November 9th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
12 years ago

Franken sees boost in nail-biter election

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former President Clinton campaigned with Al Franken a week before Election Day."]
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - In a move that could be seen as a benefit to Democrat Al Franken, a Minnesota judge Saturday denied a request from incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign to block certain uncounted absentee ballots from being counted in a race separated by–at latest tally–just over 200 votes in Coleman's favor.

That slim margin has narrowed since the first tallies earlier in the week. In total, almost 3 million ballots were cast.

According to the court request, the Coleman campaign sought an "emergency temporary injunction" preventing election officials from unsealing, opening, or tallying any absentee ballots that were not inside an official ballot box by midnight election night.

Specifically, the Coleman team was looking to block 32 uncounted ballots from the city of Minneapolis, according to the campaign in the request. They say they were notified late Friday night that these ballots were to be counted the next day.

In a statement, Coleman recount attorney Fritz Knaak said the purpose of the request "was to secure those ballots until we could receive some kind of testimonial assurance, some proof, that they hadn’t been tampered with, that they had been secured and that there will be no question in the mind of the electorate that there had been any wrong doing."

Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin turned down the request "for lack of jurisdiction."

Franken spokesman Andy Barr called it a "sneak attack" on the part of the opposing campaign because he says no one in the Democrat's campaign found out about the motion until an hour before the court hearing on Saturday.

"They are, to us, pretty clearly trying to do whatever they can to cast doubt on this extremely routine process of canvassing and checking the tabulations and trying to freeze the votes where they were election night where coleman had a [greater] lead," Barr told CNN.

Minnesota law mandates a recount when election results are this close.

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman • Popular Posts • Senate
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Matt

    ACORN has NOTHING to do with votes! Stop this insanity. Just because you try and register Micky Mouse doesn't mean that Micky is going to show up and vote! ACORN did the biggest damage to themselves, in paying workers by the number of forms they submitted. Stop and think about these things before you regurgitate them.

    November 9, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Jaye

    EVERY vote must count. Period.

    November 9, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. john

    I keep reading comments from people who say things like, "Poor Minnesotans if they end up with Al Franken as their Senator." Why? Because the guy had a different career before getting into politics? Oh, he was a comedian, you say. Well, somehow a guy named Arnold Schwarzenegger came to be Governor of CA without any previous political experience and is someone who starred in comedies like "Kindergarten Cop" and in a ton of violent movies, and that state happens to be doing alright.

    That same state had another former actor (who starred in such movies as, "Bedtime for Bonzo"...with a chimpanzee co-star!!) as Governor, who then went on to become President of these United States of America. Yes, folks, that was Ronald Reagan, who many consider to be one of the best Presidents ever.

    You may not be a fan of Al Franken's humor, but if you have ever listened to the guy, he's got some really good ideas and he seems to be a stand-up person (pardon the pun). So, if you would like to state here how Mr. Franken might be a joke of a Senator, back it up with how that might actually happen (e.g. refuting his ideas, citing past mistakes, etc.).

    All that said, no one can say for sure if he'll be a good Senator. Let's just hope that whoever wins will be good for MN and the rest of the U.S.

    November 9, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. dusin1

    mn. red – I hope CNN says goodbye to you. You obviously are a
    vile racist.

    November 9, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Gonzo in Houston

    No voting system is even 99.5% accurate, even with hand counting. When the results are this tight, you don't need a recount, you need a run-off.

    November 9, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. Roy - Chcago

    Obviously having an independent take 15% of the vote did not help Al Franken as those votes most likely would have been for him if there were only two candidates. This is a case where the will of MOST of the voters (democrats/independents thinking somewhat alike) will not be reflected if Coleman wins the election. I have varying opinions of Franken, but think the votes should be recounted, only in MN would an election like this be happening!!
    It also amazes me that less than a week after the election, some are still decrying the direction of the country as voted for by a LANDSLIDE. The election is over, lead, help, or get the h*** out of the way. People who won't participate in the country are bad as the 'people who don't want to work' the Republicans keep telling us about. If things are better in four years these people will need to look in the mirror and admit it.

    November 9, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. Zeke

    Great photo on this article... Clinton laughing at Franken's stand-up comedy. That's where Al should concentrate his career.

    November 9, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. can'wealljust

    Minnesota your mighty lucky . It's just to bad your two decient guys where to exuberent trying to get to a place where they might represent you.

    November 9, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Larry Sinclair

    Rush may be a big fat liar but leave it to the peoples republic of minnesota to have a comedian to be their senator. Maybe its because minnesota is such a joke! Oh, by the way Al, Rush can lose weight, but your ugly goes clear to the bone!

    November 9, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Paula

    Why is it so difficult to debate without derrogatory comments... stick to facts... the election is over so get over the tactics of the negative role models that surfaced on the campaign trail. That kind of negativity ended up backfiring in their faces. Let the wounds heal and lets all move on...

    November 9, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Child – You forgot the quintessential example of actor-turned-politician: Ronald Reagan!

    November 9, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. kish's blatantly racist remark is to be condemned by republican's and democrats alike. the country has voted that the day of the bigot is over.

    November 9, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Jack Lawson

    MN.RED ....theres a word you should look up in the dictionary

    the word id BIGOT!

    November 9, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. bill

    It is too bad that the republican party does not want the votes to be counted in the election. I guess this is the only way they think they can win.

    It seems the undervotes are primarily in democratic areas.

    November 9, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Bob In Baltimore

    Al Franken, Jesse Ventura......I guess the people of MN really like to shake it up a bit. Can't blame them after 8 years of tyranny.

    YOU GO AL...Godspeed!

    To all you CONservatives, you are just afraid the Dems might succeed in making this country strong again.....sort of like what Clinton did. To quote your patron saint of the Supreme Court Scalia,


    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Chabuka

    I will be so glad when ever last one of the slimy GOP crooks and their supporters crawl back under their rocks....not to crawl back out until the next century

    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Respectful Republican

    I am a Republican who is sick of people from my party acting and speaking like ignorant fools. I am speaking to "mn. red" - your hateful, ignorant, racist comments are a prime example of why our party is losing ground in this country. You MOST DEFINITELY don't speak for me, our party, or our country!!!!!!

    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. debbie

    The GOP is obviously following the "Bush v. Gore" script only this time we're a lot wiser. The world ain't gonna stop if the election isn't decided by a certain date. County the votes and get it right. We have learned the HARD way what happens when we get it wrong.

    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. sick of stolen elections

    First of all al Gore didnt lose, neither did John kerry, the election was stolen, .The diebold , company, with the help Mr. Fenney of florida, had a program written to flip your votes.So dont let me hear you all wine about who did or didnt vote . Your rights as Americans where stolen by the GOP, And they got away with it . It should have been stopped Eight years ago yet no one stood up. Not even the demcracts. So stop the fighting now, give these people a chance .If it turns out Ai won give him a break, Help him make the next four years the best years of our lives.

    November 9, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Bob In Baltimore

    By the way, how did a narrow minded ambulance chasing hack like Scalia get on the bench in the first place.....Was it trickle down to the rich Reagan???

    November 9, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Karen,

    Only a Republican would even think about not counting votes!
    It never ends!

    November 9, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Ilona

    Is this how the Republic Party is going to help heal the country's woes? Start shooting down everything Obama does, even before he is in office? If the public perceives the the Republicab Party is out to undermine anything our president-elect tries to do, they should not be surprised if even more of them lose their elected positions two years down the road.

    November 9, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Neal

    Any conservative bagging on Dems for voter irregularities and playing the system can eat my shorts.
    Bush lost in 2000 by 504,000 votes and only won the electoral college because the state his brother was Governor of happened to go his way by a few hundred votes (not to mention a highly suspicious verdict by a conservative supreme court)!
    Buuzzzz off.
    Independent recounts have strongly suggested that Gore actually won Florida.
    And then there is Ohio's faulty voting machines.
    So yeah, bit me.

    November 9, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Al Frakenstein

    Al Franken is terrible. Why would you want him in office over anyone?

    November 9, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. JJ in NY

    A vote for Franken is a vote for stupidity .


    November 9, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13