November 26th, 2008
08:10 AM ET
9 years ago

Crucial Hearing Today in Minnesota Recount

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The recount in Minnesota could stretch into December."](CNN) – A crucial hearing today in Minnesota could have a major impact on that state's recount of its Senate race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken.

The state's five member Canvassing Board, which oversees the recount, is meeting to decide how to deal with thousands of absentee ballots that are not included in the recount. Franken's campaign says the ballots were wrongly rejected, and that about 6,400 ballots were wrongly disqualified. Coleman's team says the board doesn't have the authority to include the disputed ballots in the recount.

The hearing comes as the number of ballots being challenged by both camps grows. Just over 80 percent of votes cast in the state’s Senate race have been recounted, in a process that could continue 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 3,594 ballots have been challenged so far, with 1,836 questioned by Coleman's camp and 1,758 questioned by Franken's camp.

According to the Secretary of State's office, 80.62 percent of the more than 2.9 million votes cast in the election were recounted through yesterday. When comparing the new tallies with the results from November 4, it appears Coleman's 215 vote lead now stands at 238.

With the margin between Coleman and Franken remaining so close, the status of the ballots challenged during the recount and the disputed ballots that are not being counted could be crucial to the outcome of the recount.

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
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. bco

    "This smells funny. Amazing all the votes are in Franken's favor."

    Hmm... this article says "When comparing the new tallies with the results from November 4, it appears Coleman's 215 vote lead now stands at 238."

    How does Coleman gaining 23 votes in the recount equal "all the votes in Franken's favor?"

    That is how recounts work. You don't know who gains or loses votes until you finish counting all of the votes.

    That is how elections work. Count the votes!

    November 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Obama08

    If people cant follow simple directions when voting absentee or not, they shouldnt be counted. Simple as that.

    November 26, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Obama08

    lovable liberal November 26th, 2008 11:52 am ET

    "Democrats want all legal votes counted. Republicans look for any possible way to exclude ballots if they think those ballots are against them."

    Thats really funny since they have both challenged about the same number of ballots.

    November 26, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Texas Teacher

    Oh, ye of little faith, nay sayers, and sore losers.... hold thy words and thou shalt see that a good and honest man has been brought into office.... and in time thou shalt have to eat thy words!

    And, SERIOUSLY..... Get over it! YOU LOST! *LOL*

    November 26, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. George Ennis from Toronto, Canada

    Democracy can sometimes be messy. This is one of those times. It appears to me that there is a clear process laid out by law regarding the recount and any challenges made under it. It may take time and yes some recourse to the courts to clarify the question of the eligibility of the absentee ballots. A little patience on all sides would go a long way.

    Let the process work. This is what we mean when we talk about the rule of law.

    At the end of the day the whole purpose of voting is to ascertain the will or intention of voters. Sometimes these things get a little tricky but I would be concerned with a process that only focussed on strict adherence to technicalities and not the intent of the law.

    November 26, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Winning progressives

    No matter, the republican party is in rapid decline and will be irrelavant soon. They've inflicted enough damage, their politics of hate has resulted in more people being hated than they can vote against in the future. Go back to sending your cash to your minister's heavenly bank accounts, and get out of the spotlight please.

    November 26, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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