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Pre-recount: Norm’s troops make hay of Mountain Iron

Turns out Politics in Minnesota’s “Mountain Iron” incident I re-reported a few hours ago was a harbinger of a Coleman press release.

Echoing PIM writer Sarah Janecek’s observation that, “Isn’t 100 new votes for Obama and Franken in Mountain Iron Precinct One statistically impossible?,” the Coleman release states:

“Minnesota has a history of fair and clean elections, and we are committed to ensuring that this election is no different.  That is why it is so troubling to us that instead of the normal slight changes in vote totals one would expect during this process, we are now seeing huge chunks of votes appearing and disappearing – statistically dubious and improbable shifts that are overwhelmingly accruing to the benefit of Al Franken.

“And, as many of these unexplained and improbably vote swings are taking place on the Iron Range, we’re asking that local and state election officials provide us with the necessary data to reassure the public that the canvassing process has not been tainted,” said Cullen Sheehan, campaign manager.

Minnesota Democrats Exposed’s Michael Brodkorb, a GOP conduit, expressly links Sheehan’s statement to the Mountain Iron incident.

Sheehan could, of course, just pick up the phone and call Mountain Iron deputy registrar Jill Anderson, who would tell them the current totals on the Secretary of State’s website precisely match the totals she gave Saint Louis County election night.

Therefore, the underlying “statistically dubious and improbable shift” was probably nothing more than someone mistyping a “4” instead of a “5” when the initial data was sent to the Secretary of State’s office. According to my keyboard, the numbers are right next to each other.

Yesterday, around 1,500 votes did appear and disappear, which the Secretary of State’s office explained was Hennepin County data accidentally transmitted with a missing precinct. The error was fixed, and the correct number restored.

Now, it’s cool — if showy — to make a Data Practices Request (PDF) for all info related to election. The campaign, and the public have a right to know.

But that’s not really the intent here; it’s to muddy the waters that — unless you think the Mountain Iron deputy registrar would lie — appear to be running clear as a brook stream.

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