December 31st, 2008
08:15 PM ET
9 years ago

Coleman again taking recount to court

The recount of Minnesota's Senate race between Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, left, and Democrat Al Franken will stretch into next year.

The recount of Minnesota's Senate race between Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, left, and Democrat Al Franken will stretch into next year.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Attorneys with Norm Coleman's Senate campaign on New Year's Eve are again asking Minnesota's high court on the issue of improperly rejected absentee ballots in the state's still unresolved race between the Republican incumbent and Democrat Al Franken.

The court ruled earlier this month that both campaigns and local election officials must agree on the ballots that were improperly rejected before the canvassing board can open and count them. Ballots that are rejected improperly are typically the result of clerical error.

Local elections officials had identified approximately 1,350 ballots that may have been rejected in error. The Coleman campaign is asking the court to force Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and the state canvassing board to consider not only those but hundreds more that they say they've identified unilaterally.

Ritchie's office said that the process was drawing to a close.

"The Office of the Secretary of State has been working closely with the Coleman campaign, the Franken Campaign, and local election officials to implement the Supreme Court's order to count wrongly rejected absentee ballots by Jan. 4, 2009," they said in a statement released Wednesday.

"This process, now 90% complete, was agreed upon by both campaigns, local officials, and the Secretary of State on the afternoon of December 24, 2008. We look forward to the completion of the State Canvassing Board's work next week."

As they've done in the past, the Coleman campaign responded by accusing Ritchie's office of supporting Franken.

"There should be no reason for the Secretary of State's office to do anything other than join with us in ensuring that Minnesota voters are not being disenfranchised because of an overeager effort to close the books on some voter’s ballots," said Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak in a statement.

Franken attorney Marc Elias again said the race had reached an end, releasing a statement that said Minnesotans are ready to "recognize a winner" in the race, and that the Coleman campaign is "diverting attention into the courts and away from the counting of ballots."

A deadline of this Friday has been set for local officials and the campaigns to hand over the envelopes of their agreed-upon rejected ballots to the state canvassing board for review. It is unclear if the completion of this process could force an extension.

On Tuesday, Ritchie said he hoped the process of allocating these ballots could be completed by January 6.

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Apples for sale

    If he keeps this up,can we call him stormin Norman?After years of fixed elections,this one isnt going his way.Guess he really misses poor Mike Connell,who had that tragic plane crash the day before he was to testify in a rico case for election rigging the 2000 and 2004 elections.

    December 31, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. William A. Schaedler from St. Louis

    This is proof that the state of Minnesota is a joke. First they elect a professional wrestler. Then they vote for a comedian. And to top it off the dummies can't even count the votes correctly. I cannot believe that this is the same state that was once represented by Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey.

    December 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. rickymo

    I am so bored with this. I say Minnesota loses the seat till the next election.

    December 31, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. Seattle Sue

    Is that Coleman asking the courts to rule in his favor? Is Coleman trying to steal the election? All joking aside it would be very difficult for either side to cheat. There are Republicans and Democrats working side by side recounting these votes. One side is not going to let the other side cheat. I helped during the recount for governor in the state of Washington in 2004 and from what I could see it was done fairly.

    December 31, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  5. That Other Jerry

    I hereby retract my previous opposition to Al Franken. Fine, go ahead, let him win. Whatever. As a Senator, either he'll have to conduct himself like a civilized individual, which he'll probably find intolerable, or the whole world will get to watch him act like Al Franken in the US Senate, in which case he will look like a fool. Either one ought to be entertaining.

    December 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. Franky

    I just can't believe Al Franken can win, LOL!! That's crazy talk...

    December 31, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. Tom

    This is pretty funny. First the conservatives were crabbing about Franken going to the courts and wanting illegally discarded ballots counted. Now, in hypocrisy, they say nothing when Coleman wants the same or wants those same, valid ballots banned. Funny how things change when you're on bottom.

    December 31, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  8. yellow dog democrat

    things that make you want to scream! - in this day and age – with all the electronic marvels....why why why!


    December 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. in vino veritas

    Coleman is proving to the public he is just a sore loser even if the vote count swings back in his direction. What a sorry politician, I hope his political career is finished. Good riddance to Mr. Fake Bonded Teeth. Get a look at those chops!

    December 31, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. Mike


    If there was ever a strong case for a re-vote this is it. No matter who wins now there will be suspicion from the other side.

    The sensible solution is to re-vote (mano-y-mano) between the two. Why spend your money on lawyers? They can only muck it up deeper.

    December 31, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. alvino

    Count all the votes. When its over, Norm will be gone.

    December 31, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  12. SMR

    Give it up Norm,Are you nervous to lose an election to a comedian? LOL. LOSER!!!

    December 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. john rico

    I guess norm "i would conceed if I was behind" coleman needs the courts to declare him the winner instead of counting every vote.

    December 31, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  14. David Newport, OR

    Whatever it takes for either candidate to win. Amazing that he "discovers" a bunch of rejected ballots from an area where he had a strong showing. Yea...right...

    December 31, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. timz

    I have always believed that all validly cast votes should be counted and we should make sure we get the result right, regardless of which candidate wins. But I seem to recall Norm suggesting Franken concede to save the time and costs to the taxpayer involved in a recount. I'm surprised, now that he's in a position to bring this process to a rapid close (i.e. behind), that he hasn't stepped up "protect" the Minnesota taxpayer by conceding himself.

    December 31, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. BB

    Wake me up when it's over. ho hum

    December 31, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. Ryan

    Wait. I'm confused. Why would republicans want to use trial lawyers? Trial lawyers are no good and evil right? Oh wait, I forgot republicans are hypocrites, that's right. Just like the 2000 election when the sued, sued and sued. Can anyone name one issue where republicans aren't hypocrites?

    December 31, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. Paul

    And how about all those which were counted twice?
    Let's call it by the proper name – corruption & finagling.


    December 31, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  19. Texas Teacher

    I hope it is Franken.... 🙂 I know what kind of Senator he will make!

    He will work very well with Obama/Biden... and Hillary Clinton.... the man is hella smart.... as the kids say! *LOL*

    December 31, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  20. Jeff From Jersey


    December 31, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. totally neutral

    "I guess norm "i would conceed if I was behind" coleman needs the courts to declare him the winner instead of counting every vote."

    Won't be the first time – How long till it becomes the "norm" for all elections?

    December 31, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. Eaganone

    The only way Minnesota wins is that they realize they both have been rejected and the seat sits empty. Make it a "three way" begging contest in New York.

    December 31, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. Dave in NYC

    Good luck Al, and thanks for fighting through to the end!

    December 31, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-*

    Wasn't it Coleman who ran his mouth that Franken should just concede back in November?? How's that working out for ya, Norm?

    December 31, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Maggie SC

    Norm Coleman, please do not give up. Persistence pays off. Franken just will not do. This has been crooked form the get go. Make it happen so we can at least get some contol over the Dems, Demwits that is.

    December 31, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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