November 13th, 2008
04:50 PM ET
6 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. cyrusk

    TO CLOSE FOR COMFORT !

    200 VOTES OUT OF TWO AND HALF A MILLION VOTES AMOUNTS TO LESS THAN ONE TENTH OF A PERCENT (<< ONE THOUSANDTH).
    WHY COLMAN DOES NOT WANT A RECOUNT? OBVIOUSLY HE FEARS TO LOSE.
    FRANKEN HAS A RIGHT, BY STATE LAW FOR RECOUNT AND LOOK INTO VOTES REJECTION PROCESS. IF NUMBER OF SUCH REJECTION WERE EQUAL AFFECTING THE CANDIDATES THEN ONE CAN SAY THAT THE BOARD HAS ACTED FAIRLY. BUT IF IT FAVORS COLMAN THEN YOU HAVE A PROBLEM..

    ANOTHER PROBLEM IS THE DIFFERENCIAL BETWEEN THE VOTES CAST FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND SENATE CANDIDATES. THE BALLOTES THAT SCREENERS HAVE NOT DETECTED A SENATE VOTE SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED AND CHECKED. (LOOK ALSO FOR PENCIL ERASER MARKS HAHA )

    November 13, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. witch

    My signature was checked against my drivers license when I voted. So yes they do check.

    November 13, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Al Gets Wild

    Politics is a bloodsport, and Franken is no different from any other man. I hope he wins, the GOP deserves to lose because they're losers.

    Go Al Franken.

    November 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Maya

    I wish a different Al had been so persistent in Florida in 2000 . . . . the world would be a different place.

    November 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. annie - never again a dem.

    Why would anyone vote for frankenstien?

    November 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. Ghost

    Keep fighting Al make sure all our votes are counted

    November 13, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. annie - never again a dem.

    How can absentee ballots be riding around in the trunk of a car?
    Hasn't obama sent acorn there yet?

    November 13, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. sawdust kid

    You go Franken,,, Just like the other big whiner.... Al Gore!!!

    November 13, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Damon

    Why would anybody say Franken is being a sore loser or is trying to steal the election? An automatic recount is being triggered by law because the difference in votes like like 0.01%.

    He may have won anyway, but this is an effort to make sure there's no disenfranchisement going on.

    November 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. Steve

    Nice to see the anti-Franken "Democrats" here. I guess that Operation Chaos has a new project going!

    November 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. DL

    Al Franken should file suit to affirm he is too ignorant and incapable of holding a county commissioner's seat, much more a US Senate seat.

    Furthermore, given some of the results of this election, there is an ever strenghtening testament for a Mandatory Voter Competency Test and ID Card.
    Isn't that a part of the socialist agenda, ACORN? Strategize the vote?

    November 13, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Davis, Minnesota

    I do not want another election tied up in the courts!

    I do not like Franken and did not vote for him. Of course, I could say the same for Coleman.

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    November 13, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Bs

    Mrs. Palin calling from a Miami Sportsbar is convinced that the signs in the sun, the moons, and the stars should be imminent.

    November 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Frank in FLA

    What is most bothersome about this is that it will cost the people of Minnesota money to find out something that in the end will not prevent the need or the run-off.

    I would have thought Al Franken a bit more considerate of his constituency given today's economy.

    November 13, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. lovable liberal

    "I am concerned that someone would give out my name and address to a political campaign when I vote, either by regular or absentee ballot."

    Sorry, Joe Green, this is BS. The names of people who have voted is a matter of public record. Keeping the ballot secret is about keeping the actual choices secret, not the fact of voting.

    November 13, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. bernie from Maryland

    AL Franken?

    You've got ot be kidding!!

    November 13, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. Nija

    Please Franken, do not give up because you are the voice of the people.

    November 13, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  18. Me

    Al Franken is such a douche. Have you heard that now he thinks every vote for Obama should also be a vote for him? It's pathetic that he is the best the dems in Minnesota could come up with. It's even more pathetic that so many morons here are supporting him just because he's a democrat.

    November 13, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  19. LOU

    STICK IN THERE MR. FRANKIN. THE REPUBS ARE SO INTO VOTE STEALING. IT IS HARD TO TELL HOW MANY BALLOTS THAT THEY THREW OUT, SUCH AS THE LADY THAT HAD A STROKE. I'M NOT FROM THAT STATE, BUT FAIR IS FAIR. LET IT ALL COME OUT.
    WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE VOTER FRAUD FROM THE REPUBS. BOTH TERMS THAT BUSH GOT IN WAS A BIG SHAM. BUBBA TOLD HIM HE WOULD DELIVER FLORIDA AND BETWEEN HIM AND THE SUPREME COURT, THEY DID. COUNT AND RECOUNT, GET IT RIGHT.

    November 13, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Typical Democrat. If you can't win at the polls go to court.

    November 13, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    GO FRANKEN.......WIN!

    I want to comment on the previous article "GOP governors unhappy....." well DUH! I just saw a clip from Palin's governor's conference speech....... my GOD how does this woman keep getting in front of a mic??? SHE IS such a poor speaker and worse at being interviewed..... she doesn't make sense......... but.......hey, go ahead and put her in for 2012!
    We will be thrilled to have Palin up against President OBAMA!

    November 13, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. david rades

    google george galloway and norm coleman and read the transcription
    of the knock down drag out they had several years ago. you will understand that the real comedian of a senator is norm coleman.even
    better if you can still find the video of it, because just reading the words
    cannot do justice to the way it was delivered by george galloway. the reason you don't know about this peice of information...cnn did not tell you,fox did not tell you,cbs did not tell you,abc did not tell you,nbc did not tell you.... because they are all right wing,republican, conservative
    neocon networks...duh!,i know!

    November 13, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  23. Gaylon Barrow

    Give it up we have not sunk so low as needing a comedian in government. We have enough jokes in hte White House.

    November 13, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  24. Tod in CA

    Yes, a real candidate would have been a much better choice than a comedian. Just as the founders envisioned, we should encourage professional politicians to spend their entire lives ruling the country, instead of having individuals with some different perspective standing up in a time of need.

    Oh, wait...

    November 13, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  25. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Franken used to write jokes. Now he is one.

    November 13, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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