It looks like the Minnesota Senate race will come down to the gumby vote, or as the Los Angeles Times phrased it, the Minnesota Senate race "comes down to the votes of several dolts. "As the hand recount of the ballots reaches 78 percent counted, Republican Norm Coleman's lead over Democrat Al Franken stands at 210 votes. What will determine the race is the 3000 challenged ballots. Coleman has challenged 1600 ballots and Franken has challenged 1557 as of 4:35 EST on November 25, 2009.
Minnesota uses optical scan ballots. The voter fills in ovals next to the candidate's name to show their preference, not unlike the forms used on the SATs and other standardized tests. The ballot is counted by placing it into an optical scan machine which counts the vote. Sounds simple, however, errors occur. Some voters don't fill in the ovals completely, some mark their preference in another manner (such as a check next to the candidate name), while others mark two ovals. These votes may or may not be read by the optical scan machines. It is important to note that the vast majority 99 plus percent of ballots are filled out correctly, thus the incorrectly filled out ballots usually don't make a difference, unless the race is very close.
Here are a few examples of the challenged ballots.
Certainly these voters have a little trouble following instructions. These are just five of the 3000 plus ballots which have been challenged so far by both sides. Based on the percentages, it appears that there will be about 4000 challenged ballots. These ballots will be reviewed by the state canvassing board on December 16, 2009. . The board is a five-person panel consisting of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, Justice G. Barry Anderson, Ramsey County District Court Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin, and Assistant Chief Judge Edward Cleary; they will make a determination of the voters' intent for ballots where either of the campaign's representatives disagree with the election officials at the county sites. Of the five Canvassing Board members, Ritchie is a member of the Democratic Farm Labor Party (that is the Minnesota Democratic Party), two of the judges were appointed by a Republican governor, one was appointed by former Independent Party Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura, and one was elected in a non-partisan election.
So what this election comes down to is the "Gumby Vote," ---- those voters too stupid to correctly fill out a ballot. Neither party has a monopoly on the Gumby Vote. Each side has it's own percentage of Gumby voters, but we believe one ballot we saw epitomizes the Gumby vote. Here it is: