November 24th, 2008
09:00 AM ET
13 years ago

Number of challenged ballots growing in MN Senate recount

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The recount in Minnesota could stretch into December."](CNN) – As the Senate recount resumes this morning in Minnesota, the number of ballots being challenged is growing. Nearly two-thirds of the votes have been recounted in the battle for incumbent Republican Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate seat.

The recount, which began last Wednesday, could extend into next month.

Unofficial results from the November 4 election put Coleman, a freshman senator, just a few hundred votes ahead of his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, known across the country from his days on Saturday Night Live and from his years as a talk show host on Air America, the progressive radio network. The slim margin for Coleman, far less than one half of 1 percent, triggered an automatic recount, the first time there's ever been a recount of a U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.

Now election officials are in the middle of the long process of recounting all of the ballots at 107 sites across Minnesota, surrounded by election observers and lawyers from both campaigns, and the media.

The Secretary of State's office reports nearly 2,000 ballots have been challenged so far, with 948 questioned by Coleman's camp and 945 by Franken's.

According to the Secretary of State's office, 65.65 percent of the more than 2.9 million votes cast in the election were recounted through the weekend. Coleman's vote today is down 669 votes and Franken's down 621 votes.

The process could extend well into December. The recount sites across Minnesota have a deadline of the first week of December to report their results. After that, the state's canvassing board meets to rule on disputed ballots and to certify the election. If one side is unhappy with the results, legal action could follow.

Democrats have so far picked up seven Senate seats in this year's election, with the currently-Republican seats in Minnesota and Georgia still undecided. In Georgia, freshman Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss faces off in a runoff election on December 2 against Democrat Jim Martin, a former state lawmaker.

If the Democrats were to take both remaining undecided contests, they'll reach their pre-election goal of controlling 60 Senate seats, a filibuster-proof majority. A filibuster is a move by the minority party in the Senate that basically brings the chamber to a standstill by blocking votes on legislation.

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Jeff


    What a completely uneducated post. The historical facts show that controll by one party has generally resulted in bad times for the country. Examples of this are President Bush and a Republican controlled Congress and President Jimmy Carter and a Democratic controlled Congress. Time will only tell if the Democrats repeat the blunders of the Carter administration or prove to have the best interest of America, as a whole, at heart.

    A one party system of government would be detrimental to our freedoms and would smack more of communism than of democracy. Besides even Machiavelli recognized more than 500 years ago that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Like or hate Republicans or like or hate Democrats the complete absence of the other party would end our country and our freedoms without question. It is the balance of power that makes government work, so unless you are an ideolog and you only care that your opinion be heard and counted the destruction/elimination of the Republican party would be a bad thing.

    I guess that is why it is good that we independents ultimately decide the outcome of elections.

    November 24, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. Know Hillary - No Hillary

    Last time an "Al" was involved in a recount, the results were a disaster. Let's not go down that road again!

    November 24, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. TrumpThumper

    ....Ben makes a greak point. Look how one biased state official (Harris – FL) dictated history. By calling the vote the way she wanted it to turn out, countless measures from the current inept administration were put into play....from everything from the war to the economy. So let's all send Katherine Harris a big thank you. From those who lost loved ones in Iraq and Afganistan, to those who lost their retirement savings and portfolios because no one wanted to regulate Wall Street....thanks-a-bunch! Don't ever beieve that one person can't make a difference in your life.....look how her decision effected countless lives. Tragic.

    November 24, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Aaron from MN

    1. Progressivism and Liberalism are two different political ideologies. Its like saying socialism and communism are the same thing. So get that straight.
    2. For everyone who is saying that the Minnesota recount is inept. Seriously? Its going exactly as it is supposed to without a hitch. Both sides play games obviously, but the outcome will not be affected by it.
    3. Ventura was a good governor. We in Minnesota can vote for whoever we want. Remember, Ventura beat Coleman for governor. At least property taxes didn't skyrocket under Ventura. Pawlenty has basically run the state into a corner so he can say he didn't raise state taxes. (of course city/property taxes went way up to make up for budget shortfalls. thanks pawlenty.)
    4. Both candiates were born in new york. Coleman came here and started his political career. Franken left after growing up and is now back to run for senate. I don't think we minnesotans were thrilled by either choice. This was the seat vacated by Paul Wellstone when he died in the plane accident after all.

    November 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. That Other Jerry

    ML, don't insult our intelligence with that "fascist Republican" crap. If you really left Minnesota, you left for a job or family, like everyone else who moves in this country. You dishonor the millions of refugees around the world who risk their lives to escape REAL repression–not just because they dislike the party in power, but because the party in power is trying to kill them. You need to give thanks this week that you live in a country where you can live wherever you choose, and where the opposition party is merely obnoxious, not murderous.

    November 24, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Stephen, Dallas, TX

    Where are all the liberals that were screaming about Sarah Palin's qualifications to be Vice-President? What are Franken's qualifications to be a United States Senator?

    November 24, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Eric So Dak

    The recount isn't a ploy or an attempt to steal. Lets just hope whoever wins does a good job. If the people want bipartisan representation, they ought to quit acting so bipartisan themselves. Remember sometimes politicians do listen to the constituents - If we choose to act so partisan, how is it that we can blame the congress for acting in our reflection?

    November 24, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Todd


    Do you suffer from PTSS or what ( Its eight years ago now Ben). The biggest problem in Florida was in Broward county , THE most heavily Demcratic county in the state. All three major news papers eventuallu just gave up trying to find something wrong in the recount. The biggest problem was that a certian Democratic Candidate just would give it up.

    November 24, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. TEX ANN ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Good Lord, how long are they going to take??? This isn't brain surgery, folks, count the darn ballots and get it over with.

    November 24, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Alex from VA

    I think its funny that so many people on here like to bash Minnesota so much... I wonder what state theyre from? From what Ive seen on the news, Minnesota is one of the cleanest, healthiest, wealthiest, best educated states in the union... although they have had a couple of moron governors I think its silly to bash MN when theyre just doing what is required by law. If my states senate race was that close id want a recount too! hopefully the idiots talking about how dumb Franken is wil shut up... look at his college record and also his record of public service! Coleman isnt quite a bushy but he has been a flip-flopper and probably only won his current senate seat because of the death of Wellstone...anyways you morons should do some homework!!!

    November 24, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. David in Dallas

    The laws on the books in Minnesota require a recount if the difference between the candidates isn't at least .5%.

    The margin these guys ran was only 1/50 of that.

    It's sad to see Americans criticize vote validation. Criticize the WAY votes are validated if you think fraud is a possibility if you want. But don't criticize vote validation itself. Our right to vote is too important for that.

    November 24, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Sadie

    @ Jackie in Dallas

    THANK YOU!!! I've been waiting for someone to point out all the other people from the entertainment industry who have gone on to hold state and national office. Democrats AND Republicans.

    November 24, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. JB

    To those who have tried to claim that the Clinton staff didn't remove the W's and put up centerfolds.

    It did happen. And it was chiildish. Google it.

    It was Bush who handled it like an adult and refused to comment.

    Just saying it didn't happen, doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    And FYI, I was working in the WH for Bush Sr. and was one of the last out of the OEOB, and we did nothing as childish. That being said, I know of people who saw the aftermath. There were also many power cords that had been cut and or removed.

    November 24, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Cynthia

    Every vote CAN'T AND SHOULD NOT COUNT IF IT IS an ILLEGAL VOTE OR someone has incorrectly filled out their ballot. We should not let officials into the business of voter intent. I certainly filled out my ballot correctly so it is not a problem. I know someone very well that is an observer at this recount and the challenges are coming from all sides

    I am here in Minnesota and know what is going and for anyone to say this is all one sided is an idiot. Both sides are playing the chess game.

    It isn't brain surgery, but you can't count votes that should not be counted. ie. Person writes their name on their ballot, ie puts some other marking on the ballot when you cannot do that.

    November 24, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Justin

    They are both a bunch of Morons! I could not get myself to vote for either Franken or Coleman here in Minnesota. So I voted for myself!

    November 24, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  16. Justin

    And I voted for Donald Duck for president!!!!!!

    November 24, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
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