The intraday log is below, followed by a comprehensive summary and a few extra tidbits.
9:08 AM CT: The judges have yet to enter the courtroom.
9:19 AM CT: The start time has been pushed back to 9:30 AM CT.
9:39 AM CT: The proceedings are still delayed, I don't expect this to start anytime soon.
9:55 AM CT: Still waiting...
11:27 AM CT:
Mr. Mansky is being questioned by Mr. Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton is presenting absentee ballots which were rejected. The last several ballots were rejected, but Mr. Mansky stated that they should have been counted. The ballots in question were presented by the Ramsey County during the re-review but the Coleman campaign rejected their submissions.
11:32 AM CT:
Mr. Hamilton then discussed a specific absentee ballot request form. The two of them discussed the reasons for which an absentee ballot could be requested; it is a felony to request an absentee when you do not meet the request guidelines. Minnesota does not have no questions asked absentee balloting like "Oregon, where everybody votes by absentee."
11:35 AM CT:
Mr. Hamilton continued to reference ballots which were put forth by the election officials for inclusion, but were rejected by Coleman. Mr. Mansky stated that these ballots should be been counted. There were numerous reasons for which ballots were originally rejected, all of which were incorrect and later acknowledge by election officials.
11:38 AM CT:
Another ballot was present with a note; Mr Mansky stated the note was on the original absentee ballot/envelope/return form. Yet another ballot was presented that was identified by Ramsey County, but rejected by the Coleman campaign. An objection was then put for by Mr. Rock, but was overruled; the court did say it would note the request for admissibility.
11:41 AM CT:
At this point Mr. Hamilton just told Mr. Mansky to go through the rest of the current list; Mr. Hamilton asserted that the remainder were identified by Ramsey County officials, but rejected by the Coleman campaign. This list apparently goes from Exhibits F1668 to F1675. Mr. Mansky confirmed that each of this ballots was identified by Ramsey County and that every one was objected by the Coleman campaign. There were 9 ballots contained within the preceding exhibits.
11:43 AM CT:
Mr. Hamilton then referenced Exhibit F117, a letter written by the Frederickson law firm representing the Coleman campaign. Mr. Mansky recieved this document as part of his daily job. The document contained 15 ballots which Mr. Lillehaug believed should have been counted. Mr. Hamilton then submitted Exhibit F133 which contained an email by Mr. Mansky stating that two of these ballots were improperly rejected. Within the document he stated that they did not meet the 3 PM deadline for inclusion into the pool of potentially wrongfully rejected absentee ballots.
11:47 AM CT:
Mr. Hamilton asserted that the letter by Lillehaug was written on December 26th, well in advance of the time these wrongfully rejected absentee ballots were counted. Mr. Mansky and Mr. Hamilton then went through each of the 15 ballots included in Mr. Lillehaug's email. A spreadsheet, labeled as Exhibit F44, contained these 15 ballots issued by the SOS office. Mr. Mansky asserted that the first ballot was improperly rejected.
11:50 AM CT:
Next exhibit, F36. Onto the second ballot of this set of 15. Mr. Mansky asserted based upon the ballot envelope that this voter did not submit a voter registration. Mr. Mansky then stated that the voter was registered, and that their vote should should have been counted.
Summary [6:16 PM CT]: After a bit of a late start, the sixth day of the election contest got underway; Mr. Mansky returned to the stand and Mr. Hamilton resumed his line of questioning. Mr. Mansky is the Chief Election Officer of Ramsey County and he takes his duty personally. Mr. Mansky then discussed the role that volunteer election judges play in the election process; they are normally tired a fatigued after their fifteen hour day. Sometimes these election officials make mistakes, at the precinct level. Mr. Mansky then stated that math errors do and did occur.
Mr. Hamilton then presented a document from St. Paul Ward 3 Precinct 9. Mr. Mansky asserted that the numbers did not add up. He stated that it was possible for voters to sign in and not vote, to vote and not sign in, or perhaps leave at any point in the process, thus creating arithmetic errors. Mr. Hamilton then presented an incident log that election officials are supposed to fill out if anything peculiar happens throughout election day. The log recorded a voter he walked out of the precinct with a ballot after refusing to get a new one after overvoting.
Mr. Hamilton commented that "these errors, in reality do not mean that there were more votes than people," Mr. Mansky agreed. Mr. Mansky then stated that it would not be difficult to find errors within the paper filed by election officials, but "this do not necessarily mean that there was fraud, or malfesence or double counting." It is Mr. Mansky's goal is to ensure that elections go smoothly and that all valid votes are counted.
Mr. Hamilton then recalled Mr. Rock's hypothetical 110 votes, 100 signatures scenario presented yesterday. Mr. Mansky and Mr. Hamilton then stated that the header cards used to signal the conclusion of counting. Mr. Mansky then "definitively" stated that the incidents that occurred in Maplewood P6 were not the result of double counting, but rather the poor implementation of a header card. Mr. Hamilton then presented a spin off of Mr. Rock's previous hypothetical in which voters were actually disenfranchised. Mr. Mansky stated that this new scenario was plausible. Mr. Hamilton then spoke about twelve ballot found in a zip lock bag in a Minneapolis precinct that were not counted on election due to their missing duplicate.
In Mr. Mansky's experience, election officials take their job very seriously; but the process is also intended to be inherently fair. Mr. Hamilton then submitted Exhibit F1677 to the court and Mr. Mansky. The document lists the processes, as outlined by the election official guide, by which ballots are to be duplicated. There are nine steps total, its a very logical and fair process, no surprises. In order for a duplicate ballot, without a matching original, to be fed through the machine, both election officials required for duplication would have had to knowingly ignore the laws for ballot duplication. Mr. Hamilton then referenced Exhibit F9; it was a copy of the court filing against Ramsey County to disclose duplicate ballot issues with respect to data privacy issues.
The court eventually ruled that the absentee ballot envelopes in question were ruled to be public data and were required to be produced.; the Coleman campaign opposed this decision. You cannot look at simply the face of the ballot envelope to determine whether the ballot was actually counted. The absentee ballots are counted in their respective precinct; the transportation of these ballots is required to count out the number of ballots in front of the head election judge; both coming and going. In the "mid to later afternoon" the election judges feed the absentee ballot through the scanner; this can be done at any point in the day however. Each precinct is required by law to record the number of absentee ballots, for this reason a header/ender card is used to notify the scanner of the type of ballot. Once an ender card is submitted, the scanner prints the official election tape. If the header card is not inserted at the correct time, absentee ballots will still be counted, but they will be recorded as in person votes; the same can happen in reverse.
At 8 PM, the election judges will determine if there are any voters and determine the last person who will be allowed to vote. If the machine is busy, or inoperable ballots will be placed in an emergency ballot receptacle within the scanner. Once all ballots are counted, the result is printed and uploaded to the central database. At this point, the ballots are sealed and shipped to a secure holding place, usually the city hall. The scanner and memory cards are also returned to a secure location at the end of the day, by the election judge. Mr. Mansky stated that this was a safe and secure election, there were no security related issues, "none."
Mr. Mansky was then presented with two spreadsheets created by Ramsey County officials; a detailed list of wrongfully rejected absentee ballots was provided in accord with the MN Supreme Court ruling. The exhibit was listed as F1698. Mr. Mansky stated that he hand picked two of the most experienced election officials to aide in the creation of these spreadsheets. Mr. Mansky then discussed the process by which rejected absentee ballots were reexamined for potentially erroneous exclusion. The process took two weeks, just for Ramsey County; this was the second time these ballots had been viewed. Mr. Mansky stated that he wanted to count each and every last valid vote. Mr. Mansky stated that his two aides should take as much time as possible; he wanted the process to be thorough and accurate.
Now going back to the previous list which contains 133 absentee ballots that Mr. Mansky and his staff determined to have been improperly rejected. Mr. Hamilton then referenced Exhibit F114. Mr. Mansky stated that he could identify this document which was sent out by the SOS office on December 24th to all officials taking part in the resorting of rejected absentee ballots. The document detailed the procedure that local election officials were supposed to follow in the Fifth Article . Officials were not supposed to rely solely upon the face of the envelope, but were expected to explore other data in making their determination. Of the 133 ballots presented by Ramsey County, 62 of them were rejected by wither campaign and just 71 were counted.
At this point, Mr. Hamilton wants to analyze some of the 61 ballots which were rejected. Mr. Hamilton presented Exhibit F1655; this was a ballot identified as having been wrongfully rejected. Mr Mansky agreed with Mr. Hamilton's assessment of Exhibit F1655; it was originally rejected because the voter was not registered and there was not registration form. The last page of the exhibit confirmed that the voter was in fact registered. Mr. Mansky stated that the ballot was rejected by the Coleman campaign based upon the registration issue. Mr. Hamilton then presented F1656, another ballot that was identified by Ramsey County, but was rejected by the Coleman campaign; citing insufficient voter identification, the original ruling. The Exhibits have been redacted of any identifying information. Exhibit F1565 was never counted. Mr. Hamilton put forth another ballot F1657. This ballot was from Mounds View and was identified as being wrongfully rejected; the proper ballot was not mailed. As a result the ballot was not counted, as it was rejected by the Coleman campaign.
Exhibit F1658 was then presented by Mr. Hamilton; the voter was cited as having not been registered. Mr. Mansky stated that the voter was registered, that their vote was never counted because it was rejected by the Coleman campaign. Onto the next ballot, Exhibit F1659; the voter was not found within the voter roster. Mr. Mansky asserted that this was an error and that it should have been counted despite the Coleman rejection.
Mr. Hamilton then discussed a specific absentee ballot request form. The two of them discussed the reasons for which an absentee ballot could be requested ; it is a felony to request an absentee when you do not meet the requesting guidelines. Minnesota does not have a no questions asked absentee balloting system like "Oregon, where everybody votes by absentee."
Mr. Hamilton then directed the court's attention to F1660; another rejected ballot from Ramsey County. The ballot was originally rejected because the local election officials could not find the voter in the registration database; Mr. Mansky stated that it was a mistake and that it should have been counted. Mr. Hamilton then asserted that Coleman rejected the ballot within F1660. Onto F1661, again from Ramsey County. This ballot was originally rejected because the voter only had a passport; Mr. Mansky then asserted that this was not a valid reason to reject a ballot. It should have been counted, but was not because the Coleman campaign rejected. Exhibit F1662 was then presented and received; the original reason for rejection was lack of registration. Mr. Hamilton then stated that the voter was registered and that their vote would and should have been counted had the Coleman campaign not rejected it. Mr. Mansky agreed with this assessment.
Next, Exhibit 1663; from Ramsey County, again. The ballot was rejected because the voter was not registered. The county corrected this error, but the Coleman campaign later rejected it. F1664 was then received by the court; the judge asked about a note written on the ballot. Mr Mansky stated the note was on the original absentee ballot/envelope/return form. This ballot was originally rejected because the voter was not a resident of Minnesota; upon further inspection, the county officials determined that their first ruling was inaccurate. The Coleman campaign then rejected it before it could be counted. Yet another ballot was presented that was identified by Ramsey County, F1665, but was rejected by the Coleman campaign. An objection was then put for by Mr. Rock, but was overruled; the court did say it would note Mr. Rock's stipulation for admissibility. Mr. Mansky stated that this vote should have been counted.
At this point Mr. Hamilton then spared us all by just asking Mr. Mansky to go through the rest of the list; Mr. Hamilton asserted that the remainder were identified by Ramsey County officials, but rejected by the Coleman campaign. The Exhibits in question ranged from F1668 to F1675. Mr. Mansky confirmed that each of this ballots was identified by Ramsey County as improperly rejected and that each and every one them was objected to by the Coleman campaign. There were 9 ballots contained within the preceding exhibits. None of these nine were counted.
Mr. Hamilton then referenced Exhibit F117, a letter written by the Frederickson Law Firm the attorneys representing the Coleman campaign. Mr. Mansky received this document as part of his daily job. The document contained a copy of Mr. Lillehaug's letter of December 26th 2008 containing materials relating 15 rejected absentee ballots in Ramsey County which he believed should have been counted. Mr. Hamilton then submitted Exhibit F133 which contained Mr. Mansky's email response to Mr. Lillehaug's letter. Mr Mansky stated that two of these 15 ballots were improperly rejected; he then read off the list of voters included within the list of 15. Within the document he stated that they did not meet the 3 PM deadline for inclusion into the pool of potentially wrongfully rejected absentee ballots.
Mr. Hamilton asserted that the letter by Lillehaug was written on December 26th, well in advance of the time these wrongfully rejected absentee ballots were counted, January 3rd. Mr. Mansky and Mr. Hamilton then went through each of the 15 ballots included in Mr. Lillehaug's email. A spreadsheet, labeled as Exhibit F44, contained these 15 ballots as issued by the SOS office. Mr. Mansky asserted that the first ballot was improperly rejected due to lack of voter registration submission. Mr. Mansky then agreed that this ballot was improperly rejected. Next exhibit, F36. Onto the second ballot of this set of 15. Mr. Mansky asserted based upon the ballot envelope that this person did not submit a voter registration. Mr. Mansky then stated that the voter was registered, and that their vote should should have been counted.
Mr. Hamilton then presented F1697; the exhibit contains five documents pertaining to a single voter. The ballot was rejected because the voter was not registered at the specified address. Mr. Mansky believes that this ballot should have been counted. Mr. Hamilton presented another ballot and its accompanying data in Exhibit F1700; the ballot was originally rejected due to a lack of voter registration cards. Mr. Mansky asserted that this was an error and that this ballot should have been counted. Up next, Exhibit F1695, another rejected absentee ballot that was not counted, but Mr. Mansky's believed that it was improperly rejected and should have been counted.
More exhibits, F1696; it contained the same five documents as the previous few exhibits. This ballot was originally rejected because there was not registration card, it was just a mistake; Mr. Mansky believed that it should have been counted. Up next, F102 which follows the same trends; it was rejected because of a proof of residence issue. The ballot should have been counted, but was not; Mr. Mansky agreed. Then Exhibit F62; Mr. Hamilton wanted to draw specific attention to the absentee ballot envelope. Mr. Hamilton asserted that it was rejected for an incomplete identification; this ballot was rejected, but should have been counted. Mr. Hamilton then presented Exhibit F63. The voter in F63 was the husband of the previous exhibit, their ballots were both rejected for the same reason and should both have been counted.
Onto F56, the ballot was rejected for a signature problem. Mr. Mansky asserted that this was an error and should have been counted. Exhibit F113 was then presented; it was rejected due to a signature mismatch. The voter had glaucoma and had her son sign in her place, Mr. Mansky ruled that this ballot should have counted because this process was legal because she had a disability. Another exhibit, F55 but this ballot was rejected due to a lack of a drivers license. Mr. Mansky stated that the drivers license ID was not required and as such, with some reservation, Mr. Mansky decided that the ballot should be counted based upon the information within the exhibit. Mr. Mansky the stated that he was aware of the voter through a voter on youtube; Mr. Hamilton stated that he did not want to go down that path. The final exhibit of the morning session was F104; this ballot was originally rejected based upon a signature issue. The voter was legally blind, and had his wife sign his ballot; which was completely legal based upon her power of attorney. Based upon these assertions, his ballot should have been counted, but it was not. A recess was ordered until 1:30 PM CT.
[Upon resumption, Mr. Mansky's testimony continued for two additional hours; I will eventually summarize this portion, but at this moment, I simply do not have the time.]
Upon the conclusion of Mr. Mansky's testimony, the Coleman campaign, specifically James Langdon, called Elissa Ryan Jackson to the witness stand. Mr. Langdon began the examination by presenting Exhibit C295 which contained Ms Jackson's absentee ballot documentation. Mr. Langdon then preceded to show Ms. Jackson her own absentee envelope. She stated that her husband was the witness. Ms. Jackson stated that she requested an absentee ballot because her husband was traveling and she had a five month old baby at home. She had not voted absentee before, and she did receive her absentee ballot through the mail. Mr. Langdon observed that there was no signature by Ms. Jackson on the signature line, he then asked her why she did not sign her ballot. "I thought I had everything correct," until she received a call from the Republican Party notifying her that her ballot was not counted. She received no other notification from any other party, group or government body. Mr. Langdon asked her what she would have done had she been notified of her error. Ms. Jackson stated that she would have done "whatever needed to be done, that's why I'm here; hoping that my vote will be counted."
Mr. Hamilton then conducted the cross examination; his first question asked Ms. Jackson to explain the circumstances surrounding the phone call she received from the Republican Party. She estimated that she received the phone call about three weeks ago from the Coleman campaign. She stated that they asked her who she voted for, and then they asked here to fill out an affidavit, which they prepared. They did not send offer to send here an affidavit until she told them how she voted. Ms. Jackson did not sign the absentee ballot envelope, and Mr. Hamilton wanted to review the exhibit for a moment. Ms. Jackson stated that a sticker was overlapping some of the instructions, but she went on to say that she "truthfully I don't know how I missed the signature." Mr. Hamilton then asked her a series of rhetorical questions to establish the foundation of his arguement; she stated that the signature directions and a required check box were not overlapped by the sticker.
Mr. Langdon then asked Ms. Jackson if she was a registered voter and if she meet all the other requirements to be an eligible voter; replied "yes" to both questions. She was then excused from the witness stand.
The Coleman campaign then called Joel Thomas Koehnen. Mr. Langdon then presented Mr. Koehnen with an exhibit containing his ballot. Mr. Koehnen stated that he went to the Inver Grove Court House to cast his ballot because he was going out of town. Mr. Koehnen gave the election officials his drivers licensee and they gave him a ballot; he then took the ballot into a voting booth, filled it out and returned it. An election official at the Court House witnessed Mr. Koehnen's ballot. Mr. Koehnen stated that he was never informed of any wrongdoing while at the Court House; had he been informed of his error, he "woulda done it over." Mr. Koehnen stated that nobody ever told him he had to fill out an application; he was simply given the ballot. Mr. Koehnen was informed that his vote was note counted in a letter mailed to him by the State of Minnesota. Upon reading the letter Mr. Koehnen called the state of Minnesota and then "Joe Friedberg's law office" because he had a "friend that follows him."
Mr. Hamilton began the cross examination; he began by inquisitively asking "you called Joe Friedberg's office?" The witness responded by saying "yeah, whats wrong with that?" Mr. Hamilton responded with a chuckle, "there is nothing wrong with that, in fact there's everything right with that. He is an excellent lawyer and I'm just wondering how that happened." Mr. Koehnen stated that he got a letter "that the Franken campaign canceled my vote, alright I didn't vote for Al Franken." When Mr. Koehnen called the State, he told them that he was going to call Friedberg's office because he represented Norm Coleman; the state responded by saying that "it was an excellent idea." Mr. Koehnen then called Friedberg's office. Mr. Hamilton asked Mr. Koehnen whether he requested an absentee ballot, Mr Koehnen responded by saying that he "just walked into the court house, and gave them my license and they gave me a ballot and I voted." Mr. Hamilton then asserted that there was no form involved and no signature, Mr . Koehnen agreed.
The court then recessed until 9 AM CT tomorrow morning.
I'd also like to point out that Coleman's US Senate website is still fully functional.