The Counting Aftermath

On Tuesday, April 7th, the MN Senate Election Contest Court sat down at 9:30 AM CT with 387 absentee ballots and began the tedious process of opening, sorting and counting their contents. The counting process did not began for some time, but when it did, the court had identified 351 ballots which merited inclusion into the vote tally. The ECC court released the following order detailing the specific voters contained within the 351 identified ballots:

This matter comes before the Court after its review of certain original absentee ballot materials pursuant to this Court's Order for Delivery of Ballots to Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State for Review by the Court. After review, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

1. The absentee ballots in the attached Exhibit A shall be opened and counted in accordance with Paragraph 4 of the Court's Order for Delivery of Ballots to Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State for Review by the Court.

2. Any other relief not fully set forth herein is expressly denied.

Dated: April 7, 2009

[Exhibit A: List of 351 Voter's Names and County, CSV]

Source: Order for Opening and Counting of Ballots via

Parsing through the list revealed that 41 of the 42 Nauen Petitioner's identified within the ECC's request were also listed within the ECC's order for opening and counting. Each of the 41 voter's is assumed to have voted for Franken because the Franken campaign was funding their intervention. This leaves 310 voters with unknown allegiances; 10 of the 12 voter's identified within Contestee's [Franken] Partial Summary Judgment are also listed within this 310 vote subset.

I updated my extrapolation to account for the 41 Nauen Petitioner's and the remaining 310 voters; I assume that the Nauen voters will break for Franken in a 90-5-5 fashion and that the 10 Partial Summary Judgement voters have no inclination to vote for one candidate or another:

Extrapolations: ECC Accepts 351 Additional Absentee Ballots [PDF, 141KB]

                      Identified       Extrapolation
                        Voters      Coleman      Franken
ECC Ordered Opened        310        130.66       129.33
    Coleman Regions       190         91.85        66.61
    Franken Regions       120         38.82        62.72

Nauen Petitioners          41          2.05        36.90
    Newly Orded             6           .30         5.40
    Previously Ordered     35          1.75        31.50

Extrapolation Total       351        132.71       166.23

Actual Result             351          111          198

The Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune have both reported that the final resolution of these 351 ballots resulted in Franken increasing his lead by 87 votes from 225, to 312.

At this point it seems unlikely that further ballots will be opened and counted, but the possibility does remain. The ECC also has yet to address the 133 (or 134) lost ballots in Minneapolis W3-P1 and any remedy to the Coleman campaign's argument of double counted ballots. It seems unlikely that a ruling will be released today, as the ECC just released an order clarifying the resolution of the Nauen Petitioners:

This action came on for a court trial before the Honorable Elizabeth A. Hayden, the Honorable Kurt J. Marben, and the Honorable Denise D. Reilly, District Court Judges, beginning on January 26, 2009 and ending on March 13, 2009.

Having considered the testimony and evidence adduced at trial, the exhibits admitted into evidence, the pleadings,' briefs and memoranda submitted by all the parties, and the arguments of counsel, the Court now makes the following:


1. Petitioners filed a Petition pursuant to Minnesota Statute section 204B.44 with the Minnesota Supreme Court on January 13, 2009. On January 16, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order granting Norm Coleman's motion to intervene in Petitioners' proceeding and further directing the Petition to this Court for consideration and decision within the current election contest.

2. Pursuant to the Court's Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Petitioners' Motion for Summary Judgment (Feb. 10, 2009), Nunc Pro Tunc Order Correcting Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Petitioners' Motion for Summary Judgment (Feb. 10, 2009). Order on Intervenor's Rule 60.02 Motion 10 Vacate Judgment (Mar. 2, 2009), Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Petitioners' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Mar. 11, 2009), and Order Granting Petitioners' Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment and Amending Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Petitioners' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Dated March 11, 2009 (Mar. 31, 2009), the Court granted summary judgment with respect to the following Petitioners:

3. On March 31, 2009, the Court Issued an Order for Delivery of Ballots to.Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State for Review by the Court. The Petitioners listed above were identified in the Court's March 31, 2009 Order.

[List of 36 Voter's Names and County, CSV]

4. On-April 7, 2009, the Court ordered the absentee ballot return envelopes of voters identified in an attached exhibit to be opened and counted by the Office of the Secretary of State in open court and the totals included in the results of the 2008 United States Senate election reported by the Minnesota Secretary of State. With one exception, the ballots of the individuals listed above were opened, sorted and counted by the Office of the Secretary of State in open court on April 7, 2009, pursuant to the Court's March 31, 2009 and April 7, 2009 Orders.1

5. With respect to the Petitioners not expressly identified herein, the Court has not been presented with sufficient individualized evidence in support of Petitioners' claims. The Petition with respect to those individuals is accordingly DISMISSED.

6. Any request for relief in these proceedings not specifically granted herein is denied.

There being no just reason for delay.


Dated: April 10, 2009

1The absentee ballot return envelope of Roxanna Saad of Dakota County was not opened and counted on April 7, 2009, after the Court determined Ms. Saad failed to fully complete a voter registration application.

Source: Order Regarding Resolution of Petitioner's Motion via

The above order details the 36 petitioner's listed within previous orders granting the opening and counting of their ballots, a number I arrived at on Monday. The final count, as noted above, included 35 of the 36 plus 6 other petitioners who had not previously been granted relief. This brings the grand total of relieved Nauen Petitioners to 41. I've updated my Nauen voter table to reflect the result of the counting procedure; the contents of this most recent order did not reveal any new information. It simply outlined the result of the Nauen Petitioner's and dismissed the remaining petitioner's request for relief:

Extrapolation: Nauen Petitioners and ECC Ordered Opened & Counted Aftermath [PDF, 125KB]

Despite the ECC's detailed and straightforward resolution of the Nauen Petioners, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger of the St. Paul Pioneer Press still managed to a provide inaccurate information:

The order the court did issue today dismissed the case of the voters who sued on their own but haven't had their ballots counted.

Sixty-one voters sued early this year to have their absentee ballot votes counted. That suit, which was funded by Franken, was folded into Coleman's larger suit.

Thirty-six of those voters had their ballots opened and counted on Tuesday, along with 315 other absentee ballots. The results on those ballots boosted Franken's lead to 312 votes.

Today, the judges said that the case of the other 25 votes was dismissed.

[emphasis added to depict inaccuracies]

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press

Rachel's entire article contained just 217 words, but three glaring inaccuracies:

1. There were 64 Nauen petitioners, not "sixty-one;" although three voters did eventually withdraw their claim.
Exhibit A: List of 64 Voters by Name and County, [CSV, 2KB]
Source: Petition by Certain MN Voters to Have Their Votes Counted via

2. Forty-one of the Nauen petitioners eventually had their vote counted; the "thirty-six" Rachel presents originates from today's order and tells me that she cannot read footnotes. Thirty-six voters were originally presented, but Roxanna Saad's ballot was never counted because it did not contain a completed voter registration form.

3. The "25" other votes should actually read 23, but its hard to get this number right, when the two previous numbers were completely wrong; 64-41=23.

The ECC will probably present their ruling some time next week, at that point, the loser will have 10 days to present an appeal to the MN Supreme Court.

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1 Response(s) to The Counting Aftermath

4/11/2009 10:36:05 AM CT,,so..close..that..a..pocketfull..of..ballots..could..decide...

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