Minnesota Senate recount unconstitutional?

Andrew Mannix

One could make a pretty persuasive argument that Minnesota’s prolonged Senate election has become annoying (see Sen. Amy Klobuchar). But could it be unconstitutional?

According to Michael Stokes Paulsen, former associate dean of the University of Minnesota Law School, the answer is yes.

In his Wall Street Journal column last week, Paulsen compared the 2000 Bush v. Gore recount process to Minnesota’s current mess.  Paulsen cites "unequal evaluation of ballots" and poor safeguarding as inconsistencies with the 2000 precedent, and reasons that Franken’s current lead of some 200 votes is invalid:


"Minnesota is Bush v. Gore reloaded. The details differ, but not in terms of arbitrariness, lack of uniform standards, inconsistency in how local recounts were conducted and counted, and strange state court decisions.


Consider the inconsistencies: One county "found" 100 new votes for Mr. Franken, due to an asserted clerical error. Decision? Add them. Ramsey County (St. Paul) ended up with 177 more votes than were recorded election day. Decision? Count them. Hennepin County (Minneapolis, where I voted — once, to my knowledge) came up with 133 fewer votes than were recorded by the machines. Decision? Go with the machines’ tally. All told, the recount in 25 precincts ended up producing more votes than voters who signed in that day."


The solution?  According to Paulsen, the only answer may be a do over, which means 2009 could be a very long year for Sen. Klobuchar.