Friday, December 19, 2008

Al Franken on the Uptake!

I've been watching the counting live in the Minnesota Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken on the Uptake for the past few days off and on and find it fascinating. As an exercise in governmental transparency it is a tremendous step forward and as pure theater it ain't half bad either. In fact, some of it has been very entertaining.

I loved the two ballots they discussed today. On one the person had voted for Al Franken, but then wrote in the write-in area the name: "Lizard People." The canvassing board then discussed if Lizard People was a real person, or a political statement. If a political statement, then the vote was for Franken; if a real person it was an over-vote. A woman on the board said how she once knew a person whose last name was People and another member asked her if their first name had been Lizard? That evoked a round of chuckles. Eventually they decided that Lizard People might be real and therefore it was an over-vote; Franken lost that one, but so did Coleman (though one might argue that Lizard People might be Coleman's species).

A few ballots later someone voted for Franken but altered his name to be Al Frankenstein. Coleman's attorney argued that this was not a vote for Al Franken and therefore should not be counted as such. Franken's attorney countered that it was obviously a vote for Franken but that the voter was just being "goofy." The board decided that they had voted for the person designated as the Democratic nominee for Senate and therefore Al Franken or Al Frankenstein were the same person.

You can't make this stuff up!

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