Minnesota Senate Recount

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Challenged ballots: You be the judge - Round 1

by Than Tibbetts and Steve Mullis, Minnesota Public Radio
December 1, 2008

Representatives from the campaigns of Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken have been challenging ballots across the state.

It's your turn to play election judge. Tell us how you would rule in the case of these challenged ballots. Use this Minnesota state statute as your guide.

In case you missed it, here are Round Two, Round Three and Round Four.

DAY 3 BALLOTS

Ballot #1: The Signature

The Franken campaign challenged this ballot, arguing the voter left an identifying mark on the ballot. (MPR has blacked-out the signature to respect the voter's privacy.) Minnesota law states: "If a ballot is marked by distinguishing characteristics in a manner making it evident that the voter intended to identify the ballot, the entire ballot is defective." (MPR Photo/Laura Yuen)



DAY 2 BALLOTS

Ballot #1: The Bachmen

The Franken campaign challenged this ballot in Ramsey County where the voter appears to have written "Bachmen" — presumably a reference to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann — in the write-in field. (Caroline Yang for MPR)



Ballot #2: The Pencil

The Coleman campaign questioned this Ramsey County ballot because while the oval for the Presidency was filled in with pen, the rest were filled in with pencil, calling into question whether the ballot had been properly duplicated. (Caroline Yang for MPR)



Ballot #3: The X Factor

The Franken campaign challenged this ballot in Ramsey County, arguing the voter drew an "X" in over the oval for Norm Coleman, signifying the voter's intent to cross-out the vote for Coleman. (Caroline Yang for MPR)



Ballot #4: The Autograph

The Franken campaign challenged this ballot, arguing the voter left an identifying mark (signature blurred for privacy) on the ballot. (Caroline Yang for MPR)



Discuss these challenged ballots on News Cut.

DAY 1 BALLOTS

Ballot #1: The Arrow

The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot in Anoka county, arguing the voter drew an arrow pointing at Coleman's name after filling in the bubble next to Franken's name. (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)



Ballot #2: The Thumbprint

The Franken campaign challenged this Anoka County ballot, arguing that the thumb print on it constitutes a distinguishing mark. If a voter signs a ballot or writes his Social Security Number on it, that ballot is invalid under Minnesota state law. The State Canvassing Board will need to determine whether this thumbprint has the same effect. (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)



Ballot #3: Outside the lines

The ballot was challenged in Shorewood because the voter did not make the mark inside a bubble next to a candidate's name. (MPR Photo/Bill Alkofer)



Ballot #4: The NO ballot

This ballot was challenged in Dakota County because two ovals were filled in. Minnesota law says a ballot is valid is election officials can determine the voter's intent. (Image courtesy of Dakota County)



Ballot #5: Lizard People

View the whole ballot (PDF opens in new window)

This Beltrami County voter cast their ballot for Al Franken, but also put "Lizard People" as a write-in candidate, not only in the U.S. Senate race, but for several others. The county auditor/treasurer ruled that the vote should not be counted because it's considered an overvote. Representatives for Franken challenged that decision. (MPR Photo/Tom Robertson)




Ballot #6: The Checkmark

This Olmsted County voter placed a checkmark next to Al Franken's name and also circled one of the guide marks for the optical scanner. The Coleman campaign challenged the voter's intent. (MPR Photo/Sea Stachura)




Ballot #7: The Oops

This Olmsted County ballot has marks in both Coleman's and Franken's bubbles. Both campaigns challenged this ballot. (MPR Photo/Sea Stachura)




Ballot #8: The Dot

The Coleman campaign challenged this ballot, arguing the voter didn't intend to vote for Franken, because of the small dot inside the bubble next to Dean Barkley’s name. (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)




Ballot #9: The Eraser

The Franken campaign challenged this ballot. Even though the voter filled in the bubble next to Barkley's name, a Franken representative said what appear to be eraser marks over Franken's bubble indicated the voter intended to vote for Franken. (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)




Ballot #10: The Confusion

The Coleman campaign kept this ballot from going into the 'Other' pile. They argued that while the voter filled in the bubble next to Dean Barkley, the voter had intended to vote for Coleman because of the small dot inside Coleman's bubble. (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)




Ballot #11: The Underline

The Franken campaign challenged this ballot, arguing the voter intended to vote for Franken. "He was underlining Al," said Franken volunteer Jeff Lange, who made the challenge. (MPR Photo/Curtis Gilbert)




More on the Senate recount:

Discuss these ballots on News Cut

Vote on more ballots: Round One

View all of the challenged ballots as they become available

FAQ about the Senate recount

Video: Recount Day 1