December 19th, 2008
11:32 AM ET
5 years ago

Franken takes slim lead in early count

As of Friday morning, Al Franken has a narrow lead over Sen. Norm Coleman, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
As of Friday morning, Al Franken has a narrow lead over Sen. Norm Coleman, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Democrat Al Franken currently holds a slight edge over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota's still unresolved U.S. Senate race, according to a running tally on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Web site.

The newspaper's mid-morning tally showed Franken with a 102 vote margin over Coleman with several hundred ballots still to be reviewed. On Thursday evening, Coleman had been ahead by single digits.

But the race remains fluid: the results reported by the Star Tribune are an ongoing tally, with hundreds of challenges still to be reviewed Friday.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has said that he and the rest of the four-judge panel who comprise the canvassing board will not end their work day until all remaining challenges have been reviewed.

One major wild card that remains are roughly 4,000 ballots that were originally challenged by the campaigns, who have since withdrawn those challenges. The Secretary of State's office has yet to declare how or when those ballots will be awarded to the candidates.

Another issue: the State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that improperly rejected absentee ballots should not be tallied unless both campaigns and county elections officials agree the ballot was improperly rejected. It's estimated there are about 1,600 improperly rejected ballots.

(Updated at noon with additional information)

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soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Everything else aside, what does this really mean? Sure, I'm happy it looks like Franken will win, but we have to admit something here: he's picking up more votes than Coleman on the challenged ballots, which is evidence that his voters are stupider, doing things like making an "X" instead of filling in the bubble more often than Coleman's voters. Sigh. That's the simplest explanation...not crazy conspiracy mumbo jumbo.

    December 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. S, Miami, FL

    Missy M December 19th, 2008 12:31 pm ET

    "This story highlights just how easy it is to steal an election. I will never again have faith in the "democratic" process."

    I already lost my faith in the "democractic process" when in the 2000 Presidential election, 8 people sitting on the Supreme Court, as opposed to all the people of the U.S., decided who would be President.

    December 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Milhouse van Houten

    I find it absolutely ridiculous in this day and age,the technological strides that we,as an outdated species have accomplished and yet it
    takes more than six weeks to count ballots.One step forward,two steps back.

    December 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. G in Seattle

    CH in Maine:

    Most probably NO 9/11 either!

    A Gore security team would have known how to spell Al Qaeda.

    December 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Milhouse van Houten

    I find it absolutely ridiculous in this day and age,the technological strides that we,as an outdated species have accomplished and yet it
    takes more than six weeks to count ballots.One step forward,two steps back.

    December 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Chris in PA

    Surprise...this is the state that voted in Ventura...they deserve whatever they get, even if it is a hate-mongering nut job like Franken...good luck

    December 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Suzi

    I'm glad to see Minnesota has a much more honest system in place than Florida. That it is so close shows that they need to be very careful. Every vote should count.

    Both Franken and Coleman get to challenge ballots. Each one is reviewed. Coleman challenged twice as many as Franken so it makes sense that Franken will probably pull ahead in that recount.

    December 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Milhouse van Houten

    I find it absolutely ridiculous in this day and age,the technological strides that we,as an outdated species have accomplished and yet it
    takes more than six weeks to count ballots.One step forward,two steps back.

    December 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Matt

    Everything else aside, what does this really mean? Sure, I'm happy it looks like Franken will win, but we have to admit something here: he's picking up more votes than Coleman on the challenged ballots, which is evidence that his voters are stupider, doing things like making an "X" instead of filling in the bubble more often than Coleman's voters. Sigh. That's the simplest explanation...not crazy conspiracy mumbo jumbo.

    December 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. S, Miami, FL

    Missy M December 19th, 2008 12:31 pm ET

    "This story highlights just how easy it is to steal an election. I will never again have faith in the "democratic" process."

    I already lost my faith in the "democractic process" when in the 2000 Presidential election, 8 people sitting on the Supreme Court, as opposed to all the people of the U.S., decided who would be President.

    December 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. G in Seattle

    CH in Maine:

    Most probably NO 9/11 either!

    A Gore security team would have known how to spell Al Qaeda.

    December 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. S, Miami, FL

    Missy M December 19th, 2008 12:31 pm ET

    "This story highlights just how easy it is to steal an election. I will never again have faith in the "democratic" process."

    I already lost my faith in the "democractic process" when in the 2000 Presidential election, 8 people sitting on the Supreme Court, as opposed to all the people of the U.S., decided who would be President.

    December 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Suzi

    I'm glad to see Minnesota has a much more honest system in place than Florida. That it is so close shows that they need to be very careful. Every vote should count.

    Both Franken and Coleman get to challenge ballots. Each one is reviewed. Coleman challenged twice as many as Franken so it makes sense that Franken will probably pull ahead in that recount.

    December 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Milhouse van Houten

    I find it absolutely ridiculous in this day and age,the technological strides that we,as an outdated species have accomplished and yet it
    takes more than six weeks to count ballots.One step forward,two steps back.

    December 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Raymond Duke

    I am not surprised by this. Minnesota is a very liberal state and has few regulations in place to prevent fraud. I am sure acorn and the democrat party had a field day there. But as far as I am concerned they can have Al Franken. Pretty soon that state can be like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio plus california. They can all go broke, like they are now and beg for handouts as they are now. I live in a state where we have a state surplus, housing is keeping its values and we do not have a bunch of lazy slugs who want the moon as a price like the unions . We are doing well because we have conservative leaders representing us and we do not hand out more money for welfare than you could make at minimuin wage. We send them to all you liberals . If you do not work here you might get awful hungry and most of us do not care. Work or starve.

    December 19, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Suzi

    I think there are a lot of lost votes in every election, local or nationwide.
    It's a relief to see Minnesota has a much more honest system in place than Florida. Every vote should count.

    That this one is so close shows that they need to be very careful and Minnesota seems to be doing the recount with integrity.

    Both Franken and Coleman get to challenge ballot and each one is reviewed. Coleman challenged twice as many as Franken so it makes sense that Franken will probably pull ahead in that recount.

    December 19, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. The Dawg

    Before you set off the wild celebration for Franken, keep this in mind...this count does NOT include the withdrawn challenges. Franken withdrew far more challenges, so it's likely to swing back.

    December 19, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Seriously, Franken? The guy is a joke. He's got some very extreme views. Why must Minnesota become a joke. And for the record I actually like Ventura.

    December 19, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Larry

    Ray Charles could see this coming,and if doesn't get the job done Al will find some more.

    December 19, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Matt in MN

    "One major wild card that remains are roughly 4,000 ballots that were originally challenged by the campaigns, who have since withdrawn those challenges. The Secretary of State's office has yet to declare how or when those ballots will be awarded to the candidates."

    And since Franken withdrew more challenges than Coleman; his current lead (a little over 150 votes) will probably diminish and Coleman will once again have a very slim lead.

    I applaude CNN for actually including the quoted tidbit, the local metro papers in MN both hid that nugget on information on the very lest paragraph of their stories (2nd and 3rd pages).

    December 19, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. mike

    Marc December 19th, 2008 12:48 pm ET

    The liberal way. If you can't win, cheat until you can.

    _______________________________

    what about this is cheating?

    December 19, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. conservative

    Golly ; wonder where those mysterious new demo ballots came from?

    December 19, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse NY

    If this is decided by 'found' ballots that were missing without a proper custody chain, it WILL BE stealing the election. As you Obamites said again and again over the FL and MI primary votes, rules are there for a reason.

    December 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. mike

    RealityKing December 19th, 2008 11:48 am ET

    Counting the votes of people who can't follow directions? What's next, those that forgot to vote??

    _________________________________________________

    Sorry man, even dumb people's votes count. I think that's how we wound up with Bush...

    December 19, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. rich

    If Al Gore had only had Franken's spine and fought for everyvote, without a doubt America would not have been in the hole it is today. Kudos to Franken to fighting out for this long.

    December 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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