Thursday, December 2, 2010

Minnesota governor's election shows Republican desperation for power

One may recall how Minnesota Republican die-hards attempted to rob former Saturday Night Live comic and Air America host Al Franken of the U.S. Senate seat he legitimately won; for months after the election, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman—who won his seat after his opponent, Sen. Paul Wellstone, died in a plane crash a week before the 2002 election—and his partisans filed one frivolous court challenge after another for many months. Now, the state Republicans are conducting another outrageous challenge to the obvious victory of Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party gubernatorial candidate, and former senator, Mark Dayton. With the recount largely complete, Dayton leads his Republican challenger Tom Emmer by 9,000 votes, a seemingly insurmountable margin. But Republicans think that suggestions that Dayton has won the Minnesota governorship is “premature.” Their volunteer ballot counters have challenged thousands of ballots in Hennepin County, a Democratic stronghold that includes the city of Minneapolis.

County commissioners have deemed the ballot challenges “frivolous”--although, ironically, "frivolous" is the term state law uses to describe an invalid ballot. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s website posted nine examples of ballots Republican volunteers challenged. To say that the challenges are themselves “frivolous” is probably not accurate; “ridiculous” is more suitable. One arrives at the conclusion that the ballot challengers are either blind, mentally-challenged or desperately trying to fulfill their quota of challenged ballots; perhaps these “volunteers” are being paid for the number of ballots they challenge. Of the nine examples, only ballot # 7 is even open to “question,” and again only if you are in desperate need of eyewear. The oval next to Dayton’s name is “only” two-thirds filled, as are the rest of the markings; since the voter showed a clear preference for DFL candidates, the intent of the voter is not open to question.

If Republicans are so desperate for power and control that they will go to the most absurd lengths to deny the power of the (majority of) people to choose who they wish to represent them, we can well imagine the nature of voter suppression that occurred in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 to insure Republican victories.

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