Minnesota Update: The System Is Broken — Because Of This Case!

The Minnesota election trial has proceeded forward today, with the Franken team continuing to present voters (presumably Franken-supporters) who they think should have their votes counted — and Team Coleman attempting to undermine confidence in the whole election system.

State elections director Gary Poser has been on the stand, and lead Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg has been going over the existence of clerical errors or out-of-date entries in the state’s voter-registration database. Poser has said the system is reliable overall, but the Coleman camp is trying to leverage the existence of errors into demonstrating that the admission or rejection of absentee ballots was fundamentally broken.

At one point, Friedberg appeared to be on to something — there are whole swaths of counties and precincts that still haven’t entered in all the new registrations from Election Day, four months ago.

“Now why if you will, have the counties not finished inputting the data from Election Day?” Friedberg asked. “Just manpower problems?”

“Um, yes,” Poser said, “and I believe they’ve also been answering other requests from the campaigns, data-practice requests that have also been interrupting their work.”

You’ve got it: The Minnesota election system is broken, with a never-ending backlog of work preventing the input of voter data — and it’s this very disputed race that has done the job!Some of Franken’s rejected-voter witnesses appeared to be in good shape, and others were duds, which the Franken lawyers worked to dispose of once the problems came up. But one of the rejected voters proved to be especially interesting: Noah Kunin, a reporter for The Uptake — the local news site that has so effectively streamed the various county and state proceedings, plus the press conferences, ever since this whole political disaster began.

Kunin’s fundamental problem here is that he filled out a voter-registration form at the county office, and was ready to vote while he was there in early October, but they decided they had to mail him a ballot and have him obtain a special voucher form because of a government typo on his driver’s license. It appears he did not fill out a new voter-registration form with the ballot itself.

“And you have been listening to this entire trial?” Friedberg asked during cross-examination, establishing the background here — the fact is Kunin has watched all the testimonies, and spoken regularly with the lawyers for both sides on a regular basis.

“The entire trial,” Kunin said.

Among other things, Friedberg asked Kunin a series of questions that seemed to call into question the validity of his legal residence. Kunin moves around a lot, and has crashed at the homes of friends, his parents, etc, ever since he had to move out of his prior home — the government evicted him from his place right near the bridge that collapsed back in 2007.

It was unclear whether Friedberg was trying to disqualify Kunin’s ballot, or else get it included and then leverage this towards getting Coleman votes in, or to use these clerical mistakes to undermine the whole system. Perhaps it was all three of them, to some extent.

Fun fact: Kunin’s ballot was initially brought to public attention when he was put on the Coleman list of rejected ballots, which seemed odd in light of the fact that The Uptake has been serially attacked by the Minnesota GOP as a left-wing pro-Franken site. However, it should be noted that his voting residence during the election was in a Republican-friendly suburb. Now the Franken side has called him to help him get his vote counted — as I’ve pointed out, this case appears to have spurred cherry-picking among the cherry-picking.

Late Update: An earlier version of this post said Election Day was five months ago — it was in fact four months. I regret the error.