Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.
Otto von Bismarck
German Prussian politician (1815 - 1898)
This week the conversation revolved around the two big issues facing Minnesotans, politically. Recount and State Budget. Here's what the folks had to say:
Colleen suggested that election law needed to be changed to prevent this mess again - runoff voting - maybe instant. She thought early voting could help some of what is happening between Norm Coleman and Al Franken right now. If you could vote earlier the absentee ballots could be counted earlier which would eliminate some of the problems. Change law to implement early voting - absentee ballots could be counted earlier - now they aren't counted until the end.... might eliminate some of the problems of absentee.
Chuck understood that there would be a push for some kind of change; probably instant runoff voting. Chuck thought that instant runoff voting wouldn't help the situation at hand that it's meant to deal with 3rd and 4th candidates. The margin of victory is so small. According to Chuck, it's not the mechanism of voting that is the problem - but the quality - a coin flip would be as good as what is happening...
Colleen - She didn't like that that candidates like Governor Tim Pawlenty and Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken are not winning by majority.... this came from instant run off voting - top of the ballot whether its us senate or governor - Tim Pawlenty has never had a majority of voters - need a mechanism where someone can "protest" the candidates but yet choose the least offensive to them as their official vote
Chuck doesn't think that election reform could change what happened - it's a statistical tie - and there is always a margin of error and that's a fact - only thing is completely different system and its not justified because this is unlikely to happen again, just like this.
Colleen said that early voting would cost somewhat more but not as much as the recount is costing us right now.
Chuck went on to say that early voting doesn't change Coleman's issues/battles right now with the recount -He believes that the call for reform is fine but it overlooks that we have 2 candidates with the same amount of votes - coin toss - we're not that accurate and we need to admit that -
Colleen said that there is actually a minnesota law with an exact tie coin toss.
Chuck said that this recount is like a game of 3 million card pickup - how many times are you going to count 3 million and get the same number twice?
Colleen added that the election judges are over 50 - late at night - dealing with all the issues - lot less likely to make mistakes if it had been counted the day before - if there were early voting -
Scott moved on to the issues of the Minnesota Legislature facing the budget crisis
Chuck wanted to say "Let the bloodbath begin" with the opening of legislative session. Chuck said that he is actually pretty optimistic about the budget - he felt the 2 parties have been pretty civil and everyone realizes we are in pretty deep here - there's going to be some partisanship ex. taxes, and some grounds have been staked out. But overall, Chuck was optimistic about tone and results will make sense at the end of the day. But he added, it's going to be brutal.
Colleen on the other hand, was not optimistic. She didn't think the parties were being civil at all and especially Governor Tim Pawlenty. Colleen's view is that he is doing as he always does - saying I'm governor and as long as you do what I say it's okay.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Help us continue this conversation - how would you tweak the election system? What would you do about the budget crisis if you were in the Legislature?
Tune in every Thursday morning at 7:20 for Making Sausage on KAXE with Colleen and Chuck!