Election Day

Parting Election Day words from satisfied voters

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Thank you so much for helping Whistleblower patch together this crazy quilt of voter experiences this Election Day. Despite the litany of malfunctions, frustrations and confrontations, things actually went pretty well for most voters, it appears. I’m sure I’ll hear more about what went wrong in the days ahead.

I’ll leave you with these accounts from voters who wanted to channel happiness:

No problem here…just a very long line. It is exciting to see many people take advantage of their right to vote! (Jeff Marchand, New Brighton).

Finally, before I took my ballot over to slip it into the machine, I took a last look at my choices. It’s not often that you know that your vote will make history. It was something to savor. (Joanne Meehl, Maple Grove).

I was greeted with friendly smiling faces of poll workers ready to have me sign in and cast my vote. There were no lines and I was in and out all toll about 10 – 15 minutes. I spent the most time voting on the second page of the ballot with over 30 Judges running and most were unopposed. It was a wonderful experience to again participate in our blessed freedom to cast my vote. We are so lucky to enjoy this freedom in America. (Michael Cunniff, Edina).

Poll flashpoint: Cedar-Riverside precinct in Minneapolis

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

briancoyle.JPGLawyers, poll watchers and journalists flocked to the Brian Coyle Community Center in Minneapolis’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. There, a spirited election challenger and high numbers of recent immigrants registering at the polls added up to some tense confrontations.

The Minnesota Independent reported that based in interviews with three voters, a translator at the precinct was instructing voters he was helping that they should vote for Sen. Norm Coleman. The story also describes the aggressive behavior of the poll challengers toward other translators. The Twin Cities Daily Planet also has an account of the scene at the precinct.

When I visited the polling place, about 3 p.m., I saw a poll challenger quietly challenging a voter’s registration, based on the address on a utility bill not matching an ID card, and then withdrawing his written challenge after a conversation with the election judge. The newly registered voter proceeded to the polls. The challenger declined to comment to me.


Update on the wrong-ballot problem in Plymouth and Brooklyn Park

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

From my colleague Bill McAuliffe, who’s been following up on word of ballot mixups that affected school referenda in the northwest Twin Cities suburbs:

At least three voters in the Osseo school district won’t be heard on three school issues that should have been on their ballot.

Two voters in one Plymouth precinct and an absentee voter in Brooklyn Park apparently cast ballots that came from the stack intended for their neighbors, who live in different school districts.


300 U students get a second chance to vote

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

You can’t use a letter from your landlord as proof of residency if it isn’t addressed to you. That’s the message from Minneapolis election officials to about 300 residents of the Chateau co-op housing complex at the University of Minnesota campus.

Some of those would-be voters contacted the Election Protection Coalition hotline (866-OUR-VOTE). Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota who’s part of the coalition, said his group took the students’ case to the office of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. State officials ruled that if the landlord revised the letter to address it to individual students, they could use it to help with registration, Dean said. So that’s what happened.

Dean is encouraging as many people who find themselves turned away at the polls to call the coalition hotline (866-OUR-VOTE). “We’re hearing about a lot of instances of people being turned away for reasons that are not legitimate.” Dean blamed it on mistakes by election judges, rather than any malicious intent.