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. Sen Widestance

    GO AL! Another fool bites the dust of democracy.
    Oh, for all those mouth breathers who knock Al's former occupation:
    Four Words–Ahhhnold Schwartzenwhatever, Ronald Reagan.

    November 9, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Jesus Praising Freedom Loving Patriot


    November 9, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Frank in Wa state

    I live in Washington State and we too had a similar problem 4 years ago in our 2004 governor race. Republican nominee Rossi and Democratic nominee Gregorie were very close in votes (less than .5%). At first the election was called for Rossi with the first automated count and again in the 2nd automated recount. It wasn't till a third and final hand count was done that Gregorie won by 129 votes! It took almost 2 months before we actually knew the voting results. Yes, it was that close! They ran against each other in this 2008 election and it wasn't very close the Democratic incumbent Gregorie won by a sizable margin.

    It is despicable to think one party or the other could stop the election process just because they're unhappy with it. This is not what is supposed to happen in our country. Let the majority of the people decide who governs. I hope this recount goes as it should in Minnesota and the people get their way, not some political party.

    November 9, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. John

    Franken is exactly what the democrats need. What he does best is call the Republicans out on their crazy BS, he is ALWAYS very well researched before he comes to a decision, and will give the Democrats in congress the "spine" which they have been lacking to stand up to the constitution-stomping Republicans.

    November 9, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Steve P. Atlanta

    REPUBLICANS ARE AS REPUBLICAN DO!!!!!! No surprise here.

    November 9, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Steve

    Well it's always interesting that those who call themselves "real American", have the most vile comments.

    So this prior poster things Obama won because of Acorn? And his middle name? lol. He won IN SPITE of these absurd campaign tactics of misinformation and propaganda.
    As for Al Franken. Well, how is it ok that Reagan, a former "B" movie actor is worshipped, yet Franken, also from the same field, because a commediene, is unworthy?
    I ask these detractors if they're read his positions, heard him speak and operate from the political side as well as his SNL notoriety?
    And if you want to speak to something funny. What could be funnier then unhappy ornery Repubs brings up voter fraud and vote counting irregularities?
    Hey you guys had the Supreme Court stop counting, annoint Dubya and this is what we had these past 8 yrs. But I guess you'll tell us it's Clinton's fault, Obama's a Muslim and we're all headed down the path of socialist state.

    November 9, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Minnesota are you kidding me?

    If I lived in Minnesota, and if Al Franken wins, I would move to another state. It is a sad commentary on the state of our nation that Franken and Obama may hold elected office in our great nation. George Washington would turn over in his grave at the thought of their agenda.

    November 9, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. DB25

    It would be great if the Democrats can pick up this seat. Now it's completely possible. Franken just has to realize that if he wins he's going to have a lot of work to do to win over the voters that didn't vote for him.

    November 9, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Cyn

    It wouldn't be the first time an entertainer was elected to a federal office, a couple names come to mind. (smile)....So if this is the only 'negative' some Republicans bloggers can come up with they are having selective memory, as usual. And when someone calling themselves 'real american' repeats inane material (hussein ACORN obama), there obviously needs to be some serious re-education. (ACORN? By now most informed voters know that McCain was one of their biggest boosters, even being the keynote speaker at an ACORN rally). So using this crud as excuse not to support Al Franken speak volumes about others motivations and credibility.

    November 9, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. jeff

    Time and again the GOP tries to exclude voters. Just shows how bankrupt of ideas they are. This will not be Florida 2000. COUNT EVERY VOTE!!!

    November 9, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Dianne

    Ever since Coleman changed ,not only his smile ,but his party affliation in mid-term....I have nothing but disgust for him!

    November 9, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Dennis

    221 votes-

    Well within the margin of error for these machines.

    November 9, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Eric

    Why does everyone keep saying republicans go out of their way to suppress votes? Do you think they learned it all by themselves? Both parties are equally guilty of such things. I realize we've gone through 8 years of Bush, but you can't blame everything on one party. As for Franken, he's a joke as a politician, but Coleman is just as much of a joke. This sounds like one of those elections where, regardless of who wins, the voters are still screwed. However, they made their choice based on how tired they were of Coleman. Sad, but true.

    November 9, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Boyd, Wylie TX

    Will everyone stop screaming about ACORN. They are in the business of collecting voter registration cards, not actually adding them to the roles, it is up to each municipality to validate each card. As for this business about even having Mickey Mouse, it is not impossible that it is someones real name. Look up in the whitepages in the Bronx NY, you will see a M Mouse.

    As for Franken, he is a smart guy (most comedians are) and would probably be able to work much better with the new Obama administration in making the changes we so desperately need. Look everyone, we have all complained that nothing gets done in Washington, lets see what the Democrats can do, it really can't be worse than what Bush has done. I guess tax cuts for 90% of us and a good health care plan as well as energy independence is so un-American.... yeah, lets go back to the rich running things. We waited 8 years for the tax cuts to the wealthy to trickle down. And look what happened!

    November 9, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Cleveland

    We need people to take a test before they can vote.

    Change is coming lets hope it does not kill us.

    November 9, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. JIM...TX

    COUNT EVERYTHING!!! Republicans had no problem with this in 2000 when they had Florida "wired".

    November 9, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. SD,Michigan

    Frankly,I don't care. I'm an extreme leftie and I still don't care. Dems can do without him, or a few others.I think Obama is going to govern from the center, which is fine by me. No biggie. If it was for me, I would've "liberated" pot, prostitution and gays, all of them. But if it doesn't happen,o h well......

    November 9, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. Dewey

    If this clown (Franken) ends up winning, it will help to describe why Obama also won.

    November 9, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. DJ

    Minnesotan here, I would just like to say that it is important to see the democratic process through to the end, regardless of the winner.

    It is wholly unfair to characterize this as an attempt by either side to get the other hand. While it may be true that both sides want parts of the process to go in their favor, the process itself doesn't care about partisan politics. Stop judging Minnesota politics through the lens of partisanship and lets all try to restrain ourselves from pointing fingers. The winner will be declared when all the votes are tallied properly in accordance with the law. There will be plenty of time for partisanship after that if you must.

    November 9, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Eric

    First I must apologize for highjacking the thread of comments but i get so annoyed that CNN closes comments. I just read everyone saying that Russia deserves to be angry because of the missile defense system as we would if they built one in Cuba. For peats sakes what do you think they are doing with war games down in Venezuala and boosting Iran's interests in the UN. These are Cold War games to them. Run them under the way Regean did. Oopse I just said the word that will make sure this doesn't stay on a CNN post.

    November 9, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. roger

    Those uncounted ballots were they there next to the voting box all day? When were they discovered?by whom? All votes should be counted if and only they are accounted for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 9, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. Eric

    John both parties are "constitution stomppers". If your mad at that become a libertarian or constitution party member. I am.

    November 9, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Sean Chong

    I'm very surprised by the ignorance or intentional neglect of some important information. The all-day blasting of ACORN before the election by some news network made some think that the Dems intentionally tried to rig the election, however, did you all know that ACORN doesn't register voters? They just fill in the forms for people, and it's up to the government to register and approve the voters. Government agencies issue any absentee ballots etc.... If you think that the Dems try to rig the election, think again about what you've just said, that highlights how STUPID and IGNORANT you are.

    November 9, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Larry in TX

    Go Al! Humor and satire are powerful tools.
    Clear the air with Frankensense and mirth.

    November 9, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Obama/Biden 08!

    If Franken wins it will be Dems 57 and Repubs 40 in the senate I can see the desperation to hold the republican seat; as one republican said 41 is still enough seats to create a filibuster without Coleman the republicans have a big problem. The republicans got slaughtered this year in the election across the country Coleman should just accept that he may very well be one of the casualities and should get out of the way so the recount can be completed and Mn can declare a winner.

    November 9, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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