November 9th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
9 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. Sam

    I live in Minnesota and I voted for Al. How do the people of Minnesota forget that this guy Norm Coleman allied with Pharmaceutical Companies by taking money and forced the Canadian pharmacies not to sell prescription drugs to our senior citizen who were going to Canada to buy prescription medicine because the same drug in Canada manufactured by the same American pharmaceutical company cost one third of the price than here in the U.S.A. Even our Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty fought for our senior citizen until Bush and Norm went to Canada and threatened the Canadian Health Minister about cutting American Pharmaceutical supply to that country if it continues. This Norm the Crook. I call him Norm Crookman.

    November 9, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Dewey

    LF @ November 9th, 2008 10:22 am ET

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

    The current Dem lead "do nothing, lowest rated congress in history" already forgot why they were there over a year ago.

    November 9, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Nick Bruemmer

    This fiasco doesn't surprise one iota. The only way the lying Republicans can win is by fraud, cheating etc.
    The Prepublican MO has been that way since Reagon and I hope this will teach them a lesson that they can't tamper withthe publics electorate.

    November 9, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Niles, MN

    I voted Franken and still believe there are more in MN like me. I don't think I have seen one Coleman sign in Minneapolis. They are only in the Burbs.

    November 9, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. Lee, Ann Arbor, MI

    Al Franken IS THE JOKE.

    November 9, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. penny

    Though I originally lived in California and Texas, I have now adopted MN as my home state. In the suburbs of Austin, TX, where I once lived, there was a mayoral election after my subdivision was annexed – a total power grab for the tax revenue. The incumbent, whom neither my husband and I supported, only won by 2 votes. My husband and I, for whatever reason, decided not to vote in that election. Our two "no" votes would have caused a run-off.

    For those of you who live outside MN and are deriding those in the MN electorate who voted for Al Franken, take your partisanship elsewhere. It is our choice of who we select, whether you agree or not. The MN recount is an automatic process – less than 1/2 of one percent difference is the trigger; we have that here. Count every single vote. That is the only way to ensure true fairness. For those in MN who voted in this race, be glad that you did – you are making a difference.

    November 9, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. KLEE

    I agree with "Keith" we need to check into the voting system – everyone's vote should count – and there should be no doubt in the end results! (period).

    What up with Missourri? Have they tallied up for the Presidential race yet – I haven't heard anything other than McCain was ahead there??? North Carolina took a long time too – but finally went to Obama.

    I will go check – but see what we mean- this shouldn't be happening this long after election day.

    November 9, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. mn. red

    The dems. are masters at playing dirty and cheating to win. Frankin is a dufuss and a jerk. GO NORM. By the way I hope obama gets a big black ugly dog that will fit in with the rest of the family.

    November 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. mitch

    when all the votes that republicans tried to suppress are counted during the recount, franken will win.

    November 9, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. VChild

    How soon we forget! There have been several personalities with show-biz or other occupations who have successfully ventured into politics: Movies/TV (Clint Eastwood -R-mayor; Sonny Bono – R- mayor; Arnold Schwarzenegger – R- governor; Fred Grandy – R- Rep.;) Jesse Ventura – Reform – governor (wrestler) ; Jim Webb – D- Sen. (writer). Why is there such a great hue and cry about Franken? What is it about our countrymen that makes them so narrowly define people, when, in fact, so many are multi-faceted and multi-talented. By the way, both Grandy (Loveboat) and Franken are Harvard graduates. Franken graduated cum laude.

    November 9, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. kelly WI

    People voted along party lines, not for the person. Coat tails. If anyone voted straight party it wouldn't make any difference who was running.

    November 9, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Jane

    One of the greatest ironies of this is that Al Franken's books on the last two Bush "elections" opened up the discussion on voter fraud and election rigging in some well-researched and illuminating ways. Whatever happens in MN when all the votes are counted properly, at least Al will get a new book out of the process. I hope those of you who are blasting Franken as an entertainer only will take the time to read his books, or listen to some of his radio shows. Serving up horrible information with a dash of humor, albeit gallows humor, makes those bitter pills easy to experience. I have faith in the wisdom of the people. Are those of you who oppose a state-mandated recount (and are criticizing the people of Minnesota) thinking that the people of that state are unwise? The tone of this election year encouraged everyone to be more aware of the positions of the candidates: actually listen, rather than just voting along the same party lines as always. The fact that Al Franken is more enjoyable as an orator than many politicians doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's talking about. Please, folks, stop the saber rattling and accusations, let the election process play out as it should in Minnesota, have a little faith in the intelligence of the people, count every vote of those concerned citizens, and READ.

    November 9, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. mitch

    lee,ann arbor. u r the joke.

    November 9, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. me


    November 9, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. brian

    unbelievable how the Repubs complain about 'fraud' when they a. stole the presidential election in 2000, and b. have undertake a concerted effort to use the courts and any other means to suppress voting from those would likely not support them. Ethics are good only when they are convenient and support your cause.

    November 9, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Andrew Abramowitz

    Go Al

    November 9, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. matt hartley

    Dear Obama/Biden '08

    Who are you kidding!? You want Coleman to fold? Did you happen to notice that HE IS WINNING? You're insane!

    Maybe I should visit more often...tearing into you fools is fun. Of course, not all of you are fools, but I think the intellegent ones can agree with me on my points.

    November 9, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. dusin1

    The congress has been obstructed by partisan Republicans for the past two years. Which at least was a step up from the rubber stamp congress that preceded it. They gave Bush and Chaney anything they wanted. Which helped to drive the country into the ditch.

    November 9, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. go away mongers- Ventura,CA

    Typical republican tactics- If they can't win - CHEAT.

    November 9, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Ed Minnesota

    I wish to remind those seemingly hard core republicans that democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people. It is not government against the people. Every citizen has the right to accend to any elected office if teh people choose. I regard the opinion of those castigating Al voter's as insult to Minnesotans. They as well move out of minnesota if they want. Let democratic process take its due irrespective of who win: Al or coleman. It is the peoples' choice.

    November 9, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. Negative Terrestrial

    This guy is a comedian. He should stick to it.

    November 9, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Vegas

    Where is Al Gore on this... he went to court and suppressed all the Military Absentee Votes that got stamped a day late in Florida...

    Oh yea... rules only count when they help the Dems... I'm actually shocked that Al got this close... people are nuts... it's like voting for Rush which I would never do... Shock Jocks and Senate seats are not what we need...

    November 9, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. CanIcallyouJoe


    I live in St. Louis, Missouri – and the people here are just as frustrated as you are. I find it appalling that this state hasn't announced yet.

    Btw, it will most likely turn out to be McCain. We have a lot of rural citizens living here who don't know what's best for them.

    November 9, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. An American

    Every vote counts. Every one. Only "organized special interest" (a white-collar phrase, when really we mean Organized Crime) would seek to pervert the election process and subvert the voice of the people.

    Anyone, any entity, any special interest, who attempts to silence the true will of the people is an enemy of the people, is not American, and should be prosecuted, and better yet, deported!

    Just "An American's" opinion.

    November 9, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Sonny

    I think it's funny that Republicans are always trying to limit our choices, limit our rights, and exclude votes from being counted. George Bush's "axis of evil" exists right here at home, and it's called the Republican Party. I think it's pretty obvious what the Republican Party did wrong in this election... they showed their true colors as anti-freedom bigots who favor the wealthiest of the US electorate. I'm thankful our country has come to its senses, and this is just the beginning folks!

    Republicans and conservatism is on its way out. HALLELUJAH!

    November 9, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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