Franken-Coleman Recount Update: Searching for Spines
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Last Friday morning, I reported that the state canvassing board had avoided making a ruling that would commit them to reviewing the thousands of rejected absentee ballots in the November 4 election. This action is cowardly in the extreme, being done largely because the board members are afraid of being mobbed by mindless hordes of local right-wing radio listeners. The local lawyers I know say that the board does indeed have the right to rule on the ballots -- and that everyone knows full well that the right thing to do is to reexamine those ballots as part of the full recount (since that is what a full recount is about, non?) In fact, officials in Itasca County have already gone ahead and decided, without waiting for the canvassing board to stop being so damned scared of the GOP Noise Machine, that they are going to go ahead and reopen their recount because of three wrongly-rejected ballots in their county.
Pressure is mounting on the canvassing board's members to grow spines. Harry Reid himself has weighed in on the situation, calling the canvassing board's members' abdication of their authority "a cause for great concern," which at least one analyst, Washington University political scientist Steven Smith, thinks is a sign that Reid will be readying a US Senate probe into the recount. SoS Mark Ritchie was doing pretty much the same thing when he told the board Wednesday, after they ruled not to rule, that if they continued to abdicate their authority, they were setting up a situation where the only relief for rejected-ballot voters was in the courts -- and that this would lead to a collapse of the state courts system under the weight of court cases by screwed voters.