A group from across the political spectrum spoke out today on the integrity of an upcoming recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate racie, calling for transparency in the recount process, which is expected to begin on Wednesday at more than 100 sites across the state.
Joe Quinn, a retired chief judge of the 10th Judicial District, which includes Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright.counties, has overseen recounts in the past and said several physical conditions must be met to assure public confidence in the process.
• insisting that ballot boxes at all recount centers are opened and the recount begum simultaneously.
• establishing an opening time that will accomodate the scheduling needs of the public (including the media) and to allow videotaping or photographing of the process.
• making certain that space is sufficient for obeservation of every ballot by the media, advocates for each side, and other observers.
• requiring that all ballot count work be done in full visibility of all observers, using a table or desk low enough to allow inspection of every ballot.
"Every ballot out there that's opened should be subject to a camera by someone, not just by officials on the scene," Quinn said.
The group included Quinn; former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger; former Hennepin County Board Chairman John Derus; Independence Party candidate and official Jack Uldrich; and George Soule, former chairman of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Election.
The group pointed to no particular instances of concern but said they stepped forward to protect the integrity of the process.
"We have enjoyed a reputation as having the highest turnout in the United States," Derus said. "That's almost sacred in the State of Minnestoa. The one way to not have that happen is to have people mistrust the process. When people start mistrusting the process and questioning vote totals and serious allegations are made, we have to step in and protect that process."
Said Uldrich: "I don't want to see Minnesota become a Florida. I don't want to see Minnesota become a joke."
Even if the guidelines are followed, members of the group predicted the election results are likely to end up in litigation.
"Will this wind up in the courts? My best estimate is that it is 100 percent likely," Soule said.
Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636