Posted: February 2, 2009
Day 6 of Minnesota election contest trial complete
Today was Day 6 of the Minnesota election contest trial. Ramsey County Elections Director Joe Mansky was on the stand most of the day. He was questioned by Franken’s attorney about the practices in his county of reviewing the absentee ballot acceptance/rejection process. After last week’s trial proceedings, the Coleman campaign pointed out that Mansky said the election judges had 15 seconds to look at the ballot envelopes. Mansky clarified today that he hand-picked two election judges from his staff to review the rejected absentee ballots for mistakes, that they took as much time as they needed to review them in accordance with the court order, and that he was very confident that they had corrected any errors in his county. Coleman also called two voters at the end of the day whose ballots had not been counted. One voter apparently forgot to sign her absentee ballot envelope and the other voter’s ballot appears to have been rejected because there was no ballot application with his signature on it to be compared to his ballot even though he voted absentee in person at an elections office and his ballot was witnessed by an elections employee. See the latest Star Tribune story here and MPR story here. Mr. Mansky educated trial watchers today about Minnesota’s law requiring counties with absentee ballot boards to give voters another chance to vote absentee if they return their ballot before 5 days before the election and made a technical error on the envelope. However, not all counties and cities have absentee ballot boards and those that do have them may not convene them until less than 5 days preceding the election. This explains why many voters were not notified of the rejection of their absentee ballots while there was still a chance to correct any mistakes.