The Franken campaign today sent the Norm Coleman campaign a proposed order to go out from the Secretary of State, which would, apparently, secure all the ballots and other election material in advance of the recount of their U.S. Senate race. The canvassing boards are certifying the initial results of the election today. Franken picked up a few more votes so far today. At last check (and you can check the latest on the front page of the MPR Web site), Coleman leads by
204 206 205 206 votes.
Here’s the proposal.
STIPULATION BETWEEN THE CAMPAIGNS FOR UNITED STATES SENATE FOR THE PROTECTION, PRESERVATION, AND SECURITY OF BALLOTS AND OTHER ELECTION DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION
Al Franken for Senate Campaign and Norm Coleman for Senate ’08 Campaign, by and through their undersigned counsel, hereby stipulate and agree as follows:
1. They will immediately present to the Minnesota Secretary of State (“the Secretary”) a proposed Order in the form attached hereto as Exhibit A and use their best efforts to obtain the Secretary’s consent to the issuance of such Order.
2. If, however, the Secretary is unwilling to issue an Order in the form attached as Exhibit A, they will work cooperatively with each other and the Secretary to obtain his consent to the issuance of an Order that will provide for the maximum protection, preservation, and security that the Secretary deems appropriate.
3. By entering into this stipulation, neither campaign waives any remedy that it may have relating to the protection, preservation, and security of any items described in Exhibit A, whether or not the Secretary issues any Order regarding the protection, preservation, and security of any ballot or other election-related item referenced in Exhibit A.
Dated: November ___, 2008 Al Franken for Senate
Dated: November ___, 2008 Norm Coleman for Senate ’08
To: All County Auditors, City Clerks, and Election Judges as defined in Minn. Stat. Chapter 201.
From: Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State
Date: November __, 2008
Re: ORDER — Preservation of Records for Recount and Potential Election Contest
1. In light of the current margin of the vote totals in the race for United States Senator between Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken, Minnesota election laws require an automatic recount overseen by this Office. Therefore, pursuant to Minn. Stat. §§ 204B.27 and 204C.28, this Office orders and instructs that you and those persons acting under your jurisdiction and authority locate, protect, and preserve each of the following categories of documents, books, records, notes, memoranda, correspondence, and other tangible items relating to the election conducted for the office of United States Senator, whether those items and materials exist in hard copy or electronic format, until further notice or instruction from this Office:
A. The ballots cast and counted;
B. The ballots cast, but not counted, including any ballots deemed defective or invalid for any reason;
C. Blank ballots and any other excess ballots;
D. Voter challenges at the polls by an election judge or person designated by any political party to challenge any voter;
E. Election judge certifications of vote totals;
F. Election judge certifications reflecting the reasons why any vote was not counted;
G. Precinct vote total summary statements submitted to the county auditor;
H. Envelopes containing counted, defective, blank, or spoiled ballots;
I. The list of all polling place voters;
J. Completed voter registration cards;
K. County canvassing board recount activities, including its determinations, reports, and certificates; and
L. State canvassing board recount activities, including its determinations, reports, and certifications.
M. Any questions or concerns raised during the election vote counting process and/or mandatory recount vote counting process with respect to the acceptance, rejection, or counting of any ballot.
N. Any advice received from any office, person, or entity regarding any question or concern raised in connection with the election vote counting and/or mandatory recount voting process with respect to the acceptance, rejection, and/or counting of any ballot.
2. To absolute compliance with this Order, you are directed to provide immediately a copy of it to all persons acting under your jurisdiction and authority who are currently responsible or may become responsible in the future for preserving and/or protecting any of the items identified in subparagraphs A through N above.
3. Upon your receipt of this Order, you are directed to commence an immediate search of all offices and premises under your jurisdiction and authority, including your computer network systems, to ensure that all documents, materials, and items described above are preserved and protected.
4. Upon completion of that search, you are further directed to provide this Office with a written report (with copies to the attorneys for the Coleman and Franken campaigns) setting forth the locations and offices that have been searched, the steps that you have taken to date and will in the future take to secure, preserve, and protect all items, documents, and materials identified above until further communication from this Office or the Court.
5. Except when needed for official purposes, the ballots shall at all times remain under lock and key. Only election staff may enter the ballot storage room and no less than two staff shall enter the room at any time. A log, including the time, date and purpose, shall be kept of all election staff entering the ballot storage room. Without limiting the foregoing, no campaign “visual guards” pursuant to Minn. Stat. Section 209.05 may enter the ballot storage room.
6. A copy of this Order will also be posted on this Office’s website.
Dated November __, 2008 ______________________________
Secretary of State