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. Texas Trail Kitty

    Let's hope this isn't a Republican plot to steal votes. The Conservative Movement will never live down the debacle of 2000, which directly lead to the mess we are in today.

    November 24, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  2. The Pecan State Pundit

    1. The goal of this process, of course, is to declare as winner the candidation who actually got the most votes, no matter who it turns out to be. Most Americans hope, of course, that the Democrat will turn out to be that person. Another obstructionist Conservative whose only goal is to prevent America's problems from being solved is the last thing we need.

    2. Our local governments have failed us miserably by not implementing a system of voting in which the voter's intent is unquestionable and clear.

    Imagine how our banking system would work if I could challenge my bank, arguing that I wrote a check for $100 but the bank erroneously transferred $1,000. Then, a group of auditors views the transaction and are unable to determine my "intent." This is not acceptable.

    As a lifelong computer programmer, I for one do not trust the current computerized voting machines. While a computing device is reliable and can be programmed to record votes faithfully, there is no reason to believe that those votes are – in fact – being recorded correctly. We are again in the position of trusting elected officials to do the right thing without having any way of verifying.

    November 24, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  3. HouseDiva

    stop the madness...count the votes!

    November 24, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  4. grahame

    After the last eight years of being lied to and the taking away of personal freedoms I hope Al Franken wins. Not because I like AL Franken that much but because I want the Republicans to go as far down as possible.

    Only then will they start to look in the mirror and change their way of hate lies and telling me how I should think plus what religion I should follow.

    There are far too many examples of this all the way from george bush to sarah palin, The American people are sick of them all.

    I hope Al Franken wins then the Democrats will get their 60 seats majority, after that I sincerely hope they will put a stop to all these hate radio jocks and take them off the air forever.

    Plus woman will have they right to make her own decisions concerning her bodies with regartd to abortion. That and stem cell production and research

    Yes...... I hope Al Franken wins

    November 24, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  5. lovable liberal

    What I'd like to see: A photo of every challenged ballot, which side challenged it, and why. Minnesota Public Radio has a dozen examples. There's no reason not to show all of them.

    November 24, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. Jesus Praising, Freedom Loving American Patriot

    I was taught that every vote counts, including mine.


    I wish the 2000 Supreme Court would have remembered that. Shame on them.

    Some people call BUSH v.GORE the beginning of the end of the USA. Let's not let that happen. Count EVERY vote.

    November 24, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. j williamson

    Ready yourselves for the Republican "rent-a-mob" should the count start to tip Democrats way. Remember the Florida re-count in 2000? Republican staffers, posing as "outraged citizens," stormed the offices where recounts were taking place and shut-down the process. The folks doing the recounting later said they feared for their lives.

    November 24, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. honeychild

    this is ridiculous... Let them draw straws!

    November 24, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Arnold Tarmy

    Why do you refer to Air America as a "progressive" radio network?
    Is this done as an option to a "reactionary" radio network.
    You should label it as "liberal" radio, as opposed to conservative radio.

    November 24, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Joe Green

    "Coleman's vote today is down 669 votes and Franken's down 621 votes."

    What the heck does that mean in the real world? Down from What? the previous count?

    Speak English, CNN!

    November 24, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. ProgressiveDemocrat

    Let all the votes be counted and then when they are finished Al Franken will be a Senator Elect .

    My perdiction is Coleman will lose by a slim margin.

    November 24, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  12. Mickie

    Maybe they'll know by 2012 who their senator is.

    November 24, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. Minnesotan

    Gotta keep those sneaky Republicans from suppressing votes. They'll try every dirty trick in the book.

    November 24, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. Dave

    Gee, I wonder how it will turn out? Is ACORN in charge? If they are the republican will lose.

    November 24, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. redneck

    Gotta keep an eye on those Democrats; dead men votes , paid voters, duplicate voters the list goes on !

    November 24, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Are there reasons why these ballots are being disputed? Are the ballots hand written ones or just people who weren't on the roles before hand?

    November 24, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  17. JB

    I've seen some of the disputed ballots . . .both camps are like children. Many of the ballots have clear intent, and yet they are nitpicking everything.

    If Franken steals this election, it will be a slap in the face to democracy

    November 24, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  18. Sue

    Draw straws??? No, a good ol' fashion duel would be much better for out current culture.

    November 24, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. naygie

    Another Florida indeed. I saw the ballots being challenged on MSNBC and many were cleared to whom it should go, yet your guests discounted them automatically regardless of the obvious. It is not democracy it is Demonstration of Crazyness!!!! just

    November 24, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. JB

    I love the revisionist history teachers out there.

    Just a refresher: The Supreme Court in 2000 said that if you were going to recount votes in one county, you had to recount in every county(like they are doing in MN). The Supreme Court ruled that if you just recounted in certain counties (interesting enough, the recount requests from Gore were in heavy Democrat areas) then you were treating those counties more favorably than other counties.

    But you can believe what you like. Otherwise it doesn't fit into your "Bush is Satan" underdeveloped brains!

    November 24, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. ran

    If there were more then 2 candidates on the ballot for Senate, then have a run off election with the top 2. this is what the Supreme Court should have done in Fl. in 2000 POTUS election. Our elections should be decided by the people not the courts.

    November 24, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. Elsie, Tampa

    As a Floridian, I gotta warn Minnesotans to watch out for anti-vite-counting mobs!

    November 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Richard M. Vaughan

    I really think the Obama administration should consider seriously General Wesley Clark for a strategic position .


    Richard Vaughan

    November 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. Jim

    You kooks should get over the continued self-deception that the 2000 election was "stolen." I realize that you wanted counters consulting mediums and mind-readers to determine the intent of every person who touched a ballot, but that is not the way it works. It is not for some vote counter to divine the intent of the voter. The voter is supposed to make his/her preference known.

    Every subsequent recount has confirmed that the 2000 election count was essentially correct and that the legitimate winner was George Bush. You just did not like the results. Get over it you nut cases.

    November 24, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. tiff of Lithia Springs

    Well Dave,

    By all means lets send every ACORN rep we can find. The republicans need to get themselves so they can remember who they represent.

    November 24, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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