OSU Navigation Bar

Election Law @ Moritz Home Page

Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz

Information & Analysis

MN Senate Race: 11/10 Update

MN Senate Race:  11/10 Update

The latest vote count in the Minnesota US Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken puts Coleman ahead by only 204 votes, down from the initial count of 725.  These results should be certified at the local level today, although the final certification will not occur until next week.  Here is more news concerning the race.

Coleman attacks integrity of counting process; Ritchie defends

On Friday, after continuing counting efforts chipped away at Norm Coleman's (R) narrow lead, Coleman called the chipping away "improbable" and seemed to suggest the counting process might have been tainted by inaccuracy or even deliberate impropriety.  Ritchie responded by claiming that his first priority is to keep the counting process nonpartisan, and accused Coleman of "denigrating" the election process.

32 Absentee Ballots Found and Counted

The parties ended up in court on Saturday, after 32 absentee ballots were found in the car of an election official.  Coleman asked a judge to prevent those votes from being counted until the court verified that they had not been tampered with, but the judge refused on the basis of jurisdiction.  The Franken campaign said that the request was a "disgusting attempt to disenfranchise voters...."

Public records request

Coleman has submitted to all local election officials in Minnesota a public records request for documents concerning the initial vote count and subsequent revisions, and also any documents concerning ballot security and chain of custody.  In the event that Coleman loses the automatic recount that will probably occur, Coleman could use information like this to build a case that the counting process was sloppy and inaccurate, or even tainted by fraud.


Based on information provided by Joe Mansky, a Ramsey County (Minneapolis) elections official and expert, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune estimated that about 5,700 undervotes were cast statewide.  An Associated Press analysis found that more undervotes in Minnesota came from "Obama turf" than "McCain turf," suggesting that Franken may pick up more ballots than Coleman in the manual recount.  However, because some of the 5,700 ballots will contain no mark at all, it is not clear that this would be enough to give Franken the upper hand.


Edward B. Foley

Of Bouncing Balls and a Big Blue Shift

Edward B. Foley

It is a fortuitous coincidence that the University of Virginia’s Journal of Law & Politics has just published a piece of mine that shows the relevance of the current vote-counting process in Virginia’s Attorney General election to what might happen if the 2016 presidential election turns on a similar vote-counting process in Virginia. 

Read full post here.

more commentary...

In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio treasurer receives OK to host town halls

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.

more EL@M in the news...

Info & Analysis

Judge Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction in NC Case

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs in a case challenging a new North Carolina voting law as violating the Voting Rights Act and the federal Constitution. Judge Schroeder also denied the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. The case is North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory.

more info & analysis...