Fishy vote changes favoring Franken gaining national attention


Fishy or legitimate, the nation is paying attention to the last week of vote count updates that have favored Franken and tightened the race to just over 200 votes for Sen. Norm Coleman. The unfortunate part is they aren't always getting the whole story.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that both campaigns are gearing up for the recount with a lot of cash and a lot of eyes:

Coleman's lead campaign lawyer, Fritz Knaak, says hundreds of volunteers and at least 120 attorneys will fan out across the state to watch as every ballot is counted.

"What we anticipate is that we are going to have at least one if not two people at every table where the count is happening and we anticipate that we are going to have at least one lawyer at every location," Knaak said. "That is our objective and I'm expecting that given the importance of this recount that you're going to see those kinds of resources devoted on both sides."

Franken campaign spokeswoman Jess McIntosh wouldn't offer specifics on their fundraising plans except to say they're relying on their grassroots network.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is under the spotlight as he prepares for the largest recount in state history. He made an appearance on MSNBC, according to Politico, and didn't have good things to say about Coleman's campaign:


Asked about the Coleman campaign's criticism of the recanvassing process, Ritchie said: "Their goal is to win at any price, they've invested millions and millions of dollars. We consider this part of the normal political rhetoric," said Ritchie. "We're used to the political rhetoric being amped up. That's part of their job - to win at any price."

Over at the Wall Street Journal opinion section, they are pretty suspicious of the changing vote totals:

The vanishing Coleman vote came during a week in which election officials are obliged to double-check their initial results. Minnesota is required to do these audits, and it isn't unusual for officials to report that they transposed a number here or there. In a normal audit, these mistakes could be expected to cut both ways. Instead, nearly every "fix" has gone for Mr. Franken, in some cases under strange circumstances.

According to conservative statistician John Lott, Mr. Franken's gains so far are 2.5 times the corrections made for Barack Obama in the state, and nearly three times the gains for Democrats across Minnesota Congressional races. Mr. Lott notes that Mr. Franken's "new" votes equal more than all the changes for all the precincts in the entire state for the Presidential, Congressional and statehouse races combined (482 votes).

Not exactly true, WSJ. According to this MPR graphic, vote changes can be much larger than a couple votes here and there and normal state changes favor Democrats in most elections. And these were in elections where it really didn't matter because the margin of victory was big enough: