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. lovable liberal

    Another Republican who wants to stop counting before all the votes are counted just because he's ahead...

    November 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. I've had my fill

    Keep the change.

    November 9, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. matt

    all yoo left wingg libarals are not god lovng peopl yougo no not god. you got too get god. you go no nd you now it. bush an mccane are god lovin and you no it. go mccane!!! sara palen no god and she good to!

    November 9, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Blueone

    S Ryan,
    I thoughht about it. You are wrong. So much of what is wrong with our country is found in GOP, nationally and locally. A breath of fresh air will reinvigerate the country now. Get used to change, because it will come fast and often. Try to keep up and you can stop pouting like the little neocon kid you are any day now.

    November 9, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. angel of san ysirdo

    it never seem to amuse me how republicans will le cheat and steal just to win a electin. this is one of the rasons i will never vote republican never!!!!!!

    November 9, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. dhomuth

    Last time MN had a recount in a federal race, I was staffing the D side of it. The recount teams were represented by Rs and Ds equally. We examined Every ballot cast in the MN 7th CD in the 1986 congressional race. There were something like 9,000 separate counting errors found during the recount - and they tended to cancel each other out. But not always.

    In the end, the R – Arlan Stangeland - won the election by about 1/15th of 1% if memory serves. Both sides agreed that was the correct outcome. And now the D in that race – Collin Peterson – is Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, since he won election in 1990.

    This recount will be no different. But all the votes Must be counted before the outcome can be declared. At this point, they have not been.

    Be patient. They will be.

    November 9, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Janey

    can Minnesota be so stupid as to vote for the idiot Franken? It must be another case of manufactured registrations by ACORN which is how Obama won in battleground states.

    November 9, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Lou R

    Coleman appears to be insecure about his reelection chances to the point where he will do anything to win. Its about time he rediscovers the private sector.

    November 9, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. hrsc

    As the incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman should hang his head in disgrace if this is where he has found himself against a first timer. It proves the point the people do not approve of the job he has done and he was not able to sway many voters with his rhetoric. Just because of the tightness of this race he should throw in the hat as a gesture of the change the people are seeking..... Next time maybe he will do his job, and not just talk about it.

    November 9, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. Dixie AZ

    Ah, a republican who doesn't want to count all the votes. Big surprise.

    November 9, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Dave

    From the state that brought you Jessie Ventura as Governor comes another excellent choice for the Senate. And to think the old joke has always labeled California as the land of fruits and nuts.

    November 9, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Ken

    What ever happened to HONEST politicians? The truth and the facts should stand for something. Coleman should want to have every vote be counted and the one with the most votes, be the winner!


    November 9, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Alastair

    Mike from Syracuse says:

    Why is it 'suppression tactics' when Reps question whether votes are valid, but 'following the rules' when Obama got FL and MI primary votes thrown out?

    Do I really have to point out that both Obama and Clinton agreed in advance to the Florida and Michigan primaries not counting? Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in one of them! And yet, when Clinton thought that she might win by having those votes count, even though she had previously agreed that they should not, she argued that they should count. It was clear to everyone except a raving Clinton supporter that it would be a manifest injustice to count the votes in those primaries. If the people of Michigan and Florida felt disenfranchised by the process, they had no-one to blame but their own state Democratic parties, who went ahead with the date changes in full knowledge of the consequences.
    The fairest thing to do would have been to re-run both primaries with both candidates' names on the ballots, and giving both candidates a chance to campaign in them.

    November 9, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. karen

    Don't you liberal news junkies have anything better to do than keep on showing how unintelligent you are??? The next four years will show what a mistake the young voters has caused by not doing their homework on the issues, I mean the real issue, not on just popularity. You choice will cost you more taxes, and you will still be in the same situation you were before the election, except you will be worse off than before.

    November 9, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    November 9th, 2008 1:40 pm ET

    all yoo left wingg libarals are not god lovng peopl yougo no not god. you got too get god. you go no nd you now it. bush an mccane are god lovin and you no it. go mccane!!! sara palen no god and she good to!


    The funniest part: his vote means as much as everyone else's.

    November 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |


    November 9, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. eric

    Ever notice how 90% of liberal posts call conservatives/republicans names?

    Intolerance is only intolerance if it comes out of a conservatives/republican mouth right?

    Every vote counts... everuone should count as long as they are legal votes. if they are legal, the court allows them, if they are not, they are disallowed.. asking for either is not "cheating".

    For those of you calling the republican party cheaters, perhaps you should look at all of the counties around the country where democrats have been asking about leaglities of their respective election.

    Just like Intolerance, cheating is only cheating if a republican is involved.. otherwise it is just keeping within the rules.

    Seriously all of you complaining should take a closer look at the entie process.

    November 9, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. J

    Al Franken is going to end up losing by 2 votes...... Now that is what I call "Fair and Balanced!"

    November 9, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Jen

    Al Franken is NOT a "breath of fresh air". He is a joke. He is the most hateful, partisan person I have ever seen on camera. People got angry with John McCain for attacking Obama the way he did. Well Franken attacked Coleman's wife in the same fashion and people are just brushing it off. The hypocrisy in the Democratic party is starting to show.

    November 9, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. mn. red

    to kives 17
    You believe what you want to. I'll do the same. That's the way it is, so bite me.

    November 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Abe from Iowa

    When all ballots are counted we will be saying Senator-elect Al Franken.

    November 9, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Ohio lady

    Go Franken! Maybe they should recount the votes for Michelle Bachmann, too. Who knows what they held back to make sure
    that self-righteous candidate could make it and make sure that
    a thorough investigation of all of the Congress take place. Who is
    to say that there wasn't any hanky-panky there? Do a recount on her, please!

    November 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. obama supporter

    why do we always elect corrupted senators.....

    November 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Mike O

    Amazing how often that, in close elections, uncounted ballots get 'discovered' that are ALWAYS very Democratic-vote heavy (often 100%).

    November 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. DC observer

    Anyone who has read Al's books understand that he is a perpetual seeker of truth and does have a very good mindset for politics. He has the country's best interest in mind with every word he speaks and I do hope he comes out as the winner in what appears to be a very close match. Who knew the politics can stay dirty even after the votes have been cast. oh wait...anyone who paid attention to Florida in 2000.

    November 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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