I, for one, welcome our new lizard people overlords.
November 19, 2008 11:02 PM   Subscribe

Minnesota's recount of the Senate race between incumbent Norm Coleman (R) and challenger Al Franken (D) began yesterday. Some results are already being reported. One unintended consequence of the recount is the exposure of a shocking write-in challenger: Lizard People.
posted by nathan_teske (70 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why do the lizards need to stand? Aren't they running it all anyway? They need to work on their conspiracy a bit harder.
posted by Abiezer at 11:08 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was pleasantly encouraged by the web consensus in that MPR page, where almost all readers seem to have been logical in their picks, rather than partisan poll-gamers.
posted by rokusan at 11:17 PM on November 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Lizardfolk, please.
posted by patr1ck at 11:19 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ballot 11 is actually a protest vote. The voter wants a candidate with the virtues of both Coleman and Franken; some kind of senatorial-super-spawn. That's why he drew a sperm and an egg.
posted by Clandestine Outlawry at 11:23 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Lizard-Americans.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:26 PM on November 19, 2008


Lizard stands and runs.
posted by pracowity at 11:31 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's ridiculous. The Mole People had a much better platform on overground meat harvesting.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:36 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


John/Diana 2012.
posted by felix betachat at 11:37 PM on November 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Given the choice, I'd rather have a beer with a Sleestak than Norm Coleman.
posted by Knappster at 11:37 PM on November 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


seems like a lot of those challenged ballots are going to be fairly easy for the final arbitrators to determine intent. And MN law states that f the intent is clear then the vote will count.

It is going to be pointless following the daily numbers unless at the end the winner exceeds the amount of challenged ballots, or at least a healthy % of them.

Personally, I've high hope for Al.
posted by edgeways at 11:57 PM on November 19, 2008


Well, the crazy fucker I work with will be heartened by this.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:10 AM on November 20, 2008


So with Begich winning in AK that gives the Dems 58 I believe. So this is the fight over 59?
posted by bardic at 12:13 AM on November 20, 2008


Missing David Icke tag.
posted by chillmost at 12:17 AM on November 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


Which one would Dean Barkley have pulled more votes from?
posted by RavinDave at 12:27 AM on November 20, 2008


1.) click Coulter V. Franken
2.) Skip to :19
3.) ???
4.) PROFIT!!!
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:22 AM on November 20, 2008 [8 favorites]


And that's why, to avoid this kind of mess by people who can't read the instructions, we should have a literacy test for voters. How come no one ever thought of this before?
posted by qvantamon at 1:32 AM on November 20, 2008


qvantamon, please tell me you are joking? Ever hear of Jim Crow laws?
posted by no1hatchling at 1:41 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


no1hatchling: If we let the reptilians vote and ride the bus along with us, soon they'll be taking our wives.
posted by qvantamon at 2:12 AM on November 20, 2008


Looking at some of those ballots reminds me of the day I spent on a police ride-along. That was the day I learned that that a shockingly large percentage of the population spends most of their waking hours whacked out of their brains on prescription drugs and failing miserably at everything they attempt.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:05 AM on November 20, 2008 [8 favorites]


The really sad thing is that computerized voting could solve most of these confusion problems, if there were a way to make it secure to the point that the electorate would trust it. Thanks to Diebold, I'm afraid that ship has sailed.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:24 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The person who wrote in Lizard People is just now finding out that their vote actually did count.
posted by poppo at 3:25 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed that it's legal to publish those ballot papers. That would be a criminal offence in the UK.
posted by mr. strange at 3:26 AM on November 20, 2008


Seems to me that if it's not legal for the common populace to see the ballots, that's a degree of openness missing from our elections that in the US we can't afford. There's a reason why we have bubbles rather than handwriting, and distinguishing marks may not be allowed, and that's to preserve the secrecy of the ballot's owner.
posted by explosion at 3:37 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I imagine it's legal to publish them if you don't show the name of the person who filled it out. Can't think why it shouldn't be, either.
posted by cj_ at 3:40 AM on November 20, 2008


cj_: I've an easy answer to that: even if you don't write your name on the ballot, you may mark it with some distinguishing mark that ensures that somebody buying/extorting your vote learns that you voted the right way. Basically, it makes a mockery of the notion of having a secret ballot.

I'm sure the Lizard "People" now know which warm-blooded minions voted as indicated and which ones did NOT! Revenge will be terrible! BWAHAHAHA!
posted by Skeptic at 4:37 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fuckin' Lizard People always split the vote!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:10 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Anyone else having problems getting that MPR vote to work? </NOTCONSPIRACYTHEORIST>
posted by grubi at 5:35 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why do the lizards need to stand? Aren't they running it all anyway? They need to work on their conspiracy a bit harder.

I think you are missing something, Lizard People are already on the ballot in the form of Norm Coleman and Al Franken.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:36 AM on November 20, 2008


Are there really places where the volunteers or workers at the voting office don't give you a brief runthrough of the correct way to fill in your ballot? Some of these people are so clearly confused, and it makes me a little bit sad.

Of course, if they were super-concerned about their vote counting correctly, one might think they'd, y'know, ask someone if they were doing it right or if they need a new ballot. But I guess that might just not occur to some people.

grubi: Doesn't work for me either.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:42 AM on November 20, 2008


Well, if you don't vote for a Lizard, the wrong Lizard might get in.
posted by steef at 5:47 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


a shockingly large percentage of the population spends most of their waking hours whacked out of their brains on prescription drugs and failing miserably at everything they attempt.

Or, you know, just has bad eyesight or frail handwriting.

Anyway, both sides are making challenges that are ridiculous, if not despicable, but the one that really stood out as particularly disgusting is the thumbprint challenge from the Franken people:

The Franken campaign challenged this Anoka County ballot, arguing that the thumb print on it constitutes a distinguishing mark. If a voter signs a ballot or writes his Social Security Number on it, that ballot is invalid under Minnesota state law. The State Canvassing Board will need to determine whether this thumbprint has the same effect.

That's just an awful, awful argument to be making, even in the thick of a hotly contested recount. An accidental dirty smudge of a thumbprint invalidates a ballot now?
posted by mediareport at 5:49 AM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I thought all politicians were lizard people.

/I'll be here all night.
//Try the veal.
posted by MrGuilt at 6:10 AM on November 20, 2008


John/Diana 2012

An old man named John and a hot fascista who hates scientists? It's been done.
posted by condour75 at 6:19 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lizard People! Why wasn't I that clever when writing in votes as a kid? (I used to write-in my friends' names, or Wile E. Coyote, etc.)
posted by not_on_display at 6:23 AM on November 20, 2008


Having just been outside in Minnesota not five minutes ago, I can assure you that the Lizard People would freeze right the hell to death. It's freaking COLD.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:35 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


For reference, the recount is scheduled for completion on Dec. 5, while the State Canvassing Board meets Dec. 16 to determine the outcome of any and all challenged ballots (this is when they determine voter intent if possible, or discard the ballot if not). The final result should be known then. A Dartmouth study suggested that undervotes should favor Franken, while Nate Silver extrapolates that, based on the 79 and 61 challenges from Coleman and Franken respectively, we could see somewhere in the range of 2800 challenged ballots total, although that's only based on the first day of counting.

Whatever the outcome, it's going to be an interesting month here in Minnesota.
posted by baphomet at 6:47 AM on November 20, 2008


Given the choice, I'd rather have a beer with a Sleestak than Norm Coleman.
posted by Knappster


Not half an hour ago, I was telling a friend that I'd vote for a gelatinous cube before voting for Coleman. So I think the real question is obvious.
posted by COBRA! at 6:51 AM on November 20, 2008


Oh come on, that's no contest. Gelatinous cubes suffocate their opposition by engulfing them in acidic jelly. Norm Coleman defeats his opposition by cuddling up to whomever appears to be winning at the moment. The strategic and personality superiority of the gelatinous cube is clear as a bell.
posted by baphomet at 6:55 AM on November 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


Succubus in '12!
posted by Mister_A at 7:10 AM on November 20, 2008


Whatever the outcome, it's going to be an interesting month here in Minnesota.

It's not like there's a whole lot else going on up there right now. Might as well hunker down and count some ballots. Heck, they could make it a pot luck/ballot counting, everybody brings a hot dish and gets a stack of ballots to check, that's a swingin' time by Minnesota standards!
posted by Pollomacho at 7:13 AM on November 20, 2008


Hsssssssssss! Hsssssssssssssss!

Saleesataka! Saleesataka!
posted by aught at 7:22 AM on November 20, 2008


Are there really places where the volunteers or workers at the voting office don't give you a brief runthrough of the correct way to fill in your ballot? Some of these people are so clearly confused, and it makes me a little bit sad.

As someone who voted in Minnesota on election day: yes, there really are places where no one demonstrated how to fill out a ballot. I think they're supposed to, but the poll workers at my polling place seemed so overwhelmed by the number of people, they were just handing out ballot receipts as fast as possible, and people were filling out ballots sitting on the floor. And I live right next to a huge 55+ building; confusion abounded. So I'm not surprised that these ballots look like they do. I can say I, for one, did not vote for the Lizard folk.
posted by ahdeeda at 7:25 AM on November 20, 2008


Luckily Lizardmen can be defeated by common objects laying around outside. Tubes, diamonds, explosives, etc/

I saw a documentary about it, I think it stared William Shatner.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:31 AM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


People of Minnesota, I salute you. I will come to your fair state and reprimand each of your personally and at great length if you do not elect Al Franken, and also for being deeply stupid about what constitutes a distinguishing mark, but I appreciate hilarious write-ins as they are what makes our democracy great. Well done, sirs and madams.
posted by Tehanu at 7:35 AM on November 20, 2008


I saw a documentary about it...

Nyarghh!
posted by pracowity at 8:16 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, the next time I vote I'm doing something fancy so it gets on MPR.

Some of those challenges are fucking ridiculous, but I guess when it's down to 150 or so votes, every one counts.

At my polling place, we were told that if we make mistakes we can request a new ballot. I think perhaps this needs to be stressed more.
posted by graventy at 8:17 AM on November 20, 2008


I rejected all ballots with marks in more than one bubble. It's really not that hard to fill out, and it's even less hard to ask for a replacement ballot. The instructions are right there on the page, and if you don't stop to think that it might cause problems for you to vote for both candidates, you don't deserve for your vote to count.

And really, online people gave the lizard vote to Franken?
posted by vsync at 8:23 AM on November 20, 2008


And really, online people gave the lizard vote to Franken?

Of course: the bubble next to Franken's name was filled in, while "Lizard People" was written in the write-in space, the bubble for which was not filled in.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:36 AM on November 20, 2008


Also, why don't they just print "MARK ONLY ONE NAME PER OFFICE -- IF IN DOUBT REQUEST A NEW BALLOT" in 40 point caps on the top of the ballot?

If they don't already, that is.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:40 AM on November 20, 2008


They're real. I saw them on those GEICO commercials.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:39 AM on November 20, 2008


From the comments on this article: "That’s my vote. I tried to write in Prince."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:16 AM on November 20, 2008


One thing that I find amazing about this is that they voted for plural lizard people. Not a lizard person, but all of them. This suggests to me that this person is in the know enough to know that there is a conspiracy, but not enough in the know to understand that a) all candidates are by default lizard people, so writing that in is in no way a vote for any actual candidate, anymore than just writing in "JEW" would automatically endorse say Henry Kissinger and not Adam Sandler, and b) you don't vote for lizard people, they exist above petty votes. Hell, if anything lizard people vote for you. (Lizard people are from Soviet Russia.)
posted by Kiablokirk at 10:35 AM on November 20, 2008


No, they didn't vote for all of them, as gnfti explained above.

It looks like he/she voted for Lizard People for president. They wrote them in for Senate, but did not vote for them, instead filling out the circle next to Franken.

Personally I don't think Lizard People had enough experience to be president, but I did think about writing them in for Soil Commissioner.
posted by graventy at 11:01 AM on November 20, 2008


I agreed with the majority except on #6.

In theory, should we wish to go there we could randomize the location of the candidate names and crop out the names from the ballot to allow a significant improvement in the ability to impartially judge these ballots.

In all honesty I'd be in favor of it just so that the partisans could stop making bullshit challenges. The challenges in 1, 2, 9, 10 are particularly disturbing and seem to represent an intentional decision to (attempt to) disenfranchise someone.
posted by Wood at 11:52 AM on November 20, 2008


I'm in MN right now observing the recount. So far, I've visited three counties and seen challenges in two of them.

Yesterday, everybody seemed to be challenge-happy. I saw a Coleman guy challenge a bunch of opposition votes because the "Franken" bubble was shaded a hair lighter than the other bubbles on the ballot. (The official in charge quickly deemed those challenges frivolous.) The Franken people seemed just as trigger-happy to me... everybody's angling for those extra few dozen votes to throw their candidate over the top. In Ramsey County, where I was yesterday, of roughly a dozen challenges that wound up being stickered and put in an envelope (there were quite a few more challenges that were rescinded before the stickers came out), only 1 is being sent to the Canvassing Board.

Today, I saw the first challenges that, in my mind, weren't easily dismissed. In Dakota County, there was a challenge to a group of 13 ballots (7 Coleman, 5 Franken, 1 other) that had been improperly accounted for -- duplicates were mixed with originals, and the record-keeping was clearly messed up. In Ramsey Co., I saw a pair of ballots that had a clear overvote -- two candidates voted for in the same election. This one was creepy: the handwriting seemed the same. (Could be a person helping a spouse or someone else vote, but still pretty iffy.) I photographed these ballots; click here to see them.

So... yes, there's a lot of frivolous attempts to disenfranchise people, but there's some signal among the noise here. Whether or not the recount will make a meaningful determination of the victor of a statistically-tied election? That's another question altogether.
posted by cgs06 at 12:40 PM on November 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


The Lizard People were very popular in the late '70s because of their colorful costumes. There was a cowboy, a soldier, a biker, an Indian, a construction worker, and a cop.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:29 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Awesome, cgs06 -- please do keep us posted!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:03 PM on November 20, 2008


I think that is 'Al Franken and The Lizard People'.
They're a polka band.
posted by Rashomon at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2008


Looking at some of those ballots reminds me of the day I spent on a police ride-along. That was the day I learned that that a shockingly large percentage of the population spends most of their waking hours whacked out of their brains on prescription drugs and failing miserably at everything they attempt.

I once had my checkbook stolen and I reported it to the police. A few days later they had the guy. He had tried to cash a check at a check-cashing place, but he didn't know how to fill out the check. He put his name where the amount should go and wrote "cash" on the signature line. The teller, suspecting the guy, asked him for ID and he handed over his welfare card with his picture on it. This was my first big clue that petty criminals tend to be people who don't know how to make money in any other way because they have caught the stupid.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:08 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid I won't have much more to add... I didn't get to Anoka County this afternoon, and I'm heading out tomorrow. I added a few more pics here but am headed home tomorrow AM.

There's some chance I'll fly back at the end of the recount... if so, I'll report in.
posted by cgs06 at 2:47 PM on November 20, 2008


These double-digit margins fascinate me. If I understand the situation correctly, the final say is up to the Minnesota State Canvassing Board, which is comprised of two Supreme Court justices, two district court judges, and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. At least it isn't New Hampshire 1974.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:39 PM on November 20, 2008


It's almost enough to make me wish I hadn't become a citizen of Massachusetts.

Almost.
posted by voltairemodern at 7:35 PM on November 20, 2008


I rejected all ballots with marks in more than one bubble. It's really not that hard to fill out

For people who have fine motor control or vision handicaps, it really is that hard to fill out. It's entirely possible that the person filling out the ballot doesn't have corrected vision good enough to even realize that their pen left a small stray mark in another bubble, or that a person with poor motor control isn't actually capable of getting all the way through a ballot without a few small marks here and there. If you want to reject people's votes on the basis of physical disability, start with a constitutional amendment, not petty pedantry over ballot marks.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:36 PM on November 20, 2008


These double-digit margins fascinate me. If I understand the situation correctly, the final say is up to the Minnesota State Canvassing Board, which is comprised of two Supreme Court justices, two district court judges, and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

It gets better than that, even. In the event of a tie, which though unlikely is theoretically possible in this situation, the election would actually be decided by a coin toss. I shit you not, I heard Mr. Ritchie on MPR the other day and when asked about the event of a tie, he indicated that Minnesota state law mandates an arbitrarily random decision, such as a coin toss. No revote, no run-off, just a fucking nickel spinning in the air. I almost choked on my coffee when I heard that.
posted by baphomet at 12:08 AM on November 21, 2008


No revote, no run-off, just a fucking nickel spinning in the air.

A nickel? Surely there are other, better coins. The type of coin to be tossed must be decided democratically.

Sacajawea in '08!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:21 AM on November 21, 2008


A nickel? Surely there are other, better coins. The type of coin to be tossed must be decided democratically.

Sacajawea in '08!

I vote Minnesota quarter '08. Should it be a national or state election?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:26 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


It gets better than that, even. In the event of a tie, which though unlikely is theoretically possible in this situation, the election would actually be decided by a coin toss. I shit you not, I heard Mr. Ritchie on MPR the other day and when asked about the event of a tie, he indicated that Minnesota state law mandates an arbitrarily random decision, such as a coin toss. No revote, no run-off, just a fucking nickel spinning in the air. I almost choked on my coffee when I heard that.

That's just insane. Even New Hampshire 1974 was ultimately decided with a new election. How could the state that produced Bob Dylan, Prince and Jesse Ventura have taken a turn for the absurd?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:59 AM on November 21, 2008


MSTPT: and Jesse Ventura

There's your answer right there.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:50 PM on November 21, 2008


Wow. Looks like this guy wasn't happy with his choices.
posted by EarBucket at 6:37 AM on November 24, 2008


23/6 has some more contested ballots for you to vote on.
posted by EarBucket at 6:40 AM on November 24, 2008


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