Checking the Vote-Checking in Minnesota
Minnesota is in the middle of something called a "post-election audit." It is not the Franken/Coleman recount; that starts next week. It is a check of the accuracy of Minnesota's optical scan voting machines, mandated by state law and performed after all statewide elections.
Election officials are hand-counting ballots from selected precincts and comparing the results to the machine-tabulated totals. Sounds like a recount, right? Except it operates on a much smaller scale — in 2006, the post-election audit reviewed ballots from just 5 percent of the state's precincts.
So how is it going so far? The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which has not been friendly to Franken in this election, makes it sound like the post-election audit is slowly eliminating Franken's chances for making up the 206 vote deficit that is keeping him from unseating incumbent Republican Norm Coleman.
Twenty men and women settled in along tables at the Ramsey County elections office first thing Monday morning and began plowing through more than 7,700 ballots cast last Tuesday in the U.S. Senate race.
After nearly three hours of counting, Norm Coleman had lost exactly one net vote in five of the county's precincts. Al Franken had gained exactly one.
But that gives readers an impression that is badly wrong. As Senate Guru points out, this is good news for Franken: