February 3rd, 2009
06:50 PM ET
5 years ago

MN court issues ruling on rejected absentee ballots

A Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that roughly 4800 absentee ballots would be considered in the post-election contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.
A Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that roughly 4800 absentee ballots would be considered in the post-election contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.

(CNN) – A three-judge Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that approximately 4,800 out of a total of nearly 12,000 rejected absentee ballots would be considered in Republican Norm Coleman's effort to retain his Senate seat.

"This is a victory for thousands of Minnesotans whose rejected absentee ballots will now be properly reviewed in this election," Ben Ginsberg, a legal spokesman for the Coleman campaign said in a statement released Tuesday. "We've continually called for every valid vote to be counted, and counted only once. This is a strong step in the right direction, and we applaud the decision of the court today."

The Franken campaign said the ruling brought some certainty to the litigation to determine who will be declared the winner in the razor-thin race.

The "universe [of Coleman's case] has now come to a defined place," Franken attorney Marc Elias said in a statement Tuesday. "We now know the scope of ballots they will be permitted to argue from."

On Election Night, Coleman held a slim lead of a few hundred votes over Democrat Al Franken in a race where 3 million votes were cast. But after the recount that followed, the state canvassing board declared Franken the winner by 225 votes.

The Coleman team argues that a number of absentee ballots had been incorrectly counted or rejected by the canvassing board, and filed a post election contest before the three-judge court. Coleman is also arguing that some votes were counted twice.

The court ruled today on a Franken motion to limit the number of rejected absentee ballots to fewer than 700, rather than the roughly 12,000 requested by the Coleman camp.

The Franken campaign is set to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court on February 5 to order Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to issue a temporary election certificate so Franken can be seated in the Senate. Both men have refused, saying they will wait until the matter is resolved definitively by the courts.


Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota Senate race • Norm Coleman
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Fair enough...if the court says so, it says so. Still, I am literally going to wet my pants laughing if Franken still wins haha. Coleman's an a$$hat.

    February 3, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Mike in Philly

    "The Franken campaign is set to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court on February 5 to order Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to issue a temporary election certificate so Franken can be seated in the Senate. Both men have refused, saying they will wait until the matter is resolved definitively by the courts."

    Good for them. I think Franken will probably win, but let's follow the law. No election certificate until Coleman's suit is done.

    February 3, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. Willy Brown

    Good. Maybe now they will cancel out azz clown Al.

    February 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Santa Maria

    I hope that Coleman loses...legitimately. That way Republicans can complain that Democrats stole the election. Truth is never a big issue when it comes to politics. Just ask any Dem.

    February 3, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Deborah Moore, Roseville, MN

    Poor Normie Coleman. I guess if I were him, I would be doing everything I could to secure my job in the Senate.

    But who are his advisors? It has already been proven by the initial re-count that Democrats (of which I am one) are ballot challenged (although I am not).

    More recounts will only prove to solidify my argument, that miscounted votes are disproportionately cast by my fellow Democrats.

    To Franken's favor.

    February 3, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Cry Babies

    And the saga goes on...what a joke.

    February 3, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Mobius

    We're supposed to 'repair' the economy in a country where we can't even count votes properly? Good luck with that.

    February 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Not From MN

    Just don't seat either one, we don't care any more. Leave us alone.

    February 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Mississippi Mike

    This has been a joke. One of the major news sources showed a contested ballot that clearly showed that the person voted for Coleman but it was given to Franken!

    Minnesota needs a well-regulated run-off election, not more re-hashing the same miscounted votes.

    February 3, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Scott L

    "And I don't want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards: one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes."

    Obama Quote from Today. So what about Geithner??

    HYPOCRITE.

    February 3, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Alex

    There is no end to this so it is definitely time for due process to be initiated. It's past time for the US to fix the voting process. In this era of hi-tech remedies, seems like this would already be a done deal...

    February 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Mr. Sandman

    Coleman hack: "We've continually called for every valid vote to be counted"

    LOL. That's not what I was hearing election night.

    February 3, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  13. Gracie

    Good LORD, here we go again. Another Florida re-play.

    This is going to drag out for another year on the tax payers dime of course!

    It's NO wonder WHY Americans are losing jobs and their homes... its these types of POLITICAL CIRCUS that keep progress from happening.

    Coleman, if those ballots don't go you way.....

    YOU BETTER SHUT THE HELL UP AND CONCEDE TO FRANKEN!!!

    February 3, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. BB

    Minnesota Groundhog's day

    February 3, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  15. Rob

    So what about the remaining 7,200 ? There is something fundamentally wrong if there are that many ballots rejected. The only reason a ballot should be rejected is if it is a duplicate or was postmarked after the election. This is a simple process, we cast a vote, it should be counted. I don't care who that vote was for.

    February 3, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. Sylvia Grant

    During the 2000 election of Bush vs Gore there was much discussion over the absentee ballots. As was expected the Republican US Supreme Court voted for Bush.
    Now things have changed and we have a Franken a Democratic contender against Coleman a Republican and the Democratic again face unfairness.

    February 3, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. An honest count needed

    Franken and Coleman both need to allow the recount to be done ethically before either gets seated in the Senate. What is this about Franken going to ask the Gov and Sec. of State to seat him in the Senate before anything is really made official by the recount? Is he crazy? Sounds like another corrupt politician. And we don't need anymore of them. Patience Franken....you may not be the one serving if the recount doesn't support it. You can always take the seat "officially" if it is proven to be yours.

    February 3, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. John

    While 4,800 out of 12,000 is a step forward, it is deffinately not enough. Our country prides itself on being a democracy, where every person is equal. There is no reason for any new feelings of joy. Congratulations Coleman, your point may be proved. Yet this is not really what it is about. All votes need to be counted. This is fair and just. Until then, we have not really achieved. All our absentee ballets need to be counted.

    February 3, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Steve, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    I do not envy my friends to the north.They want this over with. The Domocrats want another vote closer to 60 and the GOP is desperate to hang on to something. What a mess. I predict in the end Al Franken will still be the winner . Once Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie signs the certificate it will go over to Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty who will swallow hard and sign it. I remember last summer when Pawlenty was crowing about how the Republicans were going to take Minnesota and Coleman never even showed up at the GOP convention in his hometown! So much for staying out of sight Norm.

    February 3, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. Chris in Va.

    Wasn't Coleman arguing right after the election AGAINST counting absentee ballots?

    February 3, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. Mariann Pepitone

    I believe there was corruption going on in the counting and recounting of vote in this election especially on the democrat side. Coleman should be the winner when all is counted if there is no foul play in the counting. Franken should stick to entertainment and refrain himself from politics.

    February 3, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. Proud Yankee

    I laugh at Minnesota.

    February 3, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  23. Carl from MI

    Normie should take his own advice and do the right thing... bow out gracefully!! How like a Republican to not hold himself accountable to his own standards.

    Oh, the Republican hypocrisy!!! Where does it end???

    February 3, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Independant Thinker

    Yes, but there is still the question of the 25 precincts that had more votes cast than there were valid voters.

    February 3, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. Texas Teacher

    Go, Franken.....

    February 3, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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