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. Spencer/NY to VA

    Just go on and give it to Franken already.

    November 24, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Franklin NC

    All of this to put a comedian in the Senate? Come on, this is ridiculous.... the joke is over, let's get on with business here.

    November 24, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. 3M

    I'm inclined to agree with The Pecan State Pundit. I share the frustration concerning the means by which we vote and the clarity of it all. Moreover, as a Cyber-Security Professional and Engineer, the efficiency and security of the current computerized voting machines tends to trigger a rapid uncontrollable gag reflex in me. I'm sure Pundit will agree that the number of lines of code you find in these things just to make finite decisions is almost begging for something to go wrong.

    As for Minnesota we can only hope that Franken emerges from this very avoidable fog victorious.

    November 24, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. BushWonRecount

    Bush won the recount 3 times even with newspapers doing the counting later. Look it up. If you lie about that you'll lie about anything.

    November 24, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. happy thanksgiving

    this is crazy, why can't they get this done, no wonder we are in such bad shape, nothing but incompetance.

    November 24, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. GenPatton

    Who's trying to steal the election Mr. Franken? People do vote across party lines.

    November 24, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. C W

    Here in Oregon we have vote-by-mail. It has worked very well for us for a number of years and encourages a higher turnout.

    I think the Obama Administration should seriously consider switching the whole country over to such a system. It would eliminate the long lines on voting day and would better ensure integrity in the system.

    November 24, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Chip

    Shouldn't the headline read, "Number of challenged voters in Minnesota ..."

    November 24, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Credit Card Republicans

    This vote isnt being tampered with is it?The FED is one gigantic bank with NO competition.It controls everything and everyone,just like in the game of MONOPOLY.

    November 24, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. TT from MN

    IF every vote is counted, Franken will win.
    Why? Because Obama-Biden beat the know-nothing team by 11%.

    Do the math.

    November 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. An Independent for Obama

    I don't believe it; an entire story without Alaska's CEO being named. I guess hell finally froze over. Go Al, beat Norm!

    November 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Minnesota Voter

    For the record Pecan State Pundit, in Minnesota we have a paper ballot that is scanned. The recount therefore is of the paper ballots themselves. There should not be any question about a computer error. The reason so many ballots are disputed has to do with the voters themselves. All that you have to do is fill in the circle next to the name of the person you want to vote for. For some reason not everyone can figure that out. The other thing being disputed is the large volume of absentee ballots that have not been counted. Hundreds of people voted absentee and only found out in the last week or so that their vote wasn't counted.

    November 24, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. RealityKing

    Minnesota has now become as big a joke as Franken!

    November 24, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. Jim in Bisbee

    If you can trust the GOP, who can't you trust?

    November 24, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. Kyle

    I have seen some of the challenged ballots and the county auditors have every right to be frustrated with both sides. 90% of the challenges are ridicules, the voter’s intent is obvious. I know that this is a big deal to both sides, but for the people of Minnesota, well, we don’t really care. Just count the votes, do it right and let’s get this over with. They are both losers, and neither one of them represents the people of Minnesota.

    November 24, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. That Other Jerry

    We here in Alabama aren't always known for being on the cutting edge. But we have learned how to use a voting machine. We use optical scanners with paper ballots, which are marked with a felt-tip pen. No erasures, no faint marks, no hanging chads. If the ballot is unclear, the machine rejects it immediately and the voter starts over with a clean ballot. We had a partial recount in a recent governor's race and it took hours, not weeks. Is this kind of system just so darned simple and sensible that no one believes it will work? Why do states that are supposedly so much more "modernized" and "progressive" than we are keep having so much election trouble?

    November 24, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Tim

    This is just crazy. We can put a man on the moon, but we still have an outdated pitful election system. We need to take the best features already in place around thge country and creat a standardized system that works!!! No more excuses!!!

    November 24, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. ANGIE

    Careful we all know how Republicans like to STEAL ELECTIONS The Republicans dont have a shred of Honesty to them!

    November 24, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Coleman and his crew are despicable. First they mock the idea of a recount and then they try to discredit the Secretary of State who must legally conduct the recount. Then they try to supress votes. Coleman was a Bush stooge from day one who DOESN'T reflect Minnesota values. I voted for, and hope, FRANKEN wins!

    November 24, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. Mary

    **It will be a fraud count like it was with the presidential election,
    there is not such thing as HONESTY anymore it all comes down to a lieing count. it like when AIG, Fanny Mea, Freddy Mac, it like with the Car industrys, and the Banks, these people have had these companys for years, where was there responsiblitys then, and why should we pay for there years of living it up now. these individuals had all these years to put the money aside for such a time as this, and did'nt, and yet we have to pay for there irresponsibilitys, and it will be with this election, it will propley be a lie, The real looser will get in, all because someone payed them off to lie,

    November 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. JB

    Arnold Tarmy-

    Liberals renamed themselves a few years back, because liberal was a bad word. So they began to call themselves progressive.

    Isn't it interesting the ebb and flow of politics. Now republican is the bad word. I would argue much worse than liberal ever was. Carter killed the word liberal. Bush killed the word republican.

    With that said. . . any suggestions on what republicans can start calling themseves? I am sure there are some amusing ideas out there.

    November 24, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Hank Paulson is Bald

    First Minnesota elects a former pro wrestler as governor, now they want to elect a comedian? Although I despise Franken, the Republicans need Al Franken to win in order for people to realize that having a D (or a DFL, in Minnesota's case) doesn't mean you're better suited for political office.

    November 24, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. Jackie in Dallas

    A comedian can't be smart enough to be Senator? Hmm. What about a wrestler like Ventura? An actor like Schwartzenegger or even Reagan? A singer like Sonny Bono? Actually, Al Franken is actually a very bright man. A comedian is someone who comments on current life with a laugh rather than a screech (Rush, give it a break!). With what our lives are facing right now, I'd appreciate someone with the ability to brighten my day. Too bad we can't get a decent comedian to run for Senator in Texas...

    November 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Tom

    Minnesota votes for "Franken?" it says alot about the people that live there – Mn has become a clown show to the world, nice work/

    November 24, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. Bill

    really sad that a state is so inept that they cannot hold an election

    November 24, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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