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. P. D.

    Go Al! Keep fighting!

    November 9, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  2. Paul T

    Too many politicians already are bad jokes. Last thing we need is a comedian elected.

    November 9, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. Paul T

    Typical of Democrats. Keep counting until we get the right answer. It's Al Gore all over again. Admit it. You lost.

    November 9, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. alan

    GO AL!!!!!!

    November 9, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  5. Norm

    Al can kiss my behind... I'll figure another way of stopping him.

    November 9, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  6. Tim

    Count all the votes, all of them, do it carefully, do it under bipartisan scrutiny, ballot by ballot, and let the chips fall where they may. We have a process for all this, you know- stop your sniveling, Norm, and act like you had a backbone.

    November 9, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  7. Andrew

    Griff, your a sickening racist who is now in the minority. We as a nation are moving in a different direction. Joe, Bush has brought us to the brink of destruction and your talking about Obama. This man is trying desperately to bring in all Americans even hateful individuals like yourself. I am so proud for a change that we have someone that cares about lower income people and not just the ultra rich. I believe in Obama, I know he will change this country for the better whether your with him or not.

    November 9, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  8. James

    I think recount is automatically triggered when the difference is < 0.5% of the vote by Minnesota State Election Law.

    I believe it starts on Nov 15.

    November 9, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  9. alan

    great job moderators letting scum like griff post. and to paul t: every vote needs counted. not jsut the republican ones, suck it up buttercup and accept the fact that the country is sick and tired of republicans who vote based on thier religion. i for one am sick and tired of have the cristian coalition what "right and wrong" are. guess what there is no right and wrong, there just is life. you can control everything let people make thier own choices no matter what i, you or anyone else has to say

    November 9, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. Eric Feinberg

    To Paul T:

    If your man really won then why is he scared of a recount. It sounds like hes scared of solving this thing democratically.

    November 9, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Joe Cool

    We'll keep counting until all voices are heard. Typical of republicans to not count all the votes

    November 9, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Andy

    "Typical of Democrats. Keep counting until we get the right answer. "

    Are you saying that this is not the way it should be done? How odd. So I guess the Republican answer then would be to not count the votes if it might yield a result you don't like?

    November 9, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  13. Rob in WA

    Paul correctly stated: "Typical of Democrats. Keep counting until we get the right answer. It's Al Gore all over again. Admit it. You lost."

    Sadly, the recounts after recounts can eventually come out in their favor (see our WA governor 4 years ago). Then, of course, once (1 out of 3 or 4 times) it comes out in their favor–it's time to stop.

    November 9, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  14. David S. Robins

    We've seent this corrupt lawyer act before. The Republicans are still trying to pull it off. After all, they did manage to steal the Presidential election in Florida in 2000. They think they can do it again, although this time only in a minor state Senatorial race. Let's all cheer and hope for Al Franken and send him money to pay the lawyers he will need while this obscene little comedy proceeds. It will be so good to see him sworn in among the other decent and respectably Senators on January 20.

    November 9, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  15. Richard

    Which says more – that Democrats voted for a comedian or that the GOP couldn't defeat a comedian?

    November 9, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  16. scott

    republicans- get the HELL out of town!

    it has got to be THE sweetest thing to witness: republicans going down in flames...; it was ALL worth the stress of anticipation of Nov 4, 2008...

    lets finally, finally, finally, work on..........getting something useful done in washington....before the next campaign begins in 2 years....LOL

    scott in NH

    November 9, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  17. Unshrub


    What is wrong with counting ALL of the ballots?

    November 9, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  18. Unshrub

    Why must republicans always try to suppress votes?

    November 9, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  19. Alz

    They call it a Democratic Machine, not out of efficiency, but because they manufacture votes.

    As we can see, that's what these Democrats are doing. They just keep finding ballots marked for Franken and none for Coleman.

    The media thinks this is normal too.

    November 9, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  20. Vinnie

    Some very pathetic, sad, people had to vote for Coleman.

    November 9, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  21. Tom

    Paul T said this: "Typical of Democrats. Keep counting until we get the right answer. It's Al Gore all over again. Admit it. You lost."

    Translation for the real world: Typical of Republicans. Suppress the vote, and if that fails, suppress the counting. Count only the votes we like.

    Face it, Paul. When more people vote, and all the votes are counted, Democrats tend to win. And that's what the future holds. Bush/Cheney showed the American people the logical extreme of the GOP's policies and practices. A lot of us didn't like what we saw, and now we're taking back our country. Yes we can! And yes we did!

    November 9, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  22. Jack Fu

    Norm Coleman is trying to circumvent democracy. How sad is it that in an election between a career politician and a comedian, the career politician turns out to be the bigger joke. Don't let the door hit your behind on your way out, Coleman!

    November 9, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  23. larrybud

    Nobody is trying to block anyone's vote. They're trying to block fraudulent votes which didn't conform to the law.

    The real question is what is the problem with people in Minnesota where Franken is actually taken seriously? This guy is a nut job and hater through and through.

    November 9, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  24. David in Minneapolis

    Norm needs to be cautious and adopt the attitude that EVERY vote counts; he already tried to proclaim victory (very prematurely) so he looks even more like a slimey Bush prodigy.

    There were three candidates in the race; he and Franken each have about 40%, so which ever one wins this, there's no mandate and Minnesotan's have long memories. If either of them "steals" the election, I'd bet that it will be their last elected office from the state.

    November 9, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  25. Florida redux

    Man this seems like Florida all over again...we have an extremely close contest that unfortunately is bringing out the worst in our political system again. Like Bush in 2000, Coleman and his team of lackeys is trying to marginalize the voters by getting some votes thrown out. First he tried to fool Franken into not calling for a recount (though state law mandates one when the final vote is so close), and now he is using the courts to get votes thrown out. Norm is evidently feeling the heat as the votes come in and he seems to be acting a bit irrationalize. I suggest to Coleman that he fall on his sword and retire now...perhaps he can get a nice job with his rich friends who have been giving him a place to live in DC and other nice amenities. C'mon Normie, drop the job and move on!

    November 9, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
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