12/22/2008

New Op-ed piece at Fox News: The Minnesota Recount Bias

My previous pieces on the Minnesota Recount can be found here, here, and here. The new piece at Fox News starts this way (note some additional links are included here):

The Canvassing Board overseeing the vote recount for Minnesota’s tightly contested US Senate race isn’t quite done examining disputed ballots, but the board issued a projection Saturday night that Al Franken would pick up 270 votes when it finished examining the ballots. Currently the board is determining voter intent in disputed ballots. If the project proves correct, Franken will beat incumbent Senator Norm Coleman by 78 votes.

Vote totals have changed a lot since November 4th when Coleman lead Franken by 725 votes. Correcting typos cut Coleman’s margin to 215, and a recount by all the counties reduced it further to 192. Yet, the additional 270 votes picked up by Franken from the Canvassing Board’s decisions have been among the most controversial.

The vote pickup has occurred through two actions by the board – divining voter intent and determining what votes should be counted. While decisions to include missing or overlooked ballots has gotten the most attention, the process of determining intent has also been important in determining the outcome here.

The Canvassing Board faces a difficult task in divining voter intentions. It is very difficult to determine how a voter meant to vote simply by looking at what might be stray marks on the ballot. And whatever rules are adopted must be consistently used in evaluating all ballots. . . .

Note: There was a mistake in one ballot that I discussed in the original piece. The Star Tribune made a mistake on the ballot shown below and discussed in this link here (corrected the day after I fixed it). All the rest of the discussion is fine. I am not going to be publishing any comments that just repeat this point without them indicating that they have already read this note. For a response to some of those who have been attacking the piece, please see this.


The piece was mentioned on the Drudge Report.

My piece is the most read on the Fox News website:

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108 Comments:

Blogger Arthgallo said...

Where is the RNC? Why are they allowing this farce to continue? Voting is a sacred right and it is being smeared by dishonest "divining". Are there really no republican lawyers?????

12/22/2008 1:40 PM  
Blogger Greg M said...

Just keep recounting Dems, it will finally come out to be in your favor. If this recount doesn't fit your agenda, change the rules.

You guys are really getting good at stealing elections in the spirit of assuming you deserve the positions you're running for.

This is disgusting to watch. Franken is a failed radio show host, a failed comedian and is not now nor ever will be anything but a be a failed politician.

12/22/2008 1:47 PM  
Blogger The Hawleys said...

Whatever happened to "following directions"? Has no one realized yet that the more "exceptions" that are made, the more likely people will continue to "not follow directions," further complicating the entire process until it essentially boils down to who the vote counters want to win?? Why bother say that you have to get a clean form when they don't *really* mean it? Why bother do anything at all?! Just let people mark on the forms however they want. I mean, after all, there is absolutely no requirement for responsibility or accountability to be a "self-governing" people, is there? Oh, wait a minute...

(sigh!)

Just think how easy it would be to count votes if you only counted the ones that actually voted properly. Wow, what a breath of fresh air that would be.

12/22/2008 3:00 PM  
Blogger RebeLeader said...

I'd like to think there will be be justice in this but I honestly have lost faith in the system. The liberals have no shame, no morality; they simply are enemies of our nation.

12/22/2008 3:04 PM  
Blogger Kaarg said...

Agreed with Arthgallo... time to start the lawsuit. This is clearly fraud on the part of the dems. Can't anyone up there jump in and stop this insanity?

12/22/2008 3:37 PM  
Blogger Dora Mohney said...

I can't believe the people of Minnesota are so dumb they cannot even fill in an oval.....oh, wait....the people of Florida couldn't punch a hole either! It boggles the mind that people that uninformed are even allowed to vote! If you want Al Franken...you can have him!

12/22/2008 3:51 PM  
Blogger life of illusion said...

Its great that you and FOX are not letting this be swept under the rug, but where is the rest of the media?
Why is selling a senate seat newsworthy, but stealing one is not worth a mention, except to report Franken leads in the recount?
To me, the bias of the media is a much bigger problem than the blatant corruption shown here. The liberal media has now assumed the role of choosing who we elect, and what we feel are issues by what and how they report.

12/22/2008 4:04 PM  
Blogger troop said...

Usually, by the time you are 18, You have taken 1,000s of tests in school where you are given a bubble sheet and told to fill in the circle that corresponds with your answer. Being reminded over and over again to fill in the circle completely, not going outside of the circle and/or leaving stray marks on your answer sheet. Who are these idiots that still cannot fill in a simple bubble sheet. Not to forget, who are these idiots that claim it is a right to vote and furthermore it is our right to interpret who they intended to vote for. If there is any question, toss it out. Better start educating these voters for the next election.

12/22/2008 4:09 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

You know, this would be a lot less disgusting in my eyes if it were anyone but Franken! Of course, I would hope that anyone but Franken would have enough respect for our election process to realize that they lost the election. What a horrible, disgusting, ignorant, and greedy piece of human garbage!!!

12/22/2008 4:13 PM  
Blogger ZippySkippy said...

Can we give MN to Canada? It would improve the average IQ in the US.

12/22/2008 4:40 PM  
OpenID organicpeas said...

Taking into account what happened to Woody Jenkins in Louisiana a number of years back -- and how Landreiu was allowed to steal that election -- it's unlikely justice will prevail in Minnesota.

12/22/2008 4:52 PM  
Blogger quickledo said...

....just another election decided by the most ignorant of us -- the ones who couldn't fill out the ballot correctly!

12/22/2008 4:55 PM  
Blogger in2wishing said...

You have to look at the entire ballot. For example the one with the Xs, the board tried to see if the X was on top or beneath the filled in portion. If it is on top of the filled in oval, they ruled it was an undervote. If it was underneath the filled in oral, it counted for that candidate. That is the standard they used.

Also, the board looked at the entire ballot. So things with xs and filled in ovals had to be compared with the rest of the ballot. On the ballot which Coleman lost a vote, the rest of the ballot had both Xs and filled in ovals. The board probably decided it could not tell which voter's intent and threw out the ballot. This is all preemptive complaining because Coleman is losing.

12/22/2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger Gabe said...

This is both frustrating and infuriating! How can this continue? The Democrats are stealing this election! Can't someone stop them! HELP!!!!

12/22/2008 5:08 PM  
Blogger KarenF said...

This is such a blatant attempt at voter fraud and it is so obviously biased towards Franken. I agree, where the heck is the RNC and why are they not stepping in and protesting this blatant sham?

12/22/2008 5:11 PM  
Blogger PKAY said...

This recount fiasco is a joke, a farce, and a fraud perpetrated by the liberal left not only on the people of Minnesota but the system itself! Fill in the oval of choice as directed OR YOUR FREAKING VOTE DOESN'T COUNT!

12/22/2008 5:13 PM  
Blogger Laura & Adam said...

If people can't figure out how to follow instructions, let the votes be thrown out. Can we not have a standard for filling out paperwork? Here's one for you, lets get a "No Voter Left Behind" campaign to educate those who have trouble staying inside the lines.

12/22/2008 5:13 PM  
Blogger Slavtrader said...

So what's new? Maybe Franken will do dinner with the Democratic governor of Washington since they both stole Christmas from the other candidate. It sure seems appropriate that the great state of Minnesota would elect a comedian to represent them. What a farce Minnesota politics represent! But then again, what's new here? This is the same part of the country that sells Senate seats and legitimizes the candidacy of Presidential nominees that were likely born overseas to foreign parents.

The political shams that we are now witness to on an ever-more-frequent basis make me sick. Elect whoever you want America. The rule of law went out the window sometime shortly after Watergate when those of us that still believed in the good of America's citizenry went to bat to make sure that justice prevailed.

These are not my elected officials any more. Government offices including that of the highest office in the land are being stolen; everyone knows it and yet no one seems to care. My response: I'll do as I darn well please from here on out. The folks setting the rules haven't convinced me that they represent the majority voice of the people. It's quickly becoming everyone for himself. Long live anarchy. Merry Christmas Al Franken...maybe now your atheist butt will have a reason to give God thanks during this magical time of year!!!

12/22/2008 5:15 PM  
Blogger dave said...

great write-up john!

12/22/2008 5:21 PM  
Blogger Monty said...

Ah yes, the unmitigated morons in Minnesota, the state that gave us the WWE Gubernatorial victory, now gives us fraud on parade!

Do you idiots know that the rest of the country can SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING? Simply because you have frozen your friggin minds beyond the capability to actually form a cognitive brain wave, does not mean that the rest of us are in the same addled boat.

You people are the laughingstock of the country. Go ahead, declare victory, declare that idiot your Senator, you have won nothing but the laughter and pity of the rest of the country.

Hey, you idiots ever consider becoming part of Canada?

Please?

12/22/2008 5:21 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

We here in Washington state are very familiar with the strategy of the demoncrats. Four years ago Dino Rosi won the election for govenor, but after counting a third time, Christine Gregoire finally came up with enough votes from closets, cars, dead people, etc. to pull ahead and win. Unfortunately, our supposed "democracy" is dead and we just don't realize it fully yet. Vive La Repulic!"

12/22/2008 5:22 PM  
Blogger Bill P said...

Why do we continue to try to guess what people want. These types of ballots have been around for a long time - instructions are given. I guess if you push and pull votes long enough you can get the results you want. They must have taken lessons from the State of Washington's governor's race. Recount until you get the result you want, then demand no more recounts.

12/22/2008 5:32 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear in2wishing:

Thank you very much, but you should read the piece. I make that point: "There is a claimed exception to this rule: if all the votes for each candidate that a voter supports are simultaneously marked by both filling in the oval and an “X,” voters are assumed to support those candidates." The point is that doesn't explain the examples that I provide, and if you looked at the examples that I provide you will see that.

12/22/2008 5:32 PM  
Blogger Owl Creek Observer said...

Dems have never recovered from Gore's failure to steal the presidential election eight years ago.

12/22/2008 5:38 PM  
Blogger dixieedd said...

don't know about you folks out on the west coast or the ones in the northeast,but we can smell this stench coming out of minnesota way down here in the southland! seems like the dems up there are taking a page out of the russian,iranian,and venezuelan political playbooks!

12/22/2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger It's Dreaming Outside said...

This recount is so aggrevating. As a Minnesota resident, Norm Coleman was the only vote on the entire ballot where I had confidence I wasn't choosing the lesser of two evils but the best choice. It makes my sick to think that someone else could take my rights away just by deciding I didn't know what I wanted-and I didn't even make one of these mistakes....

12/22/2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

A few years ago, I conducted a recount in an aldermanic race here in Davenport Iowa. Not one of the ballots looked as stupid as the Minnesota ballots. We detected a total of 6 errors that appeared to be machine errors (i.e. two ballots stuck together) split evenly between the candidates. We use the same ballots as Minnesota, and as far as I know our voters aren't any brighter than Minnesota voters, but every one of them at least hit the oval. We are drinking the same river water but they need some new filters up there. That goes for the Canvassing Board as well.

Judith Malone
Davenport, Iowa

12/22/2008 5:49 PM  
Blogger klogan said...

This is a complete farce. The people responsible for deciding and making these decisions need to be investigated and replaced. I am a democrat ( not from Minnesota ) and voted Democrat this year but this is clearly biased decisions going against Coleman. I hope Coleman wins.

12/22/2008 6:02 PM  
Blogger B Brueggen said...

Do the DFLer's think the public doesn't see what's going as they rob MN's polls of ballot parts? Those loons are digging up chads, squiggles, intents, etc. that aren't even there as they create their monster. If the good people of MN don't rise up and stop their political madness it won't be long before "Franken-stein" is unleashed on the people of that state (best hope is he'll have the mind of a Stewart Smalley). I'm just glad that five months back I moved my family to safety out of that political horror story of a state.

12/22/2008 6:04 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Why hasn't the entire elections board in Minnesota been fired?

12/22/2008 6:10 PM  
Blogger Jack K said...

Where is the outrage and media coverage? The democrats are stealing this election by using "Calvin ball" tactics; making up the rules as they go along! This proves what I already know - that the democrats feel that the ends justify the means - even if it means lying and cheating. If they get away with it, I will have lost all faith in the democratic system in this country.

12/22/2008 6:11 PM  
Blogger Louis said...

Just throw out any questionable ballots. Simple & fair to all.....Maybe too simple

12/22/2008 6:18 PM  
Blogger Jeff Young said...

Why is the FBI not investigating this? Any reasonable person can look at this and see that fraud is being committed. Where is the Republican Party? Have they just decided to call it quits after the election? No wonder the party is losing support, they are worthless!

12/22/2008 6:26 PM  
Blogger disgusted said...

The Canvassing Board shouldn't be allowed to see the political race or candidate of the mark they are evaluating. If they can't do it then a grand jury should, by the same rules.

12/22/2008 6:32 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Would someone who supports Franken please explain to me how a filled-in oval for Coleman clearly within the lines was counted for Franken? Actually, I'd like to know how YOU feel and what YOU think about it? Can you honestly accept this as truth?

12/22/2008 6:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

This is a complete scam. The RNC better get their act together. Clearly the Republican sit of Norm Coleman is being stolen and nobody is doing anything about. It is no wonder why Americans don’t trust the government or any of its leaders. The DNC is a bunch of criminals who will do whatever it takes to implement their unpopular and immoral political agenda throughout our great country. Americans need to wake the “F” up and learn what our government is about and who the “F” they are voting for!!!

12/22/2008 6:46 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

The voter counters in Minnesota must be amateurs, Illinois Democrats didn't get caught near as bad when they stole the election here.
You know I'm starting to think it's almost time to start a revolution. Sure am glad I got my guns; maybe someday since my government doesn't care about justice anymore, I might be able to make a difference. Someday soon

12/22/2008 6:50 PM  
Blogger Bryant said...

Forget Dem or Repub . . . this BS goes on for both sides. We sit here and tout "America" and we can't even run a damned election. If this were going Coleman's way, the Dems would be screaming. It's not so the Repubs are screaming.

Well scream on you two groups of partisans You are like the crew of a huge ship sinking in the ocean as you stand there bitching at one another.

12/22/2008 6:54 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I wouldn't trust the election officials in that state to do anything without a lot of oversite.

12/22/2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger Get The said...

See the truth here:
http://www.minnpost.com/braublog/2008/12/19/5441/recount_how_lott_misleads

But truth seems to be a casualty at "Faux News".

12/22/2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger Minnesota Mom said...

We have 7 young children. 2 of our older sons are proudly serving our country in the US Army.
We have been dismayed at the liberal STENCH that poisons our minds and hearts here in MN. We are moving OUT of this state and it is a direct result of all the disgusting political/sociological crap we are being forcefed. I sacrificed an entire week to volunteer as a recount monitor...for what?!!

12/22/2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

This is a complete scam. The RNC better get their act together. Clearly the Republican sit of Norm Coleman is being stolen and nobody is doing anything about. It is no wonder why Americans don’t trust the government or any of its leaders. The DNC is a bunch of criminals who will do whatever it takes to implement their unpopular and immoral political agenda throughout our great country. Americans need to wake the “F” up and learn what our government is about and who the “F” they are voting for!!!

12/22/2008 7:09 PM  
Blogger InvestmentTude said...

It's no wonder this election is a joke. It's scary to think Franken would seriously have been considered in the first place. What do the people there want - an entertaining conference when he speaks?

What a joke and seriously, these things are so blatant that if they allow this to happen, people may start to figure their vote doesn't count anyway so why bother.

Minnesota - you are a joke!

12/22/2008 7:10 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

Is this America? Minnesotan's should be disgraced and/or outraged!! How pathetic! This is exactly why there are rules ... or is this exactly why there shouldn't be any rules at all?!

12/22/2008 7:19 PM  
Blogger Ralph McGehee said...

Well, I'm not suprised. Just democrats stealing another election. Really, just look at those ballots. Is there any question?

12/22/2008 7:26 PM  
Blogger zeke23 said...

The people on the side of right need to stop this political guerrilla warfare. The Republicans remind me of how the British lost the War of 1812: They marched into trap after trap and were were picked off from behind trees rocks, and hills by the outnumbered American Army.
The Republicans need to change tactics and fight a little more dirty and aggressively, or they will NEVER survive. They are being made to look like fools in Minnesota.

12/22/2008 7:28 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

People should really not lose site of the forest for the trees---any election involving 3 million votes should not be decided by a few hundred, especially when those are all ambiguous. the truth is, this entire recount process is well into the "noise", and one may as well do a coin flip. The rational thing to do would be to have a run-off election, then the will of the people would really be made clear.

12/22/2008 7:38 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Every supposed fact in your piece has been decisively contradicted. There were no ballots in anyone's trunk (according to Governor Pawlenty and the Coleman Campaign). Your accounting of the ballots is comple4tely inaccurate. Most of the ones you say went to Franken went to no one/other and most of the ones you say should have gone to Coleman were excluded because of identifying marks such as signatures on the ballots.

It is clear that the republican plan is to discredit this process- the Coleman campaign has been doing this since before it started- in order to extend their fight into the courts.

Does no one on the right care that Coleman is not worth the effort. The man has no ethics, no spine and no ideal he won't compromise (short of holding office).

Let it go and beat Franken in six years.

12/22/2008 7:38 PM  
Blogger Hunter said...

Well, I hate to burst the bubble of all the indignant right-wing wackos here, but this single vote which Lott has created a whole brouhaha for was actually tallied for... NORM COLEMAN. That's right. Why isn't the RNC getting involved, Arthgallo? Why, Jeff Young, is the FBI not investigating this? Because there's nothing to investigate. It's a non-issue. It's Coleman's vote. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune made a typo and awarded the vote to Franken in its UNOFFICIAL tally. But the Canvassing Board awarded the vote to Coleman after Franken withdrew his challenge (see Nate Silver's writeup at fivethirtyeight.com) Sorry, boys. There is no liberal conspiracy. Of course, don't tell that to "Fox News."

12/22/2008 7:43 PM  
Blogger RepublicanObamacan said...

Hey, America-ruining Fox News acoloytes who have been wrong about everything for 8 years running = this story is wrong and 538.com proves it. Go check it out if you want some actual journalism on this and not just propoganda aimed at making rightwingers feel victimized. Yes, you people messed things up so bad that a black liberal with a terrorist name won in a landslide and now a comedian who's claim to fame is goofing on FoxNews is about to be elected too. Merry Xmas morons! Everything you believe is wrong!

12/22/2008 7:45 PM  
Blogger yurt said...

I remember the lesson in my 7th grade social studies class back in 1964 where the teacher was explaining that if the X did not cross within the box, the vote was invalid- no other interpretation! How times have changed. I truly fear for our future. I also have to rethink plans to retire to the state of MN. I question their sanity up there to even think about voting in someone as foul as Franken.

12/22/2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger Smartend said...

Dems here in Minnesota definitely carry a neanderthal level of mental capability at times - actually most of the time. Our exemplary level of welfare benefits don't exactly attract space shuttle engineers to this state. Need to keep the knucklehead gene pool strong I guess. Any question why they would elect Franken? Not even a hint of doubt in my mind.

12/22/2008 7:59 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

If you check the X'd out Franken votes against the official Secretary of State's spreadsheet, you'll find that every single one is withdrawn by the Coleman campaign. This isn't about the corruption of the Minnesota elections, it's about the deficiency of Norm Coleman's lawyers

12/22/2008 8:01 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Now that I've finally become my father (which when younger I never thought possible) I find myself experiencing all the rage that a good Republican should. That rage has slowly turned to sadness. It truly breaks my heart to think that it is my generation that quite possibly could be the downfall of our great nation. I can't imagine how anyone could possibly find satisfaction in winning an election in such a disgraceful show of ignorance and shame. The people of Minnesota had better be careful what they wish for, they just might get it! Those same Dems that are doing the wishing are going to be praying for Norm Coleman in a year from now!!

12/22/2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger robert said...

"Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything"

Josef Stalin

12/22/2008 8:09 PM  
Blogger Antonia said...

Speaking as a Minnesotan, I have no trouble what-so-ever filling in oval on ballots. But this was not my first time voting, and English is my first language. The lack of education and cultural equalities in this society are no small culprit in this fiasco.
The fascist right can piss and moan all they want about the recount process. Go ahead.
When the more conservatives were in this exact situation eight years ago in Florida, complaining was all that we could do.
Is there some inconsistencies in this process?
Probably.
So what. It's the liberals turn. Deal.

12/22/2008 8:09 PM  
Blogger greg said...

This is a typical opinion piece by Fox News that is passed off as actual news. Give it up Fox News! When will the Lott Brothers analyze the bias of Fox News? Answer-it will never happen!

12/22/2008 8:26 PM  
Blogger VirginiaJeff said...

I looked at Lott's examples on the Star Tribune's web site. And I venture there are less nefarious explanations for these examples of supposed bias (or insanity) on the part of the canvassing board. For example, did the newspaper's typist put an "x" (designating to whom the board awarded the vote) in the wrong spot? Perhaps Lott, being a professional, has already taken the time to at least contact the newspaper to verify the accuracy of his interpretation of their graphics.

Lott?

12/22/2008 8:35 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Why does it say "democratic-farmer-labor after Franken's name? Why not just "democrat"? Anytime I have voted my choices have been "republican,democrat or independent". This vote counting stinks of political bias. Here we go..Florida all over again. If a voter follows the voting instructions then there should be no interpretation on ballots that aren't marked properly. Those should be thrown out. No one should be interpreting voter intent. They should simply count the votes and discard the ones improperly marked.

12/22/2008 8:40 PM  
Blogger BeckyL said...

What has happened to our country? I never thought I would see this happen in my lifetime, our rights and freedom are being stolen by liberal dictatorship. This is so sad, why isn't someone stopping this?

12/22/2008 8:42 PM  
Blogger A Conservative Out of His Element said...

Kind of reminds me of the 2004 Washington state gubernatorial race where the Dems recounted until it came out there way. Oh, and the Florida and Michigan primaries this year. Oh, and Florida 2000. Wait, does this seem like a trend to anyone else? If you don't like the rules, change them in the name of "enfranchising voters."

Democrats have no shame.

12/22/2008 8:42 PM  
Blogger Bruce H said...

This Vote recount scam in Minnesota is appalling to say the least, it makes me sick and very let down a a voting citizen of this country. I believe that citizens of Minnesota need to stay out of the bars a few days prior to voting, because evidently they are under the influence of something to even consider put such a loser in office as Franken. I have no desire to go visit Minnesota if there are that many ignorant people in the state.

12/22/2008 8:49 PM  
Blogger blurb said...

Wow! Ridiculous!!! Send those ballots to Florida where they can be properly re-counted. Those Floridians know how to count and re-count until they get the right results. They would put an end to all the bickering.

12/22/2008 8:53 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

We are now a third world country where the people have their votes "interpreted" for correctness.
Time for a revolution!

12/22/2008 8:57 PM  
Blogger glentall said...

What a complete travesty of justice!!!!! Rules are rules and are meant to be followed. Except, of course, if you are a swindling liberal democrat!!!! Then, you just either disregard or change the rules to suit your desires. After all, rules are just "living things" that are meant to be allowed to change at the whims of the liberal poop heads!!! (I couldn't use the word I wanted to)

12/22/2008 9:00 PM  
Blogger IllinoisRed said...

Thanks for summarizing the voter fraud--I've been following this since the recount started, but your piece provides a great overview. Forget Minnesota fixing this mess--if the US Senate has any shred of integrity left they will refuse to seat Franken, just like they threatened not to seat whoever Blago finds to buy the Illinois seat. They do have that power, but sadly, probably lack the cajones to do the right thing.

12/22/2008 9:08 PM  
Blogger Darrel said...

SCUM! You would be right at home in Soviet Russia you DemocRATS in MN. Shame on you....

"Those who stand for anything, stand for nothing."
-Martin Luther King

12/22/2008 9:09 PM  
Blogger betsy said...

Well, so much for America, so much for freedom. I'm pretty sure the US won't be around long enough for the democrat party to make us socialists or communists.

1) Hundreds of billions of dollars vaporizing into products that will never sell, reminds me of the USSR with all their storage of their junk.

2) Take the money from the people, pass it on to companies that won't sell, and then it vaporizes.

We'll fall faster than the USSR under this one.

12/22/2008 9:22 PM  
Blogger Phillip said...

This is a sad joke. Franken is stealing the election. HE is slime, he lost and since he is not a man he cried and cried and cheated and cheated and is CLEARLY STEALING VOTES now.

If it has a oval and a X filled in one oval its for the person who's name is beside it, this is logic so easy to understand that a chimp could probably understand it. But no, the Democrats will steal in the eyes of the media who will claim in all there wisdom that any vote not cast for Franken is wrong.

This is a sad joke, why not just have a re vote. Oh that's right that joke of a human being Franken WOULD STILL LOSE. But no, this is America fanken cried like a little girl and now the election will be given to him as he cried because he lost fair and square. You know in GA, we had a re vote, and the DEM STILL LOST. Funny thing, voters actually got to decide it, not a board of dishonest people.

Course i realize its Minnesota, and frankly it's a joke sate. Seriously, FRANKEN LOST, get over it and STOP THIS COMMUNISM MADNESS, FRANKEN LOST. When you steal votes it's CALLED VOTER FRAUD.

12/22/2008 9:53 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

In the immortal words of Goldfinger, "Once is Happenstance. Twice is Coincidence. The third time it's Enemy action".

Supporters of the "recount" have yet to explain the steady accumulation of votes to Franken. If ballot errors are relatively evenly distributed the outcome we are observing would be statistically impossible. It is the "heads, I win, tails, you lose" aspect of the recount that has people upset. After a while, even the most credulous realize that what they are witnessing is fraud, pure and simple. We may be "right-wingers", but that doesn't mean we are blind or stupid.

12/22/2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger stoatmaster said...

Having watched many hours of the recount online (and caring very little about the final outcome), I can say that John Lott is full of it. There are many real conspiracies, but this isn't one of them. The canvassing board's individual ballot decisions have been transparent, fair, and consistent and an impressive testament to our democracy. I second Get The's link: http://www.minnpost.com/braublog/2008/12/19/5441/recount_how_lott_misleads. It's frustrating to see this kind of garbage from a fellow "research scientist." Lott, I really hope, for your students sake, you can do better than this.

12/22/2008 10:06 PM  
Blogger idahogie said...

I listened to most of the Canvassing Board's proceedings while at work. They were fair and straightforward in their approach. They were consistent. Lott is not being honest. For example, in the matter of the Xs over filled-in ovals, it mattered which mark was made first. If they could tell that the X was made after the oval was filled in, they counted it as a correction. Lot doesn't mention that. He is deceiving you.

12/22/2008 10:21 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear idahogie:

I provide specific examples of how these Xs are counted for Coleman and Franken votes. Please be specific and explain why what I have written is incorrect. Thank you.

12/22/2008 10:23 PM  
Blogger Zen Warrior said...

Remember Florida 2000? Shut up and stop your whining. And careful what you wish for.

12/22/2008 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Lott you are a vile slug not worth stepping on. How can you claim to be a reporter? Don't they teach you not to lie or is all part of the right wing school of reporting!

12/22/2008 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anglo said...

Obama will take care of Fox and the right wing nuts. Media ownership rule changes and the fairness doctrine will clean up the right wing control of the media. People like Lott won't be able to do reporting once the media gets away from such nazi extremests.

12/22/2008 10:39 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Brian at 12/22/2008 10:36 PM:

This is an opinion piece. Just look at the top of the page in is on for the Fox News Web site.

12/22/2008 10:41 PM  
Blogger stoatmaster said...

I'll do my bit to clear up some of the issues. On Lott's page of Franken ballots that have X's over the ovals but are counted for Franken (http://johnrlott.tripod.com/other/FrankensXs.html), I can explain most of them.
Of the 8 example ballots you show, #1, #4, #6, #7, #8 all are counted for Franken for the same reason - the vote for president also has an X through the oval (2 of those were votes for McCain, 3 for Obama). When looking at ballots of that kind, the board decided that the voter started out with Xs before figuring out that filling in the oval was right (president and senate were the first two races on the ballot). This seems a reasonable decision and was consistently applied - the board often used the whole ballot as context to judge intent. For ballot #3, the challenge was not for the X but for "markings" and had to do with whether or not the ballot was "signed." It wasn't. All the names present were as write-in candidates, and that's allowed. Ballot #5 looks like the X is under the filled in oval, which the board allowed. I can't tell about ballot #2, but that might have been the case there as well. Overall, of the 8 ballots displayed by Lott, only #2 might (and I say might) be at all sketchy. Perhaps more later...

12/22/2008 10:43 PM  
Blogger OBSERVATIONS FROM DENNY AVENUE said...

Any opinion piece, written by someone with "Ph.D." tacked on the end of his name, discredits itself when it repeats the false and long-discredited (even by Coleman's attorney) canard of
"discovered ballots in an election judge’s car." I realize this piece was written for Fox, but there is a very good reason your opinions have not seen the light of day in any legitimate media.

12/22/2008 10:52 PM  
Blogger stoatmaster said...

Following up on a previous comment, let's take a look at Lott's page of Coleman ballots with X's through the ovals:
http://johnrlott.tripod.com/other/ColemansXs.html
There are 7 ballots. The first 5 were not counted for Coleman, while the last 2 were. Of the first 5, #1-4 had an X through Coleman's oval but not the president's. #6-7 had an X through the president's oval and Coleman's oval. So far, this is consistent with the Franken ballots that Lott used as examples. The sketchy one is #5, which has an X over the oval of both the president and senate races. This may be because it was obvious that the X was on top of the oval (it appears to be), but it's hard to tell. Again, though, of all of Lott's examples, only one in the Coleman batch and one in the Franken batch are even potentially inconsistent (and probably aren't at all, given more information).

12/22/2008 10:56 PM  
Blogger smartgranny said...

The democrate party and the farmer labor party
merged several decades ago,
so democrates are listed as
democrate farmer labor party. Not everyone's brain is frozen in MN. But
considering the canvassing
board, what do you expect?
Coleman and the RNC need to
fight this. We need at one
good senator! from MN.

12/22/2008 11:05 PM  
Blogger stoatmaster said...

Ok, now let's look at the 3 ballots Lott presents in which there are 2 different markings in the senate race. These are harder to evaluate, because I don't have a link to the entire ballot. But, I'll give it a try...For the first one, the oval is filled for Coleman and an X is placed for Franken. This ballot apparently went to Franken. I don't know why. However, if the rest of the ballot was marked with Xs, this would be consistent with the board's rulings. The second ballot (with an oval filled in for Coleman and an X for Niemackl) was invalidated because the voter used an X as an apparent real vote mark in another race. Because of this, it was unclear which mark (X or oval) meant a vote to that voter - again, this rule was consistently applied. The third ballot, in which Franken was filled with an oval and Barkley had an oval crossed over with an X was a relatively common type of ballot. If the voter otherwise used a normal filled in oval to mark the vote, this kind of ballot was always awarded to the person marked only with the oval and not with the X'd over oval - again, the board being consistent. So once again, we're left with only one possible sketchy decision, ballot #1, and without the whole ballot to see, it's likely this one wasn't sketchy either.

12/22/2008 11:08 PM  
Blogger abbadox said...

I find it both humorous and sad at the same time that the far left of the democratic party is able to break every law on the books at the same time they are blaming George Bush for everything. The democratic congress has been in power for about 2 years now and they drive the economy and guess what that is about how long the economy has been going down. MN is just the next crime in the long list of liberal so called justice over George Bush.

12/22/2008 11:09 PM  
Blogger F.U.M.Ed said...

I don't understand how this happens?? We are starting to have the voting problems of some third world countries. It should be as simple as You vote, the vote is counted and that is that. But they recount and recount and recount until the party they want to win is finally elected! Some great Democracy!

12/22/2008 11:17 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Why not just hold another election only allowing those people who voted at all in the original election to vote in the re-election? Too costly? At what price is true justice? Or, if you'd like, declare any discrepancy as a 'non-vote' for either candidate. This is just common sense to me but perhaps that is too much too ask for our politicians today.

12/22/2008 11:24 PM  
Blogger George In Florida said...

You know, I was to the point where I might have believed some of what you were saying. Then I read the comment about the "votes left in the judges car." Since everybody who follows the news kows that was not a true story, you lost every bit of credibility with me.

12/22/2008 11:24 PM  
Blogger VirginiaJeff said...

Dear Mr. Lott,

Brian wrote, "Don't they teach you not to lie or is [it] all part of the right wing school of reporting!" To which you responded, "This is an opinion piece."

Surely someone along the way taught you it's never OK to lie. Not even when you want to lend support to an "opinion piece." Now, getting back to my own question (posted earlier) did you do your due diligence and verify that data you claim is so damning?

12/22/2008 11:29 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear VirginiaJeff:

I thought that it was pretty clear that the lying claim was wrong. What I was responding to was the claim by Brian that I was a reporter. I think that this was a good piece, and I am happy to defend it. I don't really have much time right now, but your statement so clearly selectively quoted the wrong part of the discussion so as to create a false impression, I thought that it was necessary to say something.

Dear George In Florida:

It is not a "False" story. The Coleman people claim that the Democrat election judge changed her story about what had happened with the ballots. You have essentially Republicans and Democrats disagreeing about what was said when the ballots were first discovered. But the Coleman people offered to testify under oath and the election judge in question objected to doing so.

12/22/2008 11:38 PM  
Blogger Forest Rathfon said...

Seriously, what is Minnesota's problem!?!? First off, anyone who publishes a book with the phrase "Rush is a Big Fat Idiot" has absolutely no business being part of the senate and further more how can people be so stupid as to be incapable of filling in a bubble. Come on guys we learned to do that in pre-school!! It all makes me absolutely sick.

12/22/2008 11:46 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Disgusting. There was a time when this nation was made up of upstanding people, leaders, and thinkers that wouldn't have tolerated this. I am serving out that last couple of yrs of my military obligation. I wouldn't even consider staying in. This country isn't worth defending any more. Not worth a single drop of blood from a freedom loving person. I could count the number of elected officials I would even eat at the same table with on a single hand. They are the low life's of society now. Degenerates. Nothing more. Unfortunately, the citizens of this country who sit by and do nothing when they senate seats are robbed and sold are no better than the worst in society.

12/23/2008 12:34 AM  
Blogger Brencis said...

I thought Zimababwe - where stealing elections is the national pastime - was a failed African state. I didn't know is was really an American state AKA Minnesota!

How can the USA encourage democracy internationally if you can't even get the very basics right at home. This is a national embarrassment!!

12/23/2008 5:19 AM  
Blogger gamera99 said...

I'm a democrat. I think the recount is a travesty if they are inconsistently applying the rules to favor Franken. Who on earth would want to win by such transparent fraud as this?
The recount process must be immediately stopped, results discarded, recount committe fired, new bipartisan committee formed, rules written, and obeyed. Are we in such a hurry that we don't have time to do it right?

12/23/2008 6:20 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

John Lott has repeatedly lied about how the Canvassing Board, dominated by Republican nominees, allocated disputed votes. Did he get you all riled up? Well, that's what Lott gets paid to do--get people worked up with false data. He did it with gun crime data and now he's doing it with election data. And you, friends, are his target. He thinks you're too stupid to do your own homework and learn about how he lies.

12/23/2008 12:58 PM  
Blogger kingcoley said...

Only 4/100th of 1% of the ballots were challenged. Of those, most were very easy to determine intent by a canvassing board that was approved of by both campaigns before the recount started. The election really is that close and it could easily go either way. Sounds to me that they totally have their stuff together up there in Minnesota. Go Coleman!!

12/23/2008 2:33 PM  
Blogger Watchdog said...

Face the facts-Franken won a fair election. Coleman has now lost to Jesse Venture and Al Franken. Anyway, Coleman is headed to the slammer for his financial dealings.

12/23/2008 2:48 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Wow I can't(well i actually can) believe how many Repugs are posting comments about Dems stealing elections....YOU MUST HAVE THE SHORTEST MEMORIES IN THE WORLD! 2000...DO YOU REMEMBER THAT ELECTION? Ignorance is bliss...just ask any Repuglican. I do agree however to the intelligent people on this site that if there is only one mark then it should go to the person but if there is two marks whether a circle filled in and an X on another spot then it should not go to either candidate. And to people saying that the Dems are changing the rules...open your eyes and look at the SCOTUS and see how they've done it themselves rather than follow the Constitution!

12/23/2008 2:54 PM  
Blogger JTP said...

Y'all been had.

Love it.

12/23/2008 3:00 PM  
Blogger LB said...

Lott admits that one of his most blatant examples of the Canvassing Board's alleged cheating was based on a typo.

Why didn't Lott give the Precinct Name and Challenged Ballot Numbers for ALL examples of alleged cheating by the board??? We could compare them to the publicly accessed Spreadsheet.

Are all you Conservative Crusaders so ethically challenged that you'd rather publish a smear than publish the truth??

12/23/2008 5:12 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear LB:

The links are all here in the piece. Have you tried them?

Dear stoatmaster:

Thanks for your comments. The rule is that if Xs are used consistently for the other races, the votes in the Senate race should be counted. If you look at those ballots, even if some include an X in the presidential race, the vast majority of the races do not have Xs.

12/23/2008 5:23 PM  
Blogger lfgrover said...

The law of Minnesota requires that "voter intent" is to be considered when performing a recount. While voters SHOULD do a better job in casting their ballots, the LAW requires that if a voters intent is clear, then the ballot should be counted. Throwing out votes because we think the voter should have done a better job of filling in ovals is not a legal option. Don't like that? Maybe if you are a MN voter you can persuade your legislators to amend the law to require a different standard. Until then, count ballots in accordance with the laws that are on the books.

12/23/2008 7:38 PM  
OpenID planetthoughts said...

I also agree that if there is only one marked name for a position then it should go to that person but if there are two marks for two different people then it should not go to either candidate, as it may be ambiguous whether the filled in spot or the "x" was the intended vote.

Now, any piece associated with Fox is questionable right off the top. News in Britain, a la Murdoch and Fox News, is openly partisan and each side distorts. Fox News follows that "principle".

Specifically about this election, I would like to read other sources, I really don't know the details and of course the voting should be fair (including not blocking valid voters via intimidation, fraudulently culling voter lists, etc. as done in 2000 and 2004 in Ohio). There is much evidence that the 2000 and 2004 elections were actually stolen, and that murder may also be involved.

Republicans and Democrats need to be careful: without an informed public that access to fair, trusted votes, we can end up like Guatemala or Nigeria. This benefits no one.

12/24/2008 5:33 AM  
Blogger Arioch said...

If you want to see just how misleading this article is then go to 538.com . If you love the taste of the FOX/Republican koolaid then don't visit 538.com

12/24/2008 7:33 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Arioch:

Have you actually read this blog? Have you actually read the piece that 538 is inaccurately commenting on? No, of course, you haven't done either.

This blog has already discussed some of the inaccurate claims from 538 here. Would you at least take the time to read that even if you are unwilling to actually read the piece that 538 is commenting on? Please comment there on why 538 is useful for anything. Even the point about the one ballot was ALREADY pointed out on this vary post that you are commenting on BEFORE 538 even put up his statement. Given that, please tell me what useful information 538 actually provided.

12/24/2008 8:17 AM  
Blogger gasmith said...

When a ballot is filled out wrong, the rule is that a voter gets a new ballot and the mistake ballot is ignored. That should be the governing rule, not some board that "divines" intent. Any ballot that is not filled out properly should not be counted at all. The same for missing ballots. If it can not be determined with certianty if the ballots were counted already or not, they should be thrown out, not rationalized. The canvassing board is making up rules after the fact instead of enforcing the rules in affect during voting. UNACCEPTABLE because it is not possible to divine intent or rationalize with insufficient information.

12/24/2008 9:22 AM  
Blogger Thrombeldinbar said...

With as much difficulty the average american voter seems to have with the standard written ballot, we should probably return to the practice of a loud aye or nay.

All in favor say aye.

12/24/2008 2:03 PM  
Blogger dawsonchuck said...

AYE-NAY!! Let the re-counters figure out what my intent is. lol

12/24/2008 6:41 PM  
Blogger K. D. Johns said...

When will this obvious case of fraud be heard in a court that is not filled with left wing judges intent on committing fraud just like that so called vote counters? Why do the people of Minnesota not call on their Governor or the State's Attorney to ensure that the counting of votes is fair and impartial? It is so obvious a case of fraud, are the papers in Minnesota covering this story at all?

12/25/2008 11:17 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Comment section closed.

12/27/2008 8:52 AM  

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