Sunday, September 13, 2009

Overtime_2008Election by Jason Hoppin


Overtime: Chapter 2, Part 1: 'Things are going to get really ugly' in Franken vs Coleman, said elections manager
As an anxious state wondered who its next senator would be, the campaigns armed themselves to the teeth with lawyers and a desire to punch their opponents recount chances 'in the nose."

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The candidates weren't the only ones giving speeches the morning after Election Day.

While Norm Coleman tried to claim victory with a 725-vote lead, an attempt to put a capstone on one of Minnesota's longest and toughest election fights, Al Franken stressed patience. Figuring out who won, he said, could take time.

Joe Mansky, Ramsey County's elections manager, laid out the road ahead.

A veteran of dozens of recounts, Mansky gathered his staff around a table in the back of the county elections office. Adjacent to them was a door, behind which were locked the county's ballots.

"Look, things are going to get really ugly," Mansky began. "But the important thing is not to take it personally. The attorneys are going to be here,


Like most officials in the secretary of state's office on Election Day, Gary Poser stayed at the office until 3 a.m. Poser, the state elections director, had known by then that there would be a recount. Office staffers waited hopefully for late returns from St. Louis County, but the results weren't enough to push the tally outside the 0.5 percent margin that triggers a recount.

Poser went home to Forest Lake and spent the next 2 1/2 hours lying on his bed before heading back to St. Paul. He did not sleep.

There was much work to be done before the recount could begin, but on Nov. 5 the office was optimistic — it had executed a smooth judicial recount following the September primary election.

"Because we had just done a recount, we were all feeling very confident. 'Oh, another recount! No problem!' " Secretary of State Mark Ritchie recalled.

"It didn't dawn on me what was about to happen, you know? It was just, 'OK, we have the procedure, and we do the procedure.' "

The razor-thin Senate margin shocked everyone, almost as if someone flipped a coin and it landed on its edge. Though recounts are usually uneventful, the virtual dead heat and the high stakes of the Senate race would change the rules of the game.

Following Ritchie's 2006 election, the office scrapped predecessor Mary Kiffmeyer's recount plan, which would have moved every ballot to St. Paul and locked them in the National Guard Armory on Cedar Street. The plan would have been expensive — up to $2 million — and the new regime worried that if that many ballots were transported, some would get lost.

It was time to put a new plan into action, but some loose ends lingered. Not all the precincts were in.

The Iron Range city of Buhl counted its election results by hand. Most of the state's 4,192 precincts use computers to transmit results, but in some places the results still have to be phoned in. Buhl was one of those, an arcane trifle in an otherwise excellent election system. The two judges called it a night but forgot something.

"One thought the other one called, and neither one had," said Paul Tynjala, St. Louis County director of elections.

With the balance of power in the Senate at stake, everyone waited for Buhl. The Duluth News Tribune captured the mood in a headline: "While Buhl slept, the nation waited."

In any other election year, the situation in Buhl would hardly have been noticed. But with a margin so close, the small imperfections that plague any election were magnified. It was also a sign of things to come.

Once counted, the heavily Democratic city bolstered Franken by 191 votes. Even as he claimed victory, Coleman's lead was sliding out from under him.


Meanwhile, the campaigns started building their legal teams.

Franken turned to former Minnesota U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug, a onetime Senate candidate himself with strong ties to Minnesota Democrats, and Marc Elias, a Washington, D.C., lawyer with strong ties to the national Democratic Party, including a stint as counsel for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign.

Another partner at Elias' Perkins Coie law firm, Kevin Hamilton, also joined the Franken team. Hamilton had played a key role in a 2004 Washington state gubernatorial recount in which the Democrat — the apparent loser on Election Day — eventually won the race.

Coleman initially turned to another former Minnesota U.S. attorney, Republican Tom Heffelfinger. But Heffelfinger's involvement ended quickly because he was in the middle of writing a report for the city of St. Paul about police tactics during the Republican National Convention. Democratic-Farmer-Labor St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman asked him to relinquish the recount, which he did.

Instead, Norm Coleman hired two veterans of Minnesota politics: Tony Trimble, a working-class kid from northern Minnesota educated at an elite New England boarding school, and Fritz Knaak, a self-described country lawyer from White Bear Township.

Both candidates had prepared for a recount to some degree: Coleman had alerted Trimble to the possibility about a week before Election Day, and Franken's campaign manager had actually drawn up a recount plan. But prior to the election, neither candidate bothered calling the secretary of state's office to discuss just how a recount would be conducted.

They were about to learn.



Thanks Story is a KEEPER Gearin ,Magnuson,Cleary face the Voters 2010
Currently Sharon will Challenge the Canvass Board in the St.Paul Mayoral Race to be held tues 15Sept09 VOTE FRAUD re: 62cv09-1163 Judge John VandeNorth "Order" based on Theft by Swindle of Sharons 91 Chrysler VIN V-1CYGY54R5MX5A

Cleary must be held Accountable to undermine Grand Jury Proceedings re Murder **** Barb Winn re: Aaron Foster who stole Sharons Car Manager o
Police Impound Lot
For Canvass Boards to Count Dead VOTES is Bizzare


Election Fraud in St.Paul is pervase/fatal no wonder no one really want the job You Go Girl Eva.Ng Sharon and Bill will challenge Been there Done that
Sharons 2USC3631Evidentary hearing 62cv09-1163Judge John VandeNorth - 2 visits - Sep 12
... until the Canons of Construction By information and belief Judge John VanDeNorth has shown Bias and Prejudice re: Bill Dahn Bill Dahn: Discrimination v. ... - Cached - Similar -

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