November 25th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
5 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. Minnesotan

    Minnesota law mandates a recount when the margin is less than .5% And common sense says that you need a recount when the Republicans have been trying to suppress votes so that they can cheat in yet another election. Franken may not be a stellar candidate, but he's still light years ahead of a lapdog like the flip-flopping carpet-bagger, Norm Coleman.

    November 25, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. jd

    Just like down in Florida 2004, the Democrats wanted to recount and recount and still could not cheat and win.

    November 25, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Floyd

    Incredible. The absolute hatred displayed by the liberal hacks that constantly refer to conservatives as "mean spirited" is astounding. As usual, when democrats win, they win. When they lose – somebody must have cheated! The downhill slide of our country continues as more and more people stop pulling the wagon and jump on for the free ride.

    November 25, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Uncle Fester

    zgomer November 25th, 2008 11:18 am ET

    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.

    Like Bush did in 2000?

    November 25, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Gary in Oklahoma

    Franken is a joke.

    November 25, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. facts are facts

    Unfettered conservatism is dead and it's time so of these GOP trolls accept the fact their ideology is what has landed the country in it's current state of affairs.

    Anyone believing or espousing the world is only 6,000 years old needs some therapy and quick. Blind faith does not justify ignoring science and brainwashing their children with these fairy tales is not preparing them properly for their futures.

    November 25, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. karen-phoenix

    Go Franken!!!! You will make a good senator–your humor proves you know how to relate to average Americans and not lobbiests and the rich!!!

    November 25, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. ben

    flip a coin! neither one is worth a hoot

    November 25, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Sam

    This is halarious. The only thing worse than republicans is democrats. Although seeing Al Frankin in office would be pretty funny.

    November 25, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Dave, Central Illinois

    Hey "Tulsa", you are an ignorant moron with a big mouth. Have a nice day.

    November 25, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. unfairness doctrine

    Franken needs to stick to something he's good at porn comedy and leave politics to mature adults.

    November 25, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. ben

    market watcher,
    Franken is a comedian. He is not a clown. Comedians tell jokes to make us laugh. Clowns make us laugh or cry by their actions. Red Skelton once said there has never been more than six notable clowns on the planet at one time.

    November 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. nom deplume

    One Party Rule, woohoo.

    Now we can be just like other nations again.

    Of course, that includes Vietnam, China, North Korea, Iran, and all those former Eastern Bloc Nations.

    Now, what else did they have in common??? Hmmmmm. Let me think.

    November 25, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. anticlintonite

    we give him a mandate and possibly a filibuster-proof senate, and the first thing he does is plop hillary and her crew, down on our plates ,and say, here's ur change. enjoy!

    November 25, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Franky

    My goodness! How is Al Franken competing? Geez, even Joe Lieberman would defeat the GOP in an election...and he supported Senator McCain! LOL!! This is just funny because is just funny...

    November 25, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. Peter (CA)

    zgomer-since when is counting all of the votes a problem??
    This makes no sense at all. What do the Republicans have to hide? Did they suppress some votes because they knew they would lose?

    Why can't you right wingers use some logic in your arguments?
    Oh, wait....you guys use hate and lies. Sorry, I forgot.

    November 25, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. wwf

    I am from Mn and did not vote for Franken, nor for Colman. Mn would do better without either of them. However, this forum would be better off without some of the morons that post here. Explains why some animals eat their young.

    November 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Peter (CA)

    Darko and Nom-

    Just curious. Did you complain from 2001 to 2006 also? Or did you vote for Republicans in order to keep that majority?

    November 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Phil in NC

    We have officially hit the "Panic" button if we are resorting to former comedians to run our country.

    And, like her or hate her, at least Palin is the Governor of a state. What did Franken ever do except tell some lewd jokes and that Stuart Smalley skit? Sure, he has a (D) beside his name but so what?

    November 25, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. bsmith171

    just have another election.

    November 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. rob

    Watch what happens if Coleman wins, the left will cry fix is in and their will be charges of voter suppression, etc. etc. etc. If Franken wins it will be very silent.

    The fact that it is this close says 2 things about Min, 1. the mood of the people is anti republican and 2. the people of Min are insane. Franken will be a total joke in the senate with no real position of any power, just a puppet of Harry Ried and the Dems and a loud stage to spew his venom and hatred of anybody who dares have an opinion different from his.

    November 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Silv

    "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."

    Which is why liberals are the ones that support organizations that help get people out to vote, am I right?

    Think twice before you post.

    November 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Nick

    ONE PARTY RULE... Yikes

    Please LORD come back soon.

    November 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Twins Fan

    I'm a technically a registered Democrat from MN and all I have to say is-if Franken gets in, I'm moving. He's a joke and should never have ran.

    November 25, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. martin

    Obama is for real change. He's bringing basically every Washington insider or former Clinton administration or cabinet member into his administration. It's basically another 4 years of Clinton with a new figure-head. Sorta like Russia where Putin is in power behind the scenes while Medvedev is the figure-head.

    November 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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