviour for most of the world is that if you don’t get 100% of your own way 100% of the time then you start killing your neighbours. Nothing is less important than the non-violent process for dispute resolution.

    I was in Taiwan when, amazingly, the electoral process said that the old KMT gangsters who had been running the island since the 40s had to give up power. That was one spooky election night. All 24 million people were glued to their TV sets and everyone was terrified as to what was going to happen next. Was this going to be the first time in 4,000 years of Chinese history that the powers-that-be agreed to peacefully be the-powers-that-were? Or was it to be the usual deal – with Red China threatening invasion in case of “civil disorder” in Taiwan? (My office was on the flight path for the local interceptors scrambling to “play chicken” with the mainland airforce over the strait. You couldn’t hear yourself think all week because of the constant noise from this.)

    When I got up the next morning the TV had pictures of a riot in Taipei and I couldn’t get the #$#@ SAP controls to switch out of Japanese to tell me what that was all about. I was packing my suitcase to “get out of Dodge” when I finally found out that it was a riot at KMT headquarters as the party faithful tried to tar and feather their own leaders for blowing the election.

    Very nice this “court review” business!!

    Having said that, the Republican guy is being a total ass about this. He has no chance of winning and he knows it. How is scrabbling in the absentee ballots going to help him? It was the Republicans who frantically tried to disqualify every possible absentee and newly registered voter since those categories were known to be much more likely to vote Democrat. The Republican party is just a regional party of old, rural people and those people are all solidly on the voters lists.

    So, the more absentee and write-in votes that get counted the more the tally swings to Franken. That was obvious from the start. Also, historically speaking, the longer any recount process goes on the less likely it is for the result to shift further. This is because there are fewer and fewer hidey holes for changed tallies to be hiding in as the arguments get more and more arcane. People who have done books on electoral processes in the States have said that practically no one gets a reversal after the first 4 or so appeals: if only because judges don’t like to tell other judges that they blew it.

    The only motive behind this is to delay the day when the Democrats get their 59th Senate seat making it 50% easier for them to shutdown Republican filibusters: pure partisanship. No great precedent will be set as the next few hundred 50/50 splits either won’t be in Minnesota or there’re be some other issue, like the reliability of telepathic voting, holding things up.

  13. Slicklines says:

    Blah blah blah Franken blah. Blah Coleman blah. So hard to know the difference anymore. Does anyone really think Washington will undergo some sort of epiphany if Franken is seated? Sure he won, and sure Coleman is a sad sack loser. So what? Wanna see real change?

    Step 1: Register unaffiliated. Here in Colorado we already outnumber Republicrats.

    Step 2: Vote for the best candidate instead of the party line. Time to make party leaders fear us instead of the other way around.

  14. Razzle Bathbone says:

    I am surprised by the number of people who still think it matters which candidate received more votes. Maybe it does in some other jurisdictions, but certainly not in the United States.

  15. Takuan says:

    heh heh! They are SUCH sore losers!

  16. Takuan says:

    did I say loser? LOSER!

  17. Takuan says:


  18. noc noc says:

    Does this group help progressives in democratic primaries against much less progressive democrats, or is it only to help them face republicans?

  19. Timothy Hutton says:

    ANONYMOUS – One line that stuck with me from a recent PBS special (recent meaning during the election of 2008) that interviewed past White House Press Secretaries, and one fellow mentioned that he drove his kids by the White House the night before Nixon resigned, and he made a point of telling his children that this was amazing, that the Presidency was being transferred without bloodshed/riots/etc…

    It really is striking, though it’s only a hazy memory for me (I was in Elementary school at the time).

  20. Marcel says:

    If money becomes your solution for everything, it will also be your biggest problem.

  21. Uncle Geo says:

    Dahlgren: “If either of these guys had something original to bring to Washington, heck maybe even an original idea, I might actually give a poop. I don’t.”

    and: “Franken is a world class blowhard. I have never found Franken funny. At the very least, annoying, at best, you want to punch him in the face, not funny. Politically he’s just another one of those high pitched whining voices that our wonderful political system produces in mass quantities, Republicans and Decomcrats in equal measure.”

    It is so easy to dismiss candidates and officeholders. You do not know either of these guys. You know Franken from his TV days. I am no fan of Coleman’s views but he is not a dope. I know Franken and he is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. This is another easy “they’re all the same” statement and adds nothing to the discussion.

    Slicklines: “So what? Wanna see real change?

    Step 1: Register unaffiliated. Here in Colorado we already outnumber Republicrats.

    Step 2: Vote for the best candidate instead of the party line. Time to make party leaders fear us instead of the other way around.”

    Ya know that’s great. That is exactly what you should do if you don’t like either party and I am serious about that. Our system is strong because people can do this. But you seem to assume everyone in a party agrees with everything in the “party line”. If you were active in any party for any length of time you’d know this is definitely not the case just watch an endorsement convention. Starting your own party or being unaffiliated is easy, but watch as real people in your brand new movement have disagreements over who the best candidate is. Why do you think your effort will be immune? Look at the various independent parties -have they solved this problem? Again, so easy to dismiss, so hard to think through.

    Ustinjay: “outwardly and openly a farce for the common American”

    If you really want to have candidates pay attention to you, get involved in your chosen party -old or new. Active volunteers from any party will tell you that it is a vanishingly small number of people who actually do anything at all to elect candidates they believe in. In my congressional district of almost a million people we have only a few hundred active volunteers who hang around after election week -and we are typically one of the most active in the nation.

    This means any bozo has access to candidates. I bet my GOP counterparts would agree.

    Triscuit: “The margin of error for the election process is so much larger than Franken’s current lead. Statistically, there is no way of distinguishing who won. From reading the judges’ decision, I think they applied an equitable standard, and quite strongly rebuffed Coleman’s case for lack of proof of miscounting.”

    Strong and detailed -read it here:

  22. chris says:

    @#7: Bingo.

    Save your money.

  23. sirdook says:

    @NocNoc (#4)

    This group might be more to your tastes:

  24. UstinJay says:

    This is a stupid idea. I’m sorry but am I the only one that sees that our political system is now not only actually but now outwardly and openly a farce for the common American? By the way, Franken is a headpiece that will simply keep things rolling in the direction they’re going.

  25. Timothy Hutton says:

    TRISCUIT – from the article linked above by UNCLE GEO:

    The March 13th Order defined what is an illegal vote under Minnesota law and under that definition there are over thousands of illegal votes in the election day count. [emphasis added]

    If the above statement is true, can you and I agree that is wrong, and should be corrected? Forget which side said it, or which side might benefit from such a common-sense criteria.

    Personally, I find the Judges statement unsatisfying for one simple reason – the issue is criteria, not mechanisim:

    the Equal Protection Clause does not forbid the use of a variety of voting mechanisms within a jurisdiction, even though different mechanisms will have different levels of effectiveness in recording voters’ intentions…

    This will not end anytime soon, and rest assured, I have no sincere outcome in this election either way, but I do think it is important that the same standard be applied to all votes (and by that I mean, all in-person ballots have a single set of criteria for acceptance, all absentee ballots have a single set of criteria for acceptance, and that all provisoional ballots have a single set of criteria for acceptance, and that each set of criteria apply equally to all votes cast).

    It is as if the judges said that the first 2,000 ballots don’t have to be signed, but the rest do. Or the last 2,00 absentee ballots don’t need to have been mailed before election day.

    Honestly, we can agree on that principle, can’t we?

  26. Rindan says:

    The idea that Fraken has CLEARLY won is absurd. The vote difference between the two is so absurdly close that any statistician would tell you that if you have any error in your gathering and counting method (and we do) that winner is basically indeterminable. You can rest assured that if you recounted the votes 100 times, they would both win roughly half of the time.

    Beyond the impossibility of determining the “real” winner, is the fact that the moral difference between a leader who has 50.001% and 49.999% of the vote is nil. It isn’t like suddenly that one vote makes that leaders actions and moral. Hell, it isn’t even like a leader with 75% of the vote is taking moral and just actions. Democracy isn’t moral, it is convenient. The governor of segregated Alabama in 1920 wasn’t a moral guy, but he did have over 50% of the vote.

    What is really at stake here is the method of determining the winner. What makes democracy work smoothly is that it is a method that everyone can agree upon for picking a new leader. It might not be the best leader, but if everyone accepts the method of 50% + 1 vote we can at least keep people from killing each other each time a change in government comes. The real strength of democracy isn’t morality of fairness, but because it is a method of swapping in and out leaders quickly, without bloodshed, and a minimal amount of disenfranchisement.

    So, in this case, Coleman is doing nothing wrong. We have a tie. The winner is determined by the rules. The rules need to be ironed out as unambitious as possible and then enforced not just for this election, but for all elections. The way you do this in our system is to go to the courts.

    What you are seeing right now is the best our Republic has to offer. Two leaders with equally legitimate claims to leadership using the law and courts to determine the winner, rather than violence and bloodshed. This is a reaffirmation of the strength of the Republic, not a weakness.

  27. Slicklines says:

    @ 19 Uncle Geo

    What’s your point? That people within parties disagree with some candidates from those parties? So? I am not talking about whether or not there is discord within any group. Of course there is. (But hardly worth noting. How many Democrats voted for McCain, I wonder? How many Republicans voted for Obama? It was the independents that swung this last election. No one doubts it for a second.)

    The real issue (as others have pointed out here) is that there is no real difference between the parties anymore — at least not on any scale that matters. Sure the rhetoric is different, but so what?

    Did Obama change Bush’s policies on FISA? Heck no. He is under no threat to. Is he helping to hide and cover up Bush’s torture scheme. Hell yes. Is he bailing out rich CEOs? Check.

    And as for the Republicans, six years in control of all three branches of federal government. Is abortion outlawed. Nope. Did government get fiscally responsible? Hardly. Is the US the moral leader of the free world? Suuuuuure we are.

    Argue all you want, but the history of the last 20 years shows nothing if not the fact that neither party has anything to offer anymore. It is time to show them this. It is time to walk away from them. Do I still vote for Republicans or Democrats? Yes — but no blank check. Make them work for it. The only thing these lifetime politcos understand is the threat of not being re-elected. It is time to hold that threat over their heads every single election.

  28. acb says:

    The RIAA thanks you heartily for donating to their bought politicians.

    Seriously, the Democrats are the lesser evil, and nothing more. Supporting them (without conditions attached) amounts to supporting heinous douchebags like the RIAA/MPAA and their plans for your future.

  29. Anonymous says:

    It’s a good idea. I’ve supported Republicans when I thought they were right: but Coleman’s fraudulantly litigious path is ugly, and I’m happy to see it fail.

  30. Timothy Hutton says:

    Adam said:

    Republicans in DC know Al Franken won the Minnesota Senate race.

    But they are bankrolling Norm Coleman’s continued court challenges and are encouraging him to drag this thing out forever. For them, it’s worth it to keep shelling out money to block the seating of Senator Franken.

    The Wall Street journal says “Not so fast”:

    Meanwhile, back in the Minnesota Senate recount, the three-judge panel reviewing the race has declared Democrat Al Franken the winner. Republican Norm Coleman intends to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court, while Democrats and the press corps pressure him to surrender. We hope Mr. Coleman keeps fighting, because the outcome so far hangs on the fact that some votes have been counted differently from others. [emphasis added]

    Democrats like to say “Make sure every vote counts – I guess we just assumed they meany equally…

    During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6,500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933. The three judges then finally defined what constituted a “legal” absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

    But the panel only applied these standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional absentees that the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed only about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now “illegal” according to the panel’s own ex-post definition.

    If all this sounds familiar, think Florida 2000. In that Presidential recount, officials couldn’t decide what counted as a legal vote, and so different counties used different standards. The Florida Supreme Court made things worse by changing the rules after the fact. In Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this violated Constitutional principles of equal protection and due process, which require that every vote be accorded equal weight.

  31. strider_mt2k says:

    I’ve lost faith in the system, so this makes very little difference to me.

  32. triscuit says:

    A #8
    Using a conservative opinion piece to support your view is rather poor form. Perhaps the judicial decision will be a better source for interpreting Minnesota law and the judges’ decision?

    The overall findings and progression of this tedious process show that MN isn’t Florida, but that the election went as smoothly as can be expected… including the recount. Unfortunately, when the vote count is statistically indistinguishable, we have to resort to the judicial interpretation of the law.

  33. Anonymous says:

    #22 Rindan

    I was traveling in NZ and AUS during the 2000 recount. All the newspapers enjoyed poking fun at the US. But after a week, they pointed out two remarkable things about the US system.

    1 – The US constitution has details of who is in charge during certain events. VP, speaker of the house, etc etc. I can only imagine why that would impress them, but it did.

    2 – No bloodshed. Two sides that hate each other fighting tooth and nail for control of the country. But daily life was uninterrupted. No riots, no armed uprising, no financial collapse.

    My take away was that “loyal opposition” is a pretty valuable concept. Fighting over ideas and goals doesn’t always advance us in a straight line, but it advances us better than fighting each other in bloody combat.

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