November 25th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
9 years ago

Nearly 3,000 ballots challenged in Minnesota

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Thousands of ballots are being challenged in an automatic recount that will determine the winner in Minnesota's Senate race."]
(CNN) – As the recount resumes this morning in Minnesota, the number of ballots being challenged is growing: Nearly three-quarters of all votes cast in the state’s Senate race have been recounted in the battle for Norm Coleman's seat. The recount, which kicked off last Wednesday, could extend into next month.

Unofficial results from the November 4 election put Coleman, a freshman Republican senator, just 215 votes ahead of 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 progressive radio network Air America. The slim margin for Coleman, far less than one-half of one percent, triggered an automatic recount, the first time there's ever been a recount of a U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.

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

The Secretary of State's office reports that 2,801 ballots have been challenged so far, with 1,401 questioned by Franken's camp and 1400 questioned by Coleman's camp.

According to the Secretary of State's office, 74.18 percent of the more than 2.9 million votes cast in the election were recounted through the weekend. Coleman's vote today is down 1,051 votes from his Election Day total, and Franken's is down 1,008 votes — which puts Coleman's current margin at just 172 votes.

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 those results, legal action could follow.

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

If the Democrats take both remaining 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 • Senate
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Cynthia

    Voter fraud is definitely ripe here, just ask Acorn and all the dems regsitering non-citizens to vote. I don't think people on this blog really understand what happened in Florida in 2000. Bush won fair and square, it was the Dems that actually tried to steal the election, but that it what you get from people who are disillusioned.

    November 25, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Sue in MI

    Do you think we can just let the process work instead of insulting each other? Looks pretty fair to me so far-same number of contested ballots on each side, just about the same results.

    November 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Obama Landslide

    LOL at zgomer and the other conspiracy nuts claiming/implying the recount is some kind of lefty stunt. The fact is that the recount was automatic under state law. Keep drinking that Kool-Aid, it's gonna be a long eight years for you haters. 🙂

    November 25, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. afam

    90 percent of the republicans are of no good right now. they need to go away and reorganize. if it takes one pary rule to fix this problem so be it. i am a democrat and if the democrats mess up afer 4 years we should be kicked out and be replaced with independents.

    November 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. A Kickin' Donkey

    I don't agree with the filibuster. Do away with it. There is no penalty for gridlock.

    November 25, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. John, Illinois

    Ya know, this was an automatic recount generated by the closeness of the election. Neither side initiated it as an attempt to "steal" the election. Both teams have contested an identical number of ballots, so no one gets an advantage there.

    That being said, neither of these candidates deserves to serve in the Senate. They both ran despicable, shameful campaigns. As a liberal who has enjoyed many of the skits that Al Franken wrote during his years at Saturday Night Live, I am ashamed at the cheap pandering of his campaign. Minnesota tends to be a pretty progressive state; Mr. Franken, if you had stuck to a policy-based campaign you should have won easily.

    November 25, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. vic

    Hoping for a Franken win!

    November 25, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Nan

    Go Jim Martin (Georgia) and Al Franken (Minnesota)!!!!

    November 25, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. bernie from maryland

    Senator Al Franken?
    You've got to be kidding!!

    Seriously though. Don't Coleman and Franken look like they could be brothers?

    November 25, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. TonyS

    Imagine getting rid of the Electoral College. We could do this in every state.

    November 25, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Nan

    Would you rather have the one-party rule we've had the past 8 years? Let's see, if you reduce your income while maintaining or increasing your spending – what'll you have? Bush, Cheney, and national bankruptcy!

    November 25, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. John

    Actually, Rob, all the noise thus far has come from the Coleman campaign. First, the election was close enough to warrent a recount under state law, and Coleman declared himself the winner and told Franken he should concede. A few days later, when all precincts were totalled and the result was still too close to call, Coleman did the same thing again. Plus, he sued to keep out valid votes that an election official had in his car. Then, when Franken went to DC to familiarize himself with everything just in case he wins (the responsible thing to do, by the way) Coleman complained yet again.
    And as for Franken being a joke and just a puppet, first, listen to him or read him; he's really quite smart. And even if he were going to be just a puppet, I'd rather see that than another six years from the Bush puppet we were stuck with until now.

    November 25, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. angela

    SONS OF THE FOUNDERS VS THE SOCIALISTS???????????? You do realize that W is a republican and the one buying out the banks and insurance co's right? Socialism is happening under a republican!!!y the time he's out we will have bailed out the auto industry as well as owning most of Citibank. Now THAT'S Socialism!!!!!!!!!!

    November 25, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Gekonge


    November 25, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. NY Republican

    nom deplume – the other thing that those countries you mentioned have in common is (are you ready) STRICT GUN CONTROL if not OUTRIGHT BANS (oops that's happening here too) sorry.

    November 25, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Pat F

    The death of democracy. It started in Florida, continued in Ohio, and now the death throes are in Minnesota.

    Instead of a democracy, we have a "litocracy" – government by endless litigation.

    November 25, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Richard A. Spomer

    How many votes will show up for Franken out of the clear blue or from under the table, this has turned into a big joke on MN!

    November 25, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
1 2 3