Friday, December 12, 2008

Recount Update: State Canvassing Board Votes to Ask Counties to Correct Absentee Ballot Errors

The Minnesota Canvassing Board recommends that county canvassing boards reconvene and reconsider "allegedly" incorrectly rejected absentee ballots. Depending on whether they choose to do this or not, each side can go to court and sue if they think they have a case. It will be handled on a county by county basis, not a state wide directive.

Again, from the Polinaut live blog:
10:35 AM Motion passes asking county officials to separate properly and allegedly improperly rejected absentee ballots. Magnuson repeats that the canvassing board can't compel this action. Vote is unanimous.

10:27 AM Ramsey County District Court Judge Ed Cleary says he's inclined to include the improperly rejected absentee ballots. "We do not have authorities to make findings of fact or conclusions of law on the absentee ballots rejected for reasons...Those that have improperly been rejected are uncounted ballots... The bottom line is that I think we're disenfranchising voters that followed the law."

Magnuson suggests that the state courts may be a better place to consider this, since judges can issue orders and assess penalties to make these considerations happen, whereas the canvassing board cannot.

Gearin says she can't understand why a county wouldn't reconsider if the canvassing board asks. "If the local people, in the trenches, if they made a mistake, then that vote should be accepted."

Anderson weighs in and says he's inclined to go along with Cleary's suggestion to ask these ballots be reexamined and reconsidered by the canvassing board. He says there are some ballots rejected without any indication at all that they were in fact rejected. But he seems to be saying he thinks the courts ought to eventually weigh in.

Ritchie rephrases the motion. Cleary offers some clarification. County canvassing boards reconvene, separate rejected absentee ballots into properly and improperly rejected ballots.

10:20 AM Attorney General Lori Swanson says she believes the canvassing board has the authority to recommend local elections officials reconsider their wrongly rejected ballots and correct their vote totals. Ramsey County District Court Judge says some counties seem to have done that already and that the Canvassing Board will have to weigh in on this whether they like it or not.

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