Carver County GOPer loves recycling — at least when it comes to discredited talking points

Earth Day may have been a few days ago, but Carver County Republican Secretary Vince Beaudette shows us his fidelity to Mother Earth in this week’s Chaska Herald by recycling long-since discredited talking points in relation to the 2008 U.S. Senate election between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.  Let’s look at a couple of the gems in Beaudette’s letter:

The Minneapolis director of elections said 32 absentee ballots were found in an election worker’s car a day or two after the election, and all votes happened to go to Al Franken.

This is one of the long-lasting myths of the 2008 election, but it’s just not true.  Here’s a summary of what happened with those 32 ballots gleaned from accounts in MinnPost and the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

  • Minnesota law requires absentee ballots to counted at the precinct place the voter would have normally voted at if they were able to vote in-person on Election Day.
  • Absentee ballots for Minneapolis are returned not to city officials, but county officials.  On Election Night, a batch of overseas ballots came in late, and were only delivered from Hennepin County officials to Minneapolis officials at 7 p.m., one hour before the polls closed.
  • Minneapolis had 13 certified precinct support judges who were responsible for delivering the absentee ballots to the 131 individual precinct locations in the city.
  • Because of the late arrival of this last batch of absentee ballots, 28 ballots were not able to be delivered to the precincts before the polls had closed and the vote-counting process had began.  No additional absentee ballots can be introduced at the precinct once that has happened.
  • Those 28 ballots, as well as four absentee ballots that were erroneously not opened and counted at the precinct level that night were returned to City Hall that evening, where they were securely stored until they could be counted in the presence of a judge and attorneys from both the Franken and Coleman campaigns.  Ballots were never found or stored in cars for days, as Beaudette alleges.
  • Of the 32 votes, 17 went to Franken and 8 to Coleman.  The other seven ballots were for third-party candidates or had no vote for the Senate race at all.

Here’s another classic:

Precincts in Two Harbors and Partridge Township sent Al Franken a net gain of another 350 votes, claiming miscounts, in the days immediately following the election.

Miscounts in elections are actually fairly common.  In 2006, an election won by Amy Klobuchar by a double-digit margin, her vote total changed by over 2,000 votes from the initial canvass to the final results.

Here’s an example of how this occurs, from the Pioneer Press story:

Like many stories that emerged during the recount, the Pine County error became something nefarious through the prism of the campaign and the national media. But it has an innocent explanation, one that the secretary of state’s office spelled out for callers.

Similar to Buhl, Pine County results must be written down, read over the phone and then typed in. Terry Lovgren, a county worker of 23 years, thinks she made the error.

Lovgren’s Election Day was fairly typical — hectic and stressful. She started around 8 a.m. and spent much of the day driving late-arriving absentee ballots to polling places in the farthest reaches of the county.

In the evening, she and Auditor Cathy Clemmer manned a computer, typing in the results from handwritten forms from 47 precincts that were piling up on her desk.

“We just start ripping and entering,” Lovgren said.

In rural Partridge Township, Coleman got 143 votes, edging out Franken’s 129 votes. That’s what the machine tape read at the end of the night and what was written on a ledger that was hand-delivered to the county offices in Pine City.

But that’s not what was typed into the county’s computer and transmitted to the state. Those figures showed Franken with a mere 29 votes.

The numbers sat there until the county canvass the Thursday after the election. Lovgren was taking notes while someone read results.

“Nope, that’s wrong,” someone piped up when Partridge Township was read.

“I felt ill,” Lovgren said. “I was sick that I had made that mistake.”

Nothing nefarious here, just a human mistake that was caught and corrected by the processes in place already.  In a close election, such mistakes are magnified and blown out of proportion by partisans looking to score political points.

The worst part about these consistent attempts by Beaudette (and others) to recycle these stories is that they know by now that these stories are false.  Yet they keep repeating them.

The question is:  why do Beaudette and those of his ilk feel they can’t make the case for voter ID legislation based on the facts?  Why do they have to keep repeating these lies?


16 Responses to “Carver County GOPer loves recycling — at least when it comes to discredited talking points”

  1. The entire pro-voter ID opinion page was full of either lies or people completely failing to understand the law. The number of suggestions that failed to recognize why voting is different from other activities that currently require ID was astonishing. Especially egregious was idea that we have no obligation to provide free ID if the Voter ID amendment passed. It’s actually rather disappointing that the Herald published those letters without comment.

    • Are you saying that the thousands of unmailable postal verification cards each year are not a sign of fraud? And why is the cost associated with providing an ID any different that the cost of the cold medicine ID law? That certainly had a cost as well. And why do the racists at the DFL consider this law a slight on minorities? Why do they assume minorities are less likely to have an ID? Are the whities at the DMV preventing them from getting an ID?

      • Look up the term “poll tax”. Making people pay to vote has been considered unconstitutional for many years.

      • It’s not a “poll tax” to have an ID. It’s generally a good idea to have some form of identification with you at anytime. If you’re injured, or in trouble, or want certain services or goods, would you consider the ID requirement a “sales tax”? Don’t be absurd.

  2. It’s funny that you mention recycled lies. The DFL recycles the lie that there is no fraud on channel 5’s At Issue nearly every week. They claim this is a solution looking for a problem, when there is clear evidence of voter fraud as Maluchnik asserts with felons, as well as my assertion that thousands of same day registration postal verification cards are returned with no such address every year. 6000+ in the year of Franken vs. Coleman. (I’ve actually heard much higher than that, altough I can only verify the 6K+ in that year.) It’s pretty much a done deal. The state overwhelming wants this modification to our voting process. I makes perfect sense to provide verification of who you are when you vote, and this common sense change resonates with voters across all spectrums, even Democrats (aside from leadership).

    • Let’s talk about felons for a moment. The DFL-controlled Legislature passed a bill in 2009 to address felon voting — a bill that was supported by large majorities of the county attorneys in the state. Pawlenty vetoed it. Voter ID — in and of itself — does nothing to address felon voting because whether one is a felon or not is not listed on your photo ID.

      As for the PVCs, every study (even MN Majority’s) show that the majority of these undeliverable cards are due to people moving after the election. I agree there is some valid concern about the remaining number of PVCs that are unverifiable. And I think there are steps that could be taken to help reduce this that could earn bipartisan support.

      But when folks continue to spout nonsense like “the ballots were kept in the trunk!”, it doesn’t help us move to actually solving the problem in a way that doesn’t risk disenfranchising thousands of Minnesotans.

      • I never said voter ID does address felons voting, but that doesn’t meaen the DFL statement that we don’t have voter fraud in this state is accurate. You guys pick at some tangent without ever addressing what is going on. The 6,000+ are not people who’ve moved. They are for non-existing addresses. If you want to count people who have moved the count goes much higher. But over 6,000 PVC’s were to undelivaerable addresses.

        • I don’t believe that your statement that there’s a claim that there’s no voter fraud is accurate. What folks have said is that it’s so minimal, it’s not worth the costs (both in $ and in potential disenfranchisement) to implement. The felon voting issue has resulted in the only prosecuted cases of voter fraud in this state over the last decade. We can fix that problem in other ways than voter ID.

      • I’d suggest that 6000+ undeliverable addresses amounts to enough potential votes to sway several recent elections at the state level. While that may be small potatoes, it certainly could mean the difference between Franken and Coleman, and possibly even Emmer and Dayton, (although I don’t recall the final difference between those two). And for every single one of the illegal votes, someone else was disenfranchised by having their vote offset. It’s a big deal, unless you only care certain, potential disenfrachisement, versus certain disenfranchisment. One can be solved by the voter. Go get an ID. The other cannot.

  3. Please point to the spot in the Constitution where it says I have a right to purchase cold medicine. That argument is a false equivalency. The cold medicine law was in response to the meth epidemic and as a way to limit and track the purchase of cold medicines. While my local CVS pharmacy would record my purchase they most certainly are not concerned with whether my address is current and I have alternatives that I can choose to purchase without a photo id if my is missing, stolen or forgotten. Not so if denied the right to vote.

    • You’re spinning. The point is in regard to Maluchnik’s point regarding cost. We had this change in the law, and it had an expense incurred to make it happen. The expense is very similiar to that of voter ID. WHy is one a problem, and the other is not?

      Another point, is that the DFL claims we are disenfrachising voters with this change. And yet there was no concern for disenfranchising folks from buying cold medicine. WHy is it so difficult to have an ID when you go to vote. I seem to have mine with me when I vote. Always have. It’s very simple. I bring my wallet, which has my ID in it. Wow. That sure is inconvenient!

  4. Ok, it is NOT AT ALL SIMILAR. You do not have a RIGHT to purchase cold medicine. You are also using the word disenfrachise incorrectly: transitive verb. : to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially : to deprive of the right to vote. You cannot be disenfrachised from buying cold medicine.

    SInce we can’t seem to get away from fingerpointing to the “other side” I’ll go for it, too. Why is it seemingly so difficult for Republicans to have empathy and put themselves in others shoes? Why do you live in a bubble and think that everyone should conform to your version reality? Its great that you have a photo id that you carry with you – I do, too. But not everyone does – for many reasons – and that is why we have developed alternative and varied ways of proving identities to vote that have been very successful. (please see the Secretary of State’s website for the details). Furthermore, why are you so sure that the id you have in your wallet will be valid for voting? The amendment doesn’t specify. Maybe you will have to go get a new special voting id, too. What if you had to track down your birth certificate (and if you were a woman maybe a marriage license), order and pay for copies, find transportation to wherever the photo id center is, and then take time off work to go there during business hours. Start thinking about these kinds of complications and at some point your sarcastic “that sure is inconvenient” actually becomes true.

    How much do you think it costs to obtain an id, and don’t forget to include the cost of supporting documention and travel expenses? Surely you don’t believe “free” is actually free? Someone will be paying for it in increased taxes. Even what you might consider a nominal amount might mean making a choice between buying a new id or feeding their kids dinner one night. That is how much on the edge some people live – but they still have the right to vote.

    Lastly, this doesn’t belong in our Constitution. If you have a problem with election law develop common sense legislation to change it that both parties can support.

    • But I do have the privilege to buy cold medicine, just as someone without an ID cannot. Look, if that word is making crazy, use a different one. If it’s unfair to require ID’s for certain privileges or rights, then why is it not unfair for others.

      I get it. For a very few it just might be pain in the rear to get an ID once every 4 years. But if you want to vote, I don’t think it’s too much to ask. The DFL claims there’s a cost to this, and I’m saying they didn’t have a problem issuing that cost to foster the cold medicine law, amoung others. We are paying to have a database of who bought cold medicine, with every pharmacy modifying their POS software to handle this change in the law.

      The Democrats are against the public on this one. Legal voters are, dare I even say it, disenfranchised by fraulent voters. When we see thousands of postal verification cards returned every year with “no such address”, it’s easy to see that the fraud does indeed exist. Just as it’s inconvenient to prevent scum bagsfrom making meth from cold medicine, it’s just as inconvenient to prevent fraud from our voting system. If everyone were ethical at the voting booth, and not attempting to steal or fix elections, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The DFL can continue to shove their heads deep into the sand and claim that fraud isn’t an issue, but that clearly is not the case.

      And therefore, since Dayton nor the Democrat’s refuse to support anything that removes this fraud from the vote tally’s, we an amendment, which is overwhelmingly supported. If the DFL spent nearly as much energy on this issue getting people their ID’s, we’d have the problem solved. One has to wonder why they are so against cleaning up this fraud, when they are willing to use the same practice to remove problems in other areas.

  5. John – let’s a different path. I would very honestly like to have your opinion on this real life account of someone getting an id for their 92 year old mom. I know it comes from Minnpost but if you can put partisanship aside and give it a read I would appreciate your take on it. I think its a story that could apply to Rs, Ds and everyone else. I think there is room for honest discussion on the logistics of this issue. Maybe we can get to some agreement that requiring identification isn’t bad but its the type that the amendment requires that poses high hurdles for some?

    P.S. regarding the address verification cards. You do realize that if some clerk enters my address as Drake Circle instead of Drake Court the postal verification card will be returned at “not deliverable”? Then I will be flagged and need to show identification the next time I vote. This is not an indication of fraud – someone made an error. It is just wrong to keep assuming that there are all these voters out there risking felony convictions so they can add one more vote to the tally of their favorite politician.

    • Guess how much it costs to keep these doucments (birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc.)? Nothing! I’m sure there are a lot of folks out there running around with no identification, but it’s not too much ask that they get it and maintain it. This hard case you mention had to spend money because she lost all of her other documents. But the ID is good for 4 years, right? And if she maintains the ID, and keeps her other documents, it won’t cost anything for 4 more years. This is hardly a big deal.

      Insterad of having groups like Acorn, (now defunded over fraud), spend time and resources getting around the system, have them spend thier time and energy helping these folks get their ID’s. Then the problem is solved.

      You guys are barking up a deaf tree with the people of Minnesota. The support for this crosses party lines, gender lines, race lines, and financial lines. This measure is overwhelmingly support by the citizens of MN. Coming up with a few sob stories isn’t going to cut it, because everyone is in the same boat here. Some people have a hard time getting enough oxygen. That’s not fair. But everyone needs it. And after November you NEED an ID to vote. And once it’s law, everyone who wants to vote will get an ID, and maintain it, and wonder what the fuss was all about.


  1. Brick City Blog Endorsements: Randy Maluchnik and Cheryl Ayotte for Carver County Commissioner | Brick City Blog - October 16, 2012

    […] just as much focused on national and state issues as county ones, and he’s long been a fountain of misinformation on such […]

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