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. Harry, IL

    This is what it is. Democrats will count and count and count. Plus there are votes from ACCORN. I am sure some people have voted twice, thrice. Then Al Franken (joker) becomes senator

    November 9, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  2. JAM

    C'mon Normy. Be a man as well as an AMERICAN and Stop trying to suppress the vote.

    November 9, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  3. Someday a Blue ND

    I don't understand, why is every Republican angry at this recount? Neither side could change it if they wanted to, it's Minnesota law that they HAVE to recount. As far as the absentee ballots go, those represent 32 Americans whose votes deserve to be counted, either for Coleman or Frankin.

    November 9, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  4. Captain Regan


    November 9, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  5. Jack

    This is America and we need to count all the votes! We just suffered through eight years of George Bush because we didn't count all the votes and all we have to show for it is a looming worldwide depression.

    November 9, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  6. Jack

    One person one vote – count them all.

    November 9, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |

    Paul T:

    Less then 300 votes separate them now,

    they used subpar equipment to scan the ballots.

    Why not make sure this is really the way Minnesota voted?

    Would you concede a race in which over 3 million votes were cast if you were less than 300 votes from your opponent? I think not.

    November 9, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  8. John, Ca

    The republicans screaming about ACORN was a smokescreen for their own voter suppression and voter fraud.

    Count all the votes, this is not Russia even though it's are close to Sarah's hometown.

    November 9, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  9. Lynne M

    The wrangling above is really beside the point. The margin of victory is so small that Minnesota law dictates that there should be a recount. The only way to avoid a recount is for the person who has fewer votes to waive it. Why should either man waive a recount? The law exists for a reason – not to benefit a party, but to ensure that the will of the voters is known beyond doubt. I say count the votes - if voters went out of their way to exercise their right to vote, then those votes should be counted.

    November 9, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  10. Stewart

    Go Al! I think it would be great if he were to become Senator Franken. I have read a few of his books, and I was taken aback by his insight and thoughtfulness

    November 9, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  11. Geoffrey


    Are these republicans that are whining about Minnesota following their OWN laws that require recount when the total is 1/2 of 1 percent? Republicans that are so contemptuous of the rule of law? And these republicans claim to be pro-American patriots that put country first yet prefer such a fundamental right of democracy denied to its citizens during a mandatory recount?

    And you wonder why your party image is that of a bunch of thugs and criminals that care more about power than allowing the democratic process be realized?

    Please explain, you GOP whiners, what distinguishes your principles with that of fascists?

    November 9, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  12. Real American

    Al would be another blow to the integrity of our country! Don't even start talking about voter fraud...look at president elect husein ACORN obama!!

    November 9, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  13. DavidB

    Wow, what comments about Al Franken. I have to ask though – if he is such a loser, what does it say about the quality of the GOP candidate that he is hanging on to his Senate seat by the skin of his teeth? Is that the best they can come up with? It seems that if he were so great and such a boon to Minnesota, the incumbent should not be having this problem.

    November 9, 2008 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  14. V

    Those that make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable. -JFK Count 'em up.

    November 9, 2008 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  15. pete

    Typical republican. Lie cheat and steal for power and money. Bye bye Coleman its our turn for a few decades.

    November 9, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  16. KKT

    RE: Milwaukee. The dorm had more students REGISTERED than it held. That doesn't mean that more students VOTED; it means that the voter rolls weren't cleaned up after people voted in the primaries earlier this year and that a new group of students came in this fall. That's very likely when there's an election in one school year and one in the next with not too much time in between.

    November 9, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  17. Todd Winchester

    If the people of Minn. elect this idiot from Sat.Night LIve......this is the dumbest state in the Union.......Minn and Mich are the too biggest jokes called states......

    November 9, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Progressive Veteran

    Coleman has been and continues to be a disgusting politician. He – like the rest of his very bad GOP friends – will stop at nothing to thwart the legitimate vote by our citizens for anyone but himself. The fact that nearly 1/2 the total votes were against him seems to have no effect on his outlook. Like George W. Bush before him, Coleman seems to think he's been given a "mandate". He has largely been useless for the people of MN. Should he will, we the people of MN will be the losers.

    November 9, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Debby

    Its a sad day when the other candidate can't beat Franken. Gosh Americans went "Rouge" this year. LOL

    November 9, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. WDRussell

    Win or loose with Al, he showed America something.
    Now I am waiting for all of the other talking heads on radio to put down their mics and run for office.

    November 9, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  21. LF

    With Al Franken in the Congress, we'll have more CHANGE until others will have to re-define the WORD CHANGE. On the other hand, whoever finally wins the count deserve the JOB!!

    Al may keep the Congress in "laughing stiches" until they may forget why they are there!!!

    Good Luck to the Winner and Let us move on to more important issues for the sake of the Nation!!

    November 9, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. zorba

    The Republican party has adopted voter supppression as an overt and, to them, legitimate strategy for winning elections. What is wrong with this picture?

    November 9, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. JJ

    I find it comical that those who put down a candidate who made a career out of political commentary put an ACTOR(RR) on a pedestal!

    November 9, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. MelissainMinneapolis

    I voted for Franken in this election although, to be honest, I think a Coleman reelection isn't the worst thing that could happen.

    That said, please don't disparage our state or Mr. Franken even if you support his opponent.

    First, when did it become a sin to be funny? Sometimes, a sense of humor is the only thing that keeps people sane and diffuses a situation. I work at the theater in Minneapolis where he got his start (the oldest satirical comedy theater in the country) and let me tell you – you have to be sharp and knowledgeable to do good satire.

    Second, in addition to his stint on SNL he also helped found a talk radio station and has published several political books in the style of the great journalist and commentator Molly Ivins.

    I will not scream fraud if Coleman wins so please show some respect and do the same if Franken wins.

    November 9, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Robyn Harris

    It really is sad to see Mr. Coleman devolving before our very eyes. He really has become an old style, old boy Republican, heart and soul. For Norm, no trick is too dirty, no action is too corrupt, no lie is too obscene, no word is too tainted, as long as you win.

    It will be a breath of fresh air and a moment of hope when the truth of this election is finally allowed to prevail and Mr. Coleman can join Mr. Bush in trying to find honest work for a change.

    November 9, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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