One of the problems with paper ballots becomes apparent during recounts. And that is determining voter intent. What normally happens in this type of situation is that the counting board will make a decision on a particular ballot. Then one side will "challenge" the decision and the election official must make a formal decision on how to count that challenged ballot.
Why does this happen? Well, because some voters just don't follow directions.
Take the case of the Minnesota U.S. Senate race where a statewide recount is going on. Right now there are 2,240 ballots in question and the race is razor thin. Norm Coleman has 1,208,939 votes while Al Franken has 1,208,747.
The StarTribune.com has done a pretty cool thing. They have gotten images of some of the real ballots that have been challenged in the recount and they have posted them to the web. They are letting readers evaluate each ballot and determine voter intent. This is a pretty amazing opportunity for voters to get a glimpse at a sometimes very difficult and often contentious election process.
Another issue with paper ballots has surfaced in the Minnesota Senate recount - evidently 133 paper ballots are for the moment - LOST!
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