November 9th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Franken sees boost in nail-biter election

Former President Clinton campaigned with Al Franken a week before Election Day.

Former President Clinton campaigned with Al Franken a week before Election Day.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - In a move that could be seen as a benefit to Democrat Al Franken, a Minnesota judge Saturday denied a request from incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign to block certain uncounted absentee ballots from being counted in a race separated by–at latest tally–just over 200 votes in Coleman's favor.

That slim margin has narrowed since the first tallies earlier in the week. In total, almost 3 million ballots were cast.

According to the court request, the Coleman campaign sought an "emergency temporary injunction" preventing election officials from unsealing, opening, or tallying any absentee ballots that were not inside an official ballot box by midnight election night.

Specifically, the Coleman team was looking to block 32 uncounted ballots from the city of Minneapolis, according to the campaign in the request. They say they were notified late Friday night that these ballots were to be counted the next day.

In a statement, Coleman recount attorney Fritz Knaak said the purpose of the request "was to secure those ballots until we could receive some kind of testimonial assurance, some proof, that they hadn’t been tampered with, that they had been secured and that there will be no question in the mind of the electorate that there had been any wrong doing."

Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin turned down the request "for lack of jurisdiction."

Franken spokesman Andy Barr called it a "sneak attack" on the part of the opposing campaign because he says no one in the Democrat's campaign found out about the motion until an hour before the court hearing on Saturday.

"They are, to us, pretty clearly trying to do whatever they can to cast doubt on this extremely routine process of canvassing and checking the tabulations and trying to freeze the votes where they were election night where coleman had a [greater] lead," Barr told CNN.

Minnesota law mandates a recount when election results are this close.

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman • Popular Posts • Senate
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Phil in KC

    Good luck, Al!

    November 8, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  2. Robert Wooller Bradford England UK

    Al Franken is a great man and should have annihilated his opponent surely. How bad does it have to get before people will finally desert the GOP? Al has written books and is very knowledgeable with some great ideas, so I hope he wins.

    November 8, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  3. Griff

    I Guess America is all Black today... I sugest you go back t9o Africa...
    Obama is History after 2012... The Black American are also History.. You will never get Elected again... Yoti Kwenda.....Embakazi.... KwaHeri...

    November 8, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  4. Jim D. in Costa Mesa

    This time Al IS running against PETE TAGLIANNI, a real scumbag Republican. Keep going Al. You'd make a great governor. We could use a guy like you out here in California. Best of luck!

    November 8, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  5. DL

    Clinton has proven in this photo he would endorse ANY DEM, no matter how detrimentally ignorant that person may be.
    Franken supercedes all political affiliations to personify the word
    DEMEANING to politics.

    November 8, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  6. Independent Thinker

    " block certain uncounted absentee ballots from being counted..."


    What possible justification could any American have for blocking certain votes from being counted?!

    November 8, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  7. Mario jordan

    maybe the dems will win that seat to make it 58 dems!

    November 8, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  8. Kodi Kodie

    After reading Al Franken's "The Truth", I'm not surprised he's hung in against another member of the Republican Guard. I think the people deserve honest and representative government. Good luck with the recount Minnesota.

    November 8, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  9. Franken Fan

    I was a big fan of Al Franken's show on Air America Radio and I have one of his books and it is AWESOME. I just hope that they count all the votes in Minnesota like they SHOULD have done in Florida in 2000, and while personally I hope Al Franken comes out on top and gets to be Senator, I respect the democratic process and whoever wins wins. We ought to respect the democratic process here and just make sure all the votes are counted, and if Norm Coleman ends up winning after that process is all over, that's OK too.

    November 8, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  10. Tom

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Al. Don't concede until the bitter end.

    November 8, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. trish, nc

    Are those rascal Republicans still attempting to tamper with vote counting?

    Seems like the Dems' nearly take-all win, after 8 yrs. of unscrupulous behavior by Bush and the Republicans, would've taught 'em that most of the electorate has had enough.

    Read that again: We've had enough. Mr. Franken, keep up your fight to keep the vote honest and thorough.

    November 8, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  12. Steve

    Let’s see more mysterious boxes of “ballots” showed up to “Vote” for Franken.

    If you can’t win, cheat !!! Ask the US Attorney General to intervene.

    More of the same.........................

    November 8, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  13. Andrew from Illinois

    Go Franken! Beat Coleman and show everyone what an upset looks like!

    November 8, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  14. Enjoying life to the fullest! :)

    Count them. EVERYONES vote counts do they not?...

    November 8, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  15. Rob indetroit

    Good for Franken don't fold like Gore. keep on fighting.

    November 8, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  16. carter from mn

    Sounds to me like good ol' Norm Coleman is going to do anything to stay in power. The only problem is that us we Minnesotans wont stand for that shenanigans.

    November 8, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  17. Cynthia

    The real ones cheating here are the Democrats. They say certain people were told to vote for Coleman. The real issue is how many people who are voting who are not eligible or in other cases, since MN has same day registration you had people vouching for others they did not know all day long.

    November 8, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  18. Sparlimb

    Once again mysterious ballots are found and are all for Al Franken. Keep it up Al, you guys just need a few hundred more newly found votes to win. What an amazing fraud being levelled on the state of Minnesota.

    November 8, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  19. Dennis

    Of course, here we go again with the Republicans do not want to get every vote counted. Give me a break. Franken has lost even if each of these 32 votes are counted and all vote for Franken. Its just like 2000, keep counting until the number of votes is where we want it. This has election fraud written all over it. The longer this goes on the more likely someone tilts the victory over to Franken.

    November 8, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. Marie

    To Steve, no one knows for sure WHO those ballots are for or against, as far as I can tell here in Minnesota. It could be that those ballots would put Coleman farther ahead. State law mandates a recount at .5 percent or less. This is at about .001 percent. Being an election judge, I want to be sure that the votes are counted correctly (machines sometimes can not read a vote where a circle isn't completely filled in, for example) when the race is this close.

    Minnesota prides itself in high voter turnout and fair elections. This one will be fair as well.

    November 8, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  21. OurnextPresident

    Al I hope that all the votes are counted go get them those GOP people have no respect for voters.

    You can do it and will make a great US Senator.

    November 8, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  22. Voter

    Republicans trying to block votes AGAIN??

    Voter Purging
    Voter Suppression

    ALL by Republicans in 5 states... and they had the nerve to point a finger at ACORN!

    November 8, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  23. Tim

    If the recount happens to say that Franken actually won then that is what it is. If on the other hand it proves that Coleman, than that is what it is. I think this recount, which is a law, is known as making sure who won fair and square. Some Repubs just seem to whine about following certain laws. Just be careful when the other person in the airport bathroom wants to peek which seems to be common at the Minneapolis airport by certain lawmakers.

    November 8, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  24. Rob the Physicist

    Gee, Griff, your comments are quite a shock in this day and age. I would have thought that bigotry would have died a quiet death due to the constant inbreeding that occurs within their tiny, shrinking group.

    November 8, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  25. Melanie

    Isn't this why we have election laws on the books in the first place?

    If state election law demands a recount, then recount the votes. If the normal procedure is to count all of the votes, then count all of the votes.

    Trying to get the courts to intervene after the fact is just an idiotic display of childishness.

    November 8, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
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