Posted: December 12, 2008
Minnesota Canvassing Board - summary of 12/12/08 meeting
The Minnesota Canvassing Board met today. They first discussed the large number of ballots challenged by the campaigns that they are to review next week. The board unanimously encouraged the campaigns to continue withdrawing frivolous challenges. Franken's campaign is expected to withdraw 750 more ballot challenges today. The board then moved on to discussing the 133 missing ballots from Minneapolis. Cindy Reichert, Director of Elections in Minneapolis, spoke about her belief that the ballots were legitimately cast and counted and the canvassing board unanimously passed a resolution to accept the election night machine totals from the Minneapolis precinct where the ballots went missing. The board next discussed the question of how to handle absentee ballots that have allegedly been wrongly or mistakenly rejected by county canvassing boards. After discussion in which board members emphasized that they had no authority to force counties to sort their absentee ballots and count those that were wrongly rejected on the first try, the board concluded that nothing in Minnesota law prohibits them from requesting that counties identify and count any wrongly rejected absentee ballots. The board also concluded that nothing in Minnesota law prohibits them from accepting amended returns from the counties but they did not go so far as to move to accept such returns at this point. The board did unanimously decide to recommend to the counties that county officials identify and count any wrongly rejected absentee ballots. Questions remain about what can and will be done with such amended returns. Last week, one county official, Joe Mansky of Ramsey County, told a reporter that he would not count 32 mistakenly rejected ballots without a court order. He believes the law requires such an order. EL@M will be monitoring any new actions by the counties and the campaigns in light of the canvassing board's unanimous resolutions today.