‘Lizard People’ loses a vote

The state Canvassing Board just reviewed the famed ‘Lizard People’ ballot, ruling it an overvote. The Franken oval was also filled in.

And overvote means neither Franken or Lizard People received the vote. I agree, but still think we should check Canvassing Board members’ eyes for a lizardy glint.

By the way, Moon Unit Zappa and Jesse Ventura were also mentioned in the highly entertaining discussion. Link as soon as I get it.

[Update: Franken got the Flying Spaghetti Monster vote.]

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Chris Johnson on 12/18/2008 - 10:52 am.

    I disagree that this represents an overvote. What kind of feeble-minded logic was used to come to that conclusion? Let’s check the facts:

    1. There is an oval next to every write-in line on the ballot, meant to be used when a write-in name is the voter’s desired choice.

    2. The oval next to Lizard People in the Senate race is not marked in any fashion.

    3. The oval next to Franken (but it could be any other candidate, as far as I’m concerned) is clearly filled in.

    4. In the preceding race, the oval for Lizard People is clearly marked, so the voter clearly understands how to use the ovals, and how to use the ovals to vote for a write-in.

    If, in fact, voting regulations and canvassing boards are going to consider any mark, including any name on the line for a write-in to be considered a vote, and hence any more than one such mark to be overvotes, then this needs to be clearly stated on the ballot, by election judges, by state laws and widely publicized. It is not.

    There have been times in the past when I was on the fence about who to vote for, and may have written somebody in and then ultimately decided against voting for the person I wrote in. I would have in those cases marked the person I wanted to vote for, not the write-in line.

    By the judgement on this ballot, my vote would have been thrown out as an overvote, when in fact, I specifically voted only once for the candidate I wanted.

    The line for write-ins is logically equivalent to any other name above it; unless the oval is marked next to it, the name alone is NOT a vote.

    This is an example of extremely poor judgement, and/or a lack of ability to think logically.

  2. Submitted by Tony Wagner on 12/18/2008 - 12:47 pm.

    Chris,

    Unfortunately, as the law is currently written, the intent of the voter is somewhat trumped in this situation. On technical grounds, it is clearly an overvote (one that I suspect wouldn’t be detected by a machine count anyway).

    If necessary, Franken can (and will) challenge this interpretation in court, and he might have a decent shot at success.

    And I would suspect there will be some effort to change the law for future contests. (We will probably get a lot of these reforms now!)

  3. Submitted by Brian Simon on 12/18/2008 - 01:24 pm.

    Chris Johnson writes
    “This is an example of extremely poor judgement, and/or a lack of ability to think logically.”

    No, it is an example of a poorly written law. The law has been followed correctly, which says that writing in the write-in space is akin to filling in the oval. The canvassing board properly followed the law. The real problems are that this law is unknown to voters and the law doesn’t make logical sense, as Chris nicely outlines.

  4. Submitted by Carl Olson on 12/18/2008 - 02:03 pm.

    Or, an alternate hypothesis… In most races, mystery voter would prefer ‘Lizard People’ over the other candidates. But in the Senate race, mystery voter actually chooses Franken OVER the Lizard People! That’s how much that voter supports Franken!
    Or perhaps, the voter was saying Franken IS a Lizard Person… I don’t know.

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