Slashdot reports on Computerized Election Results With No Election:
“In Honduras, according to breaking Catalan newspaper reports (translations available, USA Today mention), authorities have seized 45 computers containing certified election results for a constitutional election that never happened. The election had been scheduled for June 28, but on that day the president, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted. The 'certified' and detailed electronic records of the non-existent election show Zelaya's side having won overwhelmingly.”
Which is indeed interesting.
And one of the tags the editors put on the story is …. “Florida2000”.
Former Senator Norman Coleman's appeal of a court decision rejecting various challenges to Al Franken's Senate victory has failed on all counts. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously per curiam for Franken on every issue.
The decision does not actually order the Governor to certify the election, it just affirms the lower court decision. (The Governor not being a party to the case, it's not clear to me that the court could have issued such an order procedurally.) In the ordinary course that should suffice — the Governor's duty is now clear.
Update: the key language is this: “For all of the foregoing reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court that Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minn. Stat. § 204C.40 (2008) to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota.” That doesn't leave the Governor much wiggle room unless Coleman starts trying to get a federal injunction. Which ether won't be forthcoming or will be really, really brief.
The possibilities for obstruction now are either that the Governor will not certify the result (uncertain, but he's suggested in the past he'd do what the state Supreme Court ordered), and an attempt to take the case to the US Supreme Court. I don't think the Supreme Court will touch this one, but I suppose the cert petition might buy Coleman a little more time. He certainly has no shortage of funds from GOP groups trying to prevent the seating of the 60th Democratic Senator.
(Not that I place great hopes on a 60-strong Democratic contingent. There are still too many who won't vote to break filibusters.)
Yale Prof. Akhil Amar will be giving a webcasted lecture on “Bush, Gore, Florida and the Constitution” at 10:00am today, sponsored by UF Law.
Florida has a serious gerrymandering problem. We're the classic 50/50 state politically (remember the 2000 election?) but the state legislature in particular and also the state congressional districts are drawn with a heavy partisan bias. The results are sometimes quite striking.
The people at FairDistrictsFlorida.org are trying to do something about it. Trying to legislate neutral principles for districting is a Very Hard Problem, and I haven't yet taken the time to figure out what I think of this proposed solution to it, but I agree it's a major issue and admire the energy and commitment Fair Districts Florida is bringing to the problem.
Via Digby, a pointer to CAF's The Rogues In Robes which contains this arresting graphic:
Yes, it's all the fault of those liberal judges!
(And just imagine how monotone this will become if McCain is elected!)
There were a lot of celebratory articles today about how the voting machines worked OK on Tuesday. (E.g. AP’s Voting System Worked, With Some Hiccups.)
Not so fast. Looks like another Florida voting machine meltdown. Yes, all the elements are there. Enough missing votes to determine the outcome of a Congressional election. Florida election officials in a state of denial. Next up, the lawsuit(s).
(See also Flablog for the cynical summary.)
Three blog posts to read if you like to think ahead:
Election law blog, Will the Senate be within the margin of litigation?.
Steven F. Huefner, Ohio State, Post-Election Disputes in Virginias US Senate Race
Spencer Overton, blackprof.com, Bush v. Gore II?: Virginia Election Irregularities and Recount Procedures
At present, all the news I’ve heard of dirty tactics, voter suppression, and malfunctioning ballot machines each worked against Webb. I haven’t heard of any counterbalancing facts that would support an Allen challenge — but there could be some; much may depend on what exactly happened in the last precincts outstanding, and with absentee and provisional ballots.
What the facts are matters, and until we know them it’s premature to blame Allen (or anyone else) for failing to concede.
That said, personally I would rate the chances of an Allen concession very very low whatever the facts turn out to be: graciousness is not his style. He has easy access to the money needed to fund a challenge, and he has nothing to lose — what other future has Allen got after this debacle? Plus, if the Virginia race really becomes the fulcrum on which the entire Senate is balanced, you can be sure that the national Republican party will pull out all the stops to win in the courts. Even if Allen wanted to concede, the White House would pressure him to fight on.
Update: Here’s an interesting, somewhat contrary, perspective via Talking Points Memo:
The Republicans have backed themselves into a corner in Virginia. If you’re going to go to the mat with dirty tricks and voter suppression, your counting on staying under the rader and that once the election is over, folks will move on. If Allen contests the results of the election it changes the election from a single day event into a 3 or 4 week event, plenty of time to chase down those callerid numbers and phone bank contractors. Virginia isn’t Ohio. It doesn’t have Ken Blackwell to cover up the GOP shenanigans, and the state has already requested the FBI to look into them. The Allen campaign is going to have to make the choice of whether contesting the results is worth the chance of exposing criminal activity. Let’s hope they choose to contest. It’s our best hope of fully exposing the shenanigans of the GOP to the light of day and getting the mechanisms in place to prevent their use in the next election cycle.