November 25th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
2 months ago

Nearly 3,000 ballots challenged in Minnesota

Thousands of ballots are being challenged in an automatic recount that will determine the winner in Minnesota's Senate race.
Thousands of ballots are being challenged in an automatic recount that will determine the winner in Minnesota's Senate race.

(CNN) – As the recount resumes this morning in Minnesota, the number of ballots being challenged is growing: Nearly three-quarters of all votes cast in the state’s Senate race have been recounted in the battle for Norm Coleman's seat. The recount, which kicked off last Wednesday, could extend into next month.

Unofficial results from the November 4 election put Coleman, a freshman Republican senator, just 215 votes ahead of Democratic challenger Al Franken, known across the country from his days on Saturday Night Live and from his years as a talk show host on progressive radio network Air America. The slim margin for Coleman, far less than one-half of one percent, triggered an automatic recount, the first time there's ever been a recount of a U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.

Election officials at 107 sites across Minnesota are in the middle of the long process of recounting all of the ballots, surrounded by election observers and lawyers from both campaigns, and the media.

The Secretary of State's office reports that 2,801 ballots have been challenged so far, with 1,401 questioned by Franken's camp and 1400 questioned by Coleman's camp.

According to the Secretary of State's office, 74.18 percent of the more than 2.9 million votes cast in the election were recounted through the weekend. Coleman's vote today is down 1,051 votes from his Election Day total, and Franken's is down 1,008 votes — which puts Coleman's current margin at just 172 votes.

Recount sites across Minnesota have a deadline of the first week of December to report their results. After that, the state's canvassing board meets to rule on disputed ballots and to certify the election. If one side is unhappy with those results, legal action could follow.

Democrats have so far picked up seven Senate seats in this year's election, with the Republican seats in Minnesota and Georgia still undecided. In Georgia, freshman Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss faces off in a runoff election on December 2 against Democrat Jim Martin, a former state lawmaker.

If the Democrats take both remaining contests, they'll reach their pre-election goal of controlling 60 Senate seats, a filibuster-proof majority. A filibuster is a move by the minority party in the Senate that basically brings the chamber to a standstill by blocking votes on legislation.


Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman • Senate
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. indy 08

    Please keep the wasilla hillbilly in Alaska, this woman doesn't know when to leave the stage.

    November 25, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Boise, ID

    Lord, please bless the intellectually less fortunate souls that believe in trickle down economics. Grant them enough intelligence to see through the fear tactics of those that seek to use them for their own gain. Please allow them to see that you cannot blame Clinton for the eight years after his presidency (Future) while blaming the Democratic Congress for our current situation (Present) and Obama for the two months prior to his Presidency (Past). Please show them that people with different colors on their skin are every bit as good if not better than themselves. Grant them the humility to realize that they have no right to project their own flawed morals upon others that seek to share their lives together in peace and tolerance. Show them that you cannot drill for more oil and protect our planet at the same time. Lord, please raise the price of gas continuously until we finally find something else. Please teach them how to spell so they don't look so dumb when they try to respond to this.

    November 25, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. tom

    this will be another situation like Florida in 2000. The Fix is in for Franken

    November 25, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. jeh15

    At this stage, Franken could still be a long shot candidate. But the fact that he got this close, well, good luck.

    November 25, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. zgomer

    Of course the libs want to dispute the count, they want to take the vote away from the people and steal it like a thief in the night.

    November 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. The New Civil War has begun (Sons of the Founders vs. The Socialists)

    Those must all be votes for Stewart Smalley.

    How dare we conservatives question the right to multiple ballots?!

    November 25, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. ProgressiveDemocrat

    Al Franken the next US Senator Coleman will be history when all is said and done.

    November 25, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Barbara in NC

    Minnesota – the new Florida.

    November 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. Mickie

    Maybe they should just arm wrestle for the position. Either that or Minnesota is going to have to toss a coin in the air to see who actually wins.

    November 25, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Chip

    Calling Air America 'progressive' is like calling Osama Bin Laden an 'aggressive activist'.

    November 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Darko

    A filibuster proof Congress coupled with a President from the same party would be a disaster – Dem or Repub.

    Checks and balances are what the country needs and has NEVER prospered under a super majority.

    November 25, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Bill, N.M.

    Cheating Republicans make me sick.
    Once a great party now a party of corrupt rich people, corporations, and religious nuts.

    November 25, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Market watcher

    Al Franken is a clown and like all clowns he should stick to comedy.

    November 25, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Dave

    Well, if the Dems don't get their 60 seats I hope some moderate republicans will choose to vote with the Dems instead... we have big things that need to be done for the good of the USA and we can't afford to let Republican obstructionists block important legislation!

    November 25, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. N. S. Huntsville, Al

    One problem with the election in the USA is that they get volunteers from Seed's candy and have them help out. I'm sorry when I went to vote I thought my polling place was at a senior citizen home. The people are to old to be recounting and making sure they keep up with ballots. The system needs a overhaul and fast.

    No offense just telling the truth I love seniors but facts are facts

    November 25, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Breaking News

    This is better than bleeding turkeys on "The Sarah Palin Show".

    November 25, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Ballots, eh?

    I wouldn't say the ballots were challenged....I'd say those voting for Franken were challenged...

    November 25, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Rick

    Another case of democrats trying to lie, cheat and steal their way into office.

    November 25, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Paul, Riverside, CA

    Just like Florida, the GOP will put party before Country to obtain power. Last time this happened, the country and the world had hoped ,after the fact, that the outcome would have been differant.

    November 25, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. wha...?

    @bill,NM

    I'm Libertarian, so not supportive of either Dem or Repub party, but how can you say the Republicans are cheating? Franken has challenged 1 more vote than Coleman. Both parties have people watching recounts, and both candidates have lost approximately the same number of votes, though Coleman has lost more (which could be interpreted as Dems stealing...which I don't think it is). Seems that the process is working the way it should and no one is stealing anything.

    November 25, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. That Other Jerry

    From the numbers it looks like Coleman's strategy is to make the same number of challenges as Franken, in hopes of keeping the vote margins about the same. Just like running out the clock in football.

    "indy 08" - the "bash Palin" room is down the hall, second door to the left. This is the Franken/Coleman election. Just to let you know before you say something else stupid.

    November 25, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Steve

    Franken needs to stick with what he knows, comedy. We don't need any more comedians in Washington. We tried it and the ecomony isn't very funny now, is it?

    November 25, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Baze

    Franken you lost, now go away.

    November 25, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Tulsa

    tom,,,,
    you do know that it was the REPUBLICANS who had the fix in back in 2000, right? Are all Republicans just morons, or what?
    LOL, I've got to laugh at the right wingers on here. Scared sh@#less is what comes to mind. What a bunch of idiots.

    November 25, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Breck

    I can't wait to hear the idiot Republicans screaming "VOTER FRAUD!". Irony is fun ain't it?

    November 25, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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