November 13th, 2008
04:50 PM ET
5 years ago

Franken files suit for data on rejected absentee ballots

Al Franken filed a lawsuit on rejected absentee ballots Thursday.
Al Franken filed a lawsuit on rejected absentee ballots Thursday.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Democrat Al Franken's campaign filed a lawsuit Thursday in Ramsey County, Minnesota, requesting the names of all individuals who filed a rejected absentee ballot in the Senate race between the former comedian and incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

Mark Elias, lead recount attorney for Franken, said many absentee ballots are rejected for insufficient reasons, offering the example of an elderly woman who'd suffered a recent stroke which affected her signature, and kept it from matching the one her county had on file.

"This is not a lawsuit about putting ballots in the count or not in the count," Elias said. "This is about giving us access to the data that will allow us to determine whether or not there are lawful ballots...[that] werent counted."

The current tally of votes puts Coleman 206 votes ahead of Franken out of about 2.5 million cast in that contest. A hand recount of the Senate race is set to begin November 19.

Elias told reporters at a Thursday press conference that the campaign has asked each county for a list of the people whose absentee ballots were rejected. Elias, along with Franken spokesman Andy Barr, could not say exactly how many counties have offered their lists and how many have not, but added that Ramsey County has not.

The campaign's hope, according to Elias, is that Ramsey County would side in their favor and set a precedent that would immediately be followed by all counties in the state.

Elias and Barr could not say what they plan do with the lists of names if were given them but added that calling each person whose absentee ballot was rejected would not be out of the picture.

"Lets see what happens and then we will see what our next steps are," Elias said.

Whether or not any of the rejected ballots might be counted or not is unclear, but Elias said he does plan on making an appeal to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's newly-formed canvassing board. A spokesman for the Secretary of State's office was not immediately available for comment.

Coleman campapign manager Cullen Sheehan fired back, calling the Franken team's efforts Thursday an attempt to "strong arm" officials into "counting invalid ballots in order to influence the outcome."

"We have grave concerns that the private information requested by the Franken campaign could lead to the harassment of Minnesota voters through visits by Franken campaign or Democratic Party operatives to their homes," said Sheehan.


Filed under: Al Franken
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. John

    Geez Franken, just accept it. Just like America in the presidential election...you lost.

    November 13, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. EW

    Franken is just a sore loser.

    I don't even know if he still has his radio 'show' but when he was on air he was full of hate and contempt. He used to be a funny guy and it is sad to see him stoop to the level he is at right now. I wonder what happened to him to turn him into such a hateful man?

    November 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Ancient Texan

    Looks like Franken is trying to find a way to steal it, if the recount doesn't steal it.

    November 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. MD, TX

    Of course! Franken has to wait until the votes from Chicago and Acorn arrive by truck.

    November 13, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Ron - Saint Louis

    I'm really tired of all this bickering. As citizens of the United States, our greatest priviledge is to vote for our representatives. Somehow, we have lost sight of that and begin rejecting ballots and denying people the opportunity to vote because of incomplete records, poor accounting, and reasons that are simply illegal.

    I don't particularly support either candidate but I do believe every one that showed up to vote should have their vote counted. I think it is appropriate we know who's ballots have been rejected and for what reason the state determined that those votes should not count.

    I am truly appaud that our country has lost it way. We need a federal election system and a national set of rules.

    November 13, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Matt

    Awesome. Give it to them from behind Al.

    November 13, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Amanda

    Just another sore loser....give it up and quit wasting time and taxpayer money on a recount!

    November 13, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Hopeful for Tomorrow

    If that woman's vote was discounted because of a post-stroke signature, that is deplorable. I don't care if its the vote that decides the entire election, it is absolutely reprehensible.

    November 13, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Valerie

    sorry al franken, you lost. now the dems are trying to steal this election.

    November 13, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Wise White Guy

    Go get em Al!

    November 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Vickie

    ACORN! That's too funny! Not original--but funny.
    What a nut! :)

    November 13, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Larry

    What ,another Democrat JOKER-Al move on.

    November 13, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. GF, VA

    This is terrible and pathetic.

    I cannot believe that people are so hungry for power that they distort the right of citizens and inflate vote tallies. Only in America.

    November 13, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. Kathy from Seattle

    Absolutely hysterical that the Republicans are crying about the same stuff – voter irregularity – that they pulled in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. What goes around comes around. COUNT EVERY VOTE!!! Onward to 60 Democratic Senators!!!

    November 13, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. Jodi K

    hey, MD from Texas... don't comment on things obviously above your intelligence level. Remember, Minnesota has one of the best educational systems in the country, and Texas is full of people that think GWB is a genius.

    Your opinion on our Senate race is like a kindergartner advising a brain surgeon. Keep it to yourself hillbilly, and stay in the south with the rest of your idiot friends.

    November 13, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Debby, NJ

    MD, TX
    You need to get a life...don't cry, everything will be alright...just change your party to DEMOCRAT !!!

    November 13, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. Indepedent

    They should just have a revote

    November 13, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. Gregg

    This is one bad joke too many.

    November 13, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Larry, GA

    Franken is a stupid guy. Democrats have these stupid candidates and they will do anything to get re-elected. I hope they reject all votes that came through Acorn. I hope Barack is listening because he also got elected due to Acorn.

    November 13, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. Jennifer Miller

    too bad for Al Franken, my friends and I voted for Norm Coleman and agaist Franken, we all are Democrats and voted also for Obama, but we count'n vote for this racist Franken.
    I know of many others Democrats who despite this man.

    November 13, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. Fred

    The vote screening process is broken and needs an overhaul.
    We need to purge the election officials who deny citizens their rights.
    It hurts to know an old lady is denied her vote on such pettiness.
    Good for Franken to stand up for her rights.

    November 13, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. Dennis

    Be like Washington's Governor race of 2004. Keep counting and finding votes until you get the results you want.

    November 13, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. Deb from Minnesota

    The absentee ballots should be counted and I don't think that the Franken campaign is going to haress voters...especially with the media and attention that this race is getting.

    November 13, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. tobasco

    why don't they just flip a coin and get this mess over with.

    November 13, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Andrew, OH

    I love that whatever party is the threatened one, whether it be Democrats or Republicans they want to keep their power and make excuses on why certain votes should not be counted. All votes should be counted, that is democracy, and the will of the American people. When anyone tries to manipulate the election and change the people's choice, democracy looses and liberty is crushed. All votes must be counted.

    November 13, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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