What we’re dealing with here

ballotUpdate: More ballot pictures below.

Update #2: We put together a page where you can play election judge.

More We’ll probably all tire of this soon, but here’s what election officials will be contending with for the next couple of weeks. This picture of an improperly marked ballot comes from photographer Bill Alkofer who was in Shorewood this morning.

It’s clearly closer to the Al Franken circle, where the mark would have been properly placed assuming the voter’s intention was to vote for Franken. I suppose a case could be made that it’s more likely the mark of a voter trying to restart a stalled pen than a sign of intent.

But, from the Minnesota statute on voter intent:

Subd. 6.Mark out of place.

If a mark (X) is made out of its proper place, but so near a name or space as to indicate clearly the voter’s intent, the vote shall be counted.

On the whole, the statute gives elections officials pretty generous discretion in determining what counts or not.

More ballot photos…

From MPR’s Curtis Gilbert: The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot in Anoka county, arguing the voter drew an arrow pointing at Coleman’s name after filling in the bubble next to Franken’s name.


Now we’ve got the spirit. Here’s what the statutes say relevant to our next ballot.

Subd. 13.Identifying ballot.

If a ballot is marked by distinguishing characteristics in a manner making it evident that the voter intended to identify the ballot, the entire ballot is defective.

From Gilbert again: The Franken campaign challenged this Anoka County ballot, arguing that the thumb print on it constitutes a distinguishing mark. If a voter signs a ballot or writes his Social Security Number on it, that ballot is invalid under Minnesota state law. The State Canvassing Board will need to determine whether this thumb print has the same effect.


And then there’s this one.

From MPR’s Tom Robertson: Here is a pic of a ballot that was challenged in Beltrami County. The voter cast their ballot for Al Franken, but also put “Lizard People” as a write-in candidate, not only in the U.S. Senate race, but for several others. The county auditor/treasurer ruled that the vote should not be counted because it’s considered an overvote. Representatives for Franken challenged that decision.