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  1. #1
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    Democrat Al Franken will be declared the winner of the tight U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota

    MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) Democrat Al Franken will be declared the winner of the tight U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, emerging from a ballot recount with a slim margin over Republican Norm Coleman, state officials said on Sunday.
    But Coleman, the incumbent, has asked Minnesota's supreme court to require that a few hundred additional absentee ballots be included in the recount -- and he could then ask the court to investigate the contest all over again.
    "At the moment, Franken has a 225-vote lead," after the weekend counting of what were deemed the last uncounted absentee ballots, said Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat who oversaw the process.
    Ritchie said unless the supreme court acts on Coleman's request and orders more ballots to be counted, he will reconvene the state's Canvassing Board on Monday to certify Franken as the winner of the November 4 contest.
    Even so, Coleman's campaign said it will likely challenge the result, which would require the state supreme court's chief justice to appoint three judges to investigate its claims.
    Hundreds of absentee voters were "disenfranchised," other votes were double-counted, and still other ballots that went missing were counted anyway, Coleman's campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said in a statement.
    "We remain convinced that this process is broken, and as a result, the numbers being reported will not be accurate or valid ... (It) clearly means that a contest is the only likely remedy to ensure a fair outcome," Sheehan said.
    SATIRIST
    Franken, 57, is a well-known satirist who wrote for and starred on NBC television's long-running comedy show "Saturday Night Live," and more recently hosted a liberal radio show before running for the Senate from his home state.
    Coleman, 59, just completed his first term that he won by defeating Walter Mondale, the former Democratic presidential candidate who stood in for Sen. Paul Wellstone. Wellstone died in a plane crash during his 2002 reelection campaign.
    The recount of some 2.4 million votes cast for the pair has swung back and forth over several weeks. Coleman initially held the edge, but his narrow victory margin necessitated the recount under state law.
    The Canvassing Board sifted through hundreds of ballots contested by the two campaigns.
    "The recount has been done so precisely, and so transparently," it would be difficult to envision a challenge succeeding, Ritchie said.
    Senate Republicans have pledged not to seat Franken provisionally while the race is still in doubt. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York urged that Franken be seated, which would expand the party's majority to 58 of the 100 members.
    But Republican Sen. John Cronyn of Texas issued a sharply worded statement saying "Sen. Schumer's exultations are premature to say the least."
    "There is the pending Supreme Court case and likely election contest that will ultimately decide, consistent with Minnesota law, who won the election," Cronyn said.
    President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat in Illinois is still in limbo. The Senate's Democratic leadership is promising not to seat Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appointee, Roland Burris, due to the taint of corruption charges hanging over the governor. Among those are charges are that he tried to sell the seat for campaign cash or jobs.

  2. #2
    jmur5074's Avatar
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    Good lord, not only are we the new Florida, but that whack job has a political position in my state.
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    Morris is offline Chief Wheaties Pisser
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    By hook or by crook, Dems will get their elected positions.

    Is Minnesota becoming the California of the upper midwest?

  4. #4
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    I'm still waiting for the rest of the cast of Predator to run for Governor in their home states.

  5. #5
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    I guest it's a coincidence that the recount is over now that Al Franken has finally moved into the lead. Chevy Chase for Governor.
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  6. #6
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    But Coleman, the incumbent, has asked Minnesota's supreme court to require that a few hundred additional absentee ballots be included in the recount
    Ok I'll ask. These didn't count the first time? And if they didn't why vote in the first place if your vote doesn't count?
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  7. #7
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    Ironically, Comedian Franken's biggest joke ever might just be at the expense of Minnesota voters.

    Even the Wall Street Journal calls this "dubious"...

    Funny Business in Minnesota

    In which every dubious ruling seems to help Al Franken.


    Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.

    Mr. Franken started the recount 215 votes behind Senator Coleman, but he now claims a 225-vote lead and suddenly the man who was insisting on "counting every vote" wants to shut the process down. He's getting help from Mr. Ritchie and his four fellow Canvassing Board members, who have delivered inconsistent rulings and are ignoring glaring problems with the tallies.

    Under Minnesota law, election officials are required to make a duplicate ballot if the original is damaged during Election Night counting. Officials are supposed to mark these as "duplicate" and segregate the original ballots. But it appears some officials may have failed to mark ballots as duplicates, which are now being counted in addition to the originals. This helps explain why more than 25 precincts now have more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. By some estimates this double counting has yielded Mr. Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes.

    This disenfranchises Minnesotans whose vote counted only once. And one Canvassing Board member, State Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson, has acknowledged that "very likely there was a double counting." Yet the board insists that it lacks the authority to question local officials and it is merely adding the inflated numbers to the totals.
    In other cases, the board has been flagrantly inconsistent. Last month, Mr. Franken's campaign charged that one Hennepin County (Minneapolis) precinct had "lost" 133 votes, since the hand recount showed fewer ballots than machine votes recorded on Election Night. Though there is no proof to this missing vote charge -- officials may have accidentally run the ballots through the machine twice on Election Night -- the Canvassing Board chose to go with the Election Night total, rather than the actual number of ballots in the recount. That decision gave Mr. Franken a gain of 46 votes.

    Meanwhile, a Ramsey County precinct ended up with 177 more ballots than there were recorded votes on Election Night. In that case, the board decided to go with the extra ballots, rather than the Election Night total, even though the county is now showing more ballots than voters in the precinct. This gave Mr. Franken a net gain of 37 votes, which means he's benefited both ways from the board's inconsistency.

    And then there are the absentee ballots. The Franken campaign initially howled that some absentee votes had been erroneously rejected by local officials. Counties were supposed to review their absentees and create a list of those they believed were mistakenly rejected. Many Franken-leaning counties did so, submitting 1,350 ballots to include in the results. But many Coleman-leaning counties have yet to complete a re-examination. Despite this lack of uniformity, and though the state Supreme Court has yet to rule on a Coleman request to standardize this absentee review, Mr. Ritchie's office nonetheless plowed through the incomplete pile of 1,350 absentees this weekend, padding Mr. Franken's edge by a further 176 votes.


    Both campaigns have also suggested that Mr. Ritchie's office made mistakes in tabulating votes that had been challenged by either of the campaigns. And the Canvassing Board appears to have applied inconsistent standards in how it decided some of these challenged votes -- in ways that, again on net, have favored Mr. Franken.
    The question is how the board can certify a fair and accurate election result given these multiple recount problems. Yet that is precisely what the five members seem prepared to do when they meet today. Some members seem to have concluded that because one of the candidates will challenge the result in any event, why not get on with it and leave it to the courts? Mr. Coleman will certainly have grounds to contest the result in court, but he'll be at a disadvantage given that courts are understandably reluctant to overrule a certified outcome.

    Meanwhile, Minnesota's other Senator, Amy Klobuchar, is already saying her fellow Democrats should seat Mr. Franken when the 111th Congress begins this week if the Canvassing Board certifies him as the winner. This contradicts Minnesota law, which says the state cannot award a certificate of election if one party contests the results. Ms. Klobuchar is trying to create the public perception of a fait accompli, all the better to make Mr. Coleman look like a sore loser and build pressure on him to drop his legal challenge despite the funny recount business.

    Minnesotans like to think that their state isn't like New Jersey or Louisiana, and typically it isn't. But we can't recall a similar recount involving optical scanning machines that has changed so many votes, and in which nearly every crucial decision worked to the advantage of the same candidate. The Coleman campaign clearly misjudged the politics here, and the apparent willingness of a partisan like Mr. Ritchie to help his preferred candidate, Mr. Franken. If the Canvassing Board certifies Mr. Franken as the winner based on the current count, it will be anointing a tainted and undeserving Senator.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisipso View Post
    Ok I'll ask. These didn't count the first time? And if they didn't why vote in the first place if your vote doesn't count?
    I was under the impression that along with the recount, there were a certain number of challenged ballots submitted by each candidate. Perhaps that's the case?
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  9. #9
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    I'm ashamed of my state and our voters. Franken is a joke (and not a funny one).
    The views expressed in the above post are the sole opinion of the author and do not reflect any official position by the author's employer and/or municipality.

  10. #10
    krauty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gopherpuckfan View Post
    I'm ashamed of my state and our voters. Franken is a joke (and not a funny one).
    x 50

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morris View Post
    By hook or by crook, Dems will get their elected positions.

    Is Minnesota becoming the California of the upper midwest?
    I didn't know my state was getting so close to Canada and all those lakes. No wonder why I was freezing today.


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  12. #12
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Franken has officially been declared the winner, and a state court just rejected one of Coleman's appeals.

  13. #13
    pgg's Avatar
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    pgg is offline Damnit, I'm hungry again.
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    I hate to say it but it doesn't say much about Coleman that he is having this much trouble against Franken. He should have won it out right
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  14. #14
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgg View Post
    I hate to say it but it doesn't say much about Coleman that he is having this much trouble against Franken. He should have won it out right

    Minnesota isn't strictly conservative, I'd say its pretty close to middle of the road. And it's not just one republican there that's failing at elections. We are going to have to suffer for a bit with libs in office everywhere. It's the price we pay.

  15. #15
    jmur5074's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post
    Minnesota isn't strictly conservative, I'd say its pretty close to middle of the road. And it's not just one republican there that's failing at elections. We are going to have to suffer for a bit with libs in office everywhere. It's the price we pay.

    We are very very very quickly turning into an outright blue state.
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  16. #16
    Morris is offline Chief Wheaties Pisser
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    This is nearly the play-by-play we dealt with in 2004 in Washington's governor race. Repub barely in the lead at first, barely in the lead at the second recount and magically barely behind at the third recount. He ultimately took the high road and conceeded. Since that time, the Democrat governor has grossly overspent the budget and money and drained the "rainy day fund." The state is rather close to insolvency by her actions.

    Minnesota is in for an unfortunate ride.

 

 

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