19 thoughts on “Smell Check

  1. Newt says:

    The moment at which Sutton uttered the “smell” comments, he was 100% correct: The precinct captain had not yet reconciled a huge screw up of some 400,000 votes.

    This is a non-issue.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      I’m not following your point, Newt. Do you contend that someone took 400,000 votes away from Emmer, or do you contend that Sutton’s “smell” objections are a non-issue.

      (Not being snotty or confrontational here. I legitimately am trying to understand your contention.)

      1. Newt says:


        I am referring to Hennepin County’s election night data transmission error, which temporarily doubled the vote counts sent to the state’s election returns web site. That’s what Sutton was reacting to when he uttered the “smell” comment.

        No one can dispute that a double-count in votes in the state’s largest county triggers a “smell” alert.

        This is a hulabalu over nothing.

      2. Joe Loveland says:


        First, if you look at his quote above, Sutton tied the “smell accusation” to the differentiation between the guber race tally and other race tallies, not to the issue of the double counted votes in Hennepin.

        Second, on the double counted vote front in Hennepin, a Hennepin election official, not the Republican watchers, discovered and quickly fixed the reporting error 45 minutes after it happened, pre-final tally. So I’m not seeing how that qualifies as a conspiracy. They were their own watchdog and own fixer.

        Things like inadvertant double counting can and do happen, to the benefit of both sides, and that is why we have canvassing and recounts. For what it’s worth, the subsequent canvasing in Hennepin, which is overseen by both Republican and DFL officials, found no major issues. Emmer did pick up six votes (out of something like 465,000 votes). If Emmer has a similar pick-up rate statewide, he will pick up a total of about 30 votes, and still come up 8725 votes short.

        So, is Hennepin really the centerpiece of your grand conspiracy theory?

      3. Newt says:

        That’s just it, Joe. There is no conspiracy.

        Everyone was reacting to a comment Sutton ISSUED AT A TIME when double votes were sent to the state’s election returns web site.

        After the mistake was remedied, Sutton’s comment was no longer applicable.

      4. Joe Loveland says:

        Newt, I’m sorry it took me so long to understand what you were saying. Now I get your point.

        But I do think your understanding of the timing is inaccurate. Sutton made his “smell” comments on the afternoon of November 3, but the error was identified and fixed the evening of November 2, and Sutton was aware of that.

        From the Strib:

        About 10 p.m. Tuesday (November 2), staffers in her Government Center offices were seeking to update the county’s precinct returns for the Secretary of State’s website. A staff person transmitting a large file of returns, she said, mistakenly hit “Add” rather than “Replace.”

        Updated returns were added to votes already entered, when they should have replaced them, Smith said. The subsequent county vote count was 880,000 — nearly double the actual Hennepin vote total of 470,470.

        “We immediately saw there was a problem,” Smith said. “Our first response was to take the results down from our website and the state site, but we realized we had to fix it before we got that far.”

        Staffers corrected the results on the county’s website by 11 p.m. (on November 2). But computer crashes delayed corrections on the state’s website for another hour and a half, Smith said.”

        Again, the error was fixed the evening before, but the next day Sutton, though aware of the error being long since fixed, was still ranting about odors.

  2. Barry says:

    The explanation is really quite simple. The Republicans put forward such a poor candidate, they couldn’t help but lose. If they had nominated Marty Seiffert, who’s really politically no different than Emmer, they would have won by 5%.

  3. john sherman says:

    The risk/reward ration for voter fraud is probably the worst of all felonies. Think about doing the criminal equivalent of a business plan where you select a state wide race and then figure how you commit voter fraud to (a) guarantee success and (b) not get caught.

    The only thing that has a prayer is voter suppression and that is done before an election and more or less legally.

    1. PM says:

      The thing about these claims that always strike me as silly is that such a conspiracy would have to be massive to be effective, and there is no way to hide a massive conspiracy. Given that there is never any evidence of such conspiracies, i tend not to believe in them.

      Sort of similar to the whole Santa Claus thing, you know…

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        John, your risk-reward argument is a good one. There is all this hyperbole about illegal aliens showing up in droves to vote. Right. If I’m undocumented, why in the world would I risk loss of livlihood and family in order to cast a vote, something that half the USA doesn’t want to do, even after being begged and hand-held by multi-million dollar get-out-the-vote air and ground campaigns. That issue is promoted by political hacks to spark turnout among people with immigrant resentment, not because of a legitimate threat to the integrity of the electoral system.

  4. Joe Loveland says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think Sutton really believes the conspiracy hoo-ha he is spouting.

    His ranting is to a) frighten election officials, so they understand that they will be publicly blazed if the results don’t please Sutton and b) undermine the democratic legitimacy of Governor Dayton by maintaining that he somehow rigged the election.

    It lacks integrity, but it is entertaining, in a Baghdad Bob kind of way.

    1. john sherman says:

      Because the DFL asked me I did an afternoon shift in my precinct as a poll watcher because, since my precinct has a lot of students, they were worried–needlessly–about voter suppression.

      When I voted earlier there was a woman wearing a i.d. tag declaring her a “poll challenger”; she looked a little like one of the villagers in those B horror movies where the young couple gets stranded in the remote village and eventual begin to figure out that the villagers are cannibals, werewolves, space aliens or whatever. Curious I asked about her training (the DFL had given me jack shit in the way of training) and she replied that she had been trained and certified by her chairman. She looked like she was expecting ACORN to pull up to the back door with a couple of buses full of illegal immigrants.

      When I came back in the afternoon, she had loosened up considerately and had come to realize that people working the poll were trying intelligently, competently and cheerfully to help everyone who had the right vote. Working, or even hanging around, the polls is one of those experiences like serving on a jury that makes you feel better about your fellow citizens and our institutions.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        I used to do poll watching in South Dakota in my youth. I had the same experience as you, John. It was uplifting to see how the election workers named by Republicans and Democrats (that’s how they do it in SD) cooperated, played by the rules and generally had a good time with each other while running a tight ship.

        The only thing I ever saw that grossed me out was in 2006, the year Daschle lost, when my fellow poll watcher in my assigned precinct, was a stern Catholic priest wearing his collar who glared at all of his parishioners as they walked up to cast their vote. No verbal harassment, and no laws broken, but it felt pretty clear to me that a last minute message was being sent by the church. (You might recall that was the year the local bishop banned Daschle from receiving communion, because he wasn’t deemed to be sufficiently anti-abortion…so the church was working it particularly hard in that election.)

  5. Pat says:

    Isn’t the correct answer as simple as: Horner took more votes away from Emmer than Dayton. Horner was an active Republican for 30 years after all.

  6. Bruce Benidt says:

    Sutton also forgets that Minnesotans are proud of splitting tickets. I used to. a democrat here, a republican there, a wrestler now and then. I split much less now, as I see the repubs as too often supporting the people who already have plenty. But I voted for Charlie Crist in Florida this time, a republican in wolf’s clothing, but that was mostly an anti-Rubio vote. But now I find myself – what’s happening to me? – keeping an open mind about my new senator. Maybe Rubio will hear higher notes than senators who’ve been entrenched far longer in partisan concrete. I can hope.

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