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Learning from the 2008 U.S. Senate Recount Saga: Practical Reforms to Improve Minnesota Elections

by Adam Trope // Published July 20, 2009

NOTE: For updated information on recounts, see the comprehensive report: A Survey and Analysis of Statewide Election Recounts, 2000-2009


On July 10 a five person panel consisting of experts on Minnesota's election system congregated to assess both the positives and potential drawbacks of the Minnesota election state process based on what was learned from the protracted recount of the U.S. Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. Lawrence Jacobs, a Professor at the University of Minnesota, moderated the panel that was manned by four distinguished statewide prominent political figures that includes:

 

Mark Ritchie- Minnesota Secretary of State

 

Ann Rest- Senator (DFL) and Chair of State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee

 

Tom Emmer- Representative (R) and Ranking Minority Member, State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee

 

Joe Mansky- Ramsey County Elections Manager

 

During the conference, the panelists discussed both the many strengths and thoroughness of the Minnesota election system, but also pinpointed some of the key areas of potential improvement. Some of the main areas of potential improvement in the election process that were highlighted were using technology better to help update voter databases and ensure accurate voter rolls, improving transparency of election laws to the general public so there are clear guidelines for the citizens, and updating outdated laws that are based on obsolete technology.

 

Here is a link to the full 70 minute video:

http://www.hhh.umn.edu/centers/cspg/videos/recount071009.html