On December 1, I published an excerpt from an email from a GOP recount observer.
This email, from a GOP election recount-watcher, has been making the rounds of local conservative activists. I’m keeping the writer’s name off the record for now.
Emphasis is added by me:
Well, it’s been a good (better) day today here at Hennepin County for the recount. Lots of notable errors in judgment…
For instance, we found one precinct with ALL Dayton ballots challenged (103 total) that appeared to be a “mass” group of blank ballots run thru without a judge’s signature – all in a row. Shows how easily certain folks of a party’s persuasion can cheat so easily – and have it counted?
Let’s repeat that for those of you who glaze over: 103 votes, run through in a group, without a judge’s signature, apparently consecutively.
I asked the source of this email earlier this week what the resolution of this issue was. The source wasn’t entirely clear on how things turned out: she or he sent me this message:
I think it was 102-103 ballots in Hennepin County (some precinct) that looked suspicious, and were run through the machine and counted in the total. What was believed was it happened after the polls (and machines) were closed and counted w/ a tape already generated…. Hence, the difference in the counts from registered voters vs. the machine counts…I was told the sequence and appearance of these ballots looked suspicious and forged, and now that I think about it, I remember one of the primary reasons they weren’t allowed was they were not properly signed off by the appropriate parties – yet, counted. If my memory serves me right, they were taken out of the totals once discovered.
Now, I’ve been getting regular, frequent emails for the past six weeks from a regular reader who is also a supporter of our current election system and, I’d suspect, of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. According to this person, it would be impossible for this scenario to have happened; that that’s just not how canvassing and recounts work.
That, of course, is one of the problems of blogging; when one is an actual, full-time, employed journalist, one has time to learn enough about the subject about which one is writing to comment on it with more literacy than when one has other things going on in life.
So OK, fair enough. I’m way too buried with personal and day-job business to really dig into it all that much at the moment. I guess, at least as regards this particular episode, the iron-clad integrity of the Henco elections staff, of Mark Ritchie, and of everyone involved is unimpeachable. Until a better explanation drops into my lap. at any rate.
Which it’ll have to do, because – and this is an admission against interest – I have a hard time concentrating on that sort of anal-retentive, pointillistic, nit-picky, left-brain sort of thing. God bless those who can – but I can’t. Call it a learning disability, and a politically-imprudent one at that, but my brain just tunes out the finer points of the mechanics of recounts. There’s a reason I’m not an actuary, an accountant, or a wedding planner.
And that’s that, I guess.
Well, no. It’s not. The person who’s written, and left any number of comments in the blog on the subject, said it was a matter of my “integrity” to “fact-check” this story – and that if it didn’t check out, somehow my premise that the Minnesota electoral system is flawed is, itself, flawed.
As re the electoral system? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Much better minds than I – or at least much more methodical ones – are digging into that even as we speak.
As to exercising integrity by scrupulous fact-checking? Well, the critic who wants to to make sure I vet every nuance of my December 1 post – which was basically a throwaway, for better or worse – was the same person who left a comment at 1:15 last Saturday in the blog post I wrote while on the air, linking to the ongoing coverage of the Tucson massacre:
Shie is one of the members of congress who received threats, and who had her office vandalized, over her support for health care reform last spring.
You know, Mitch – one of those ‘avalanche of violence’ incidents you like to deny.
Oh, I don’t “like to deny” anything; there were plenty of nasty words thrown about during the Obamacare debate – going both ways. Congresspeople – on both sides – got threats. It’s just that virtually every single example of the “avalanche of violence” – a term that I’ve taken to using with irony – was either debunked, shown not to be affiliated with the Tea Party, and/or shown to be complete fiction.
But that’s not the real issue, at the moment. The real one, for purposes of this post, is ethics.
So let me get this straight; criticizing the electoral system, and the government employees and the elected official who run the system – my employees, really – must be rigorously gone over. But participating in a venal slander of half of the electorate, on the other hand, can and should be done with impunity and casual disregard for fact? Especially when being done to exploit a horrific tragedy to purely political ends?
No, I’m really asking. I’m just trying to figure out how our leftyblogger friends see this whole “ethics” thing.