Monday, April 13, 2009

Minnesota Senate Race: How Minnesotans contributed to quagmire

Easter Monday has arrived and Minnesotans still only have one sitting Senator in the United States Congress. The Three-panel judge review of 400 rejected ballots which resulted in a net gain to Al Franken. Norm Coleman’s camp intends on taking the fight to the Minnesota Supreme court and possibly onto the Federal level. Many are worried that Minnesota is not getting fair representation and that Norm Coleman is just dragging out the recount for political gain.

After the original election results were counted, Norm Coleman held over a 700 vote lead and then after the recount Al Franken led by 225 votes. The swing resulted in the counting of rejected absentee votes. We all agree that if one voted that one’s vote needs to be counted. Minnesota faces a larger problem going forward regardless of how Coleman/Franken shakes out. As was evident during the Canvassing Board review of votes, the application of voting rules were not applied equally.

By allowing the election results to be reviewed by the Canvassing Board, Minnesotans watched a breakdown in the democratic process. According to Minnesota statute, M.S.204C.22, all ballots must be counted if it is possible to determine the voter’s intent. Determine voter intent? WHAT!!! As a citizen that votes, I do not want someone determining my intent which is why I follow the instructions on the ballot. Voter’s who cannot follow the simple instructions is to blame for the actions taken after the election results were announced.

That being said, all ballots that did not follow instructions – absentee and ones cast on Election Day – ought to be tossed out. Count only the ballots that Minnesotans followed the instructions correctly then crown the victor. The Minnesota statute needs to be revised to ensure a Canvassing Board does not have an opportunity to determine voter intent through the bias of their political affiliation. There are ample examples to prove that voter intent was not applied equally. Personally, I don’t care which clown gains the seat. Just apply the rules equally.