GOP activist says he’d protect voter privacy but wants unopened Coleman-Franken absentee ballots ‘tabulated’

We just chatted with Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed, and he acknowledges he “tried to thread the needle a little bit” in his Data Practices Act request.

He said he was aware of the specific restrictions on opening absentee ballots but noted he’s not seeking any personal voter information; rather, he wants election judges to open the ballots and simply make public the tabulation of the votes for each candidate.

“I’m not trying to ascertain which person voted for which candidates.”
Brodkorb told MinnPost. “I’ll be curious what the municipalities and counties say.”

We will be, too.

There’s another issue. The ballots have been reviewed by both campaigns and elections officials. Many times. They were ruled to be illegally cast for a variety of reasons. Norm Coleman’s lawyers couldn’t get the three-judge election contest panel to include them in the count.

What does it matter what’s inside them?

Brodkorb says, “Clearly, clearly, there will have to be a big asterisk” on any vote totals that might emerge from his request.

But his point is this: Voters cast their ballots, and some were rejected. “At its simplest, at its lowest, I was simply trying to find out what were the number of people who cast their ballot” for either Franken or Coleman, he says.

If he’s successful in this initial round, he might seek out a liberal blogger to partner with and then seek ballots from all 87 counties, he told me.

On the other hand, if he’s denied his requests, Brodkorb said he would likely carry his campaign to the state’s Data Practices Act oversight agency, the Information Policy Analysis Division.

Beyond that — as for lawsuits — “I’m not ruling anything out,” he said.

And so we have now entered a new realm: recounting the recount.

By the way, Citizens for Election Integrity, an electoral watchdog group, conducted an audit of the 2008 election and the recount. Its view was that the election went smoothly.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Aaron Landry on 06/08/2009 - 09:13 pm.

    Brodkorb 1, MinnPost 0.

    This has nothing to do with anything other than Brodkorb trying to make a story out of thin air — don’t you see his longer term goal with this — presuming the press covers it like he wants?

    Haven’t you press folks gotten burned by Brodkorb enough?

  2. Submitted by Don Medal on 06/09/2009 - 11:12 am.


    curiosity itself doesn’t seem sufficient reason to dig through the ballots. Knowing that at least some of these are illegally cast, what possible use is the data?

  3. Submitted by Tommy Johnson on 06/09/2009 - 11:34 am.


    Distraction, of course.

    Never mind Coleman was named to the “Most Corrupt” list in Congress; never mind that Norm filed suit over an ad based on that “4th Most Corrupt” rating – never mind Coleman lost that case.

    Never mind that that Coleman flack Mark Drake promised to get the media copies of Coleman’s utilitiy bills; never mind Drake didn’t.

    Never mind Team Coleman’s legal beagles lost at every important milestone during the recount, the “contest”, and – soon – the State Supreme Court.

    Never mind all that; the new meme is “all the ballots weren’t counted….” even though the rest of the real story is: “…of course, Norm was AGAINST counting all of them, before he was FOR counting all of them.”

    Never mind all that – all that is a distraction from the new Team Smokescreen StoryLine:

    “Norm wuz robbed.”

    That’s my guess of what will be the next sorry episode in Norm Coleman’s bizarre political career.

  4. Submitted by Howard Miller on 06/09/2009 - 12:10 pm.

    I was under the impression that those ballots were not to be opened as a matter of state law. And if that is true (I don’t know if it is for sure) it is probably the law for very good reason – it pretends there is a different answer to the election outcome other than what the legally defined, challenged, and confirmed outcome of the election actually was.

    It will provide the loser with endless carping ammunition that won’t be exhausted until the next election.

    The “Minnesota Democrats Exposed” effort is not about helping ensure fair elections – it’s about partisan carping concerning the outcome of this one election. Instead, he should stuff a sock in his partisan zeal for a couple of years, reach across the isle and work in a multipartisan fashion to help the state and country recover from the wars and economic contraction causing suffering across the political spectrum

  5. Submitted by George Hayduke on 06/09/2009 - 01:36 pm.

    Why isn’t Michael Brodkorb identified as the State Senate GOP Caucus Communications Director instead of as an “activist” with MDE? He isn’t just some disinterested bystander.

    Brodkorb also has been a paid campaign consultant to Coleman’s campaign, a host of other Republicans’ campaigns and the GOP. And he’s currently campaigning for State GOP Deputy Chair–the likely reason for this latest headline-grabbing stunt.

    A little more accurate disclosure wouldn’t hurt, ya know. This kind of reporting is what we would expect from the lapdogs at the Strib or PPress.

  6. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 06/09/2009 - 03:13 pm.

    So Brodkorp wants state election law to be violated in order to give him this information, which he would then no doubt use to mount yet another court challenge against the KNOWN RESULT of last November’s election. These votes do not count, period.

    Give it up, sir.

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