December 16th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Minnesota officials eye challenged Senate ballots

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A canvassing board met Tuesday in Minnesota to review ballots in the state's very tight race for a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs"]
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - While the official hand recount in Minnesota's tight U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken has ended, a stack of about 1,500 challenged ballots means the announcement of a winner is still at least a few days away.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's canvassing board, which includes Ritchie, two state Supreme Court judges and two Ramsey County judges, began reviewing the questioned ballots at noon Tuesday in an effort to determine each voter's intent.

Ballots have been challenged - and rejected - for a number of reasons, many because of ovals not properly filled in, some because of identifying marks - initials or signatures - made by voters on their ballots, and others for stray markings, particularly in the areas with the candidates' names.

The board started with about 440 ballots disputed by the Franken campaign. After three and half hours of debate, the board had sifted through just over 100 of them.

As could be expected with ballots challenged by Franken, most of the votes so far have been awarded to Coleman - approximately 70 to Franken's dozen or so. The remainder of the ballots have been placed in an "other" pile, most of them rejected as a vote for either candidate for one reason or another.

Ritchie hopes to complete the review of challenged ballots by the end of the day Friday, though that deadline is not solid. It is also possible for campaigns to add still more challenges to their piles.

At the end of the recount, Coleman held a slight edge of about 200 votes, but that number is far from final.

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Marge

    It still is a shame that all the errors, the disappeared ballots and the conterversary all came from the surrounding counties of Minneapolis, heavily heavily republican.

    December 16, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Which freak will win?

    Goodness, a complementary side / freak show to the Illinois coruption problems, what a circus 2008/2009 has turned into, either way Minnesota will be an interesting/weird choice

    December 16, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Milhouse van Houten

    Like i've stated before,this contest will probably take long enough that the winner can be declared in time for the 2010 run offs.Get on with it.

    December 16, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Gene

    This still isn't done? Can't they put in a new rule that if they can't figure out how to count within 30 days of the election, that the state should just forfeit their house or senate seat until the next election elections are held? 🙂

    December 16, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. John

    Franken is a joke. He should have quit weeks ago.

    December 16, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Walt, Belton,TX

    Too bad there won't be an honest broker like Jesse Jackson, Jr to make sure these "honest" brokers stay honest.

    December 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Lori

    I hope Franken wins but my fear is while the people of Minnesota helped pick the best future President that they did not pick the right Senator.

    December 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Ennis, LA

    Let's hope this doesn't wind up being like the governor's race of
    2004 in Washington State where new ballots mysteriously appeared
    out of nowhere after two recounts. The result was a reversal of the
    winner chosen on election day. The loser became the winner by
    counting more votes in Seattle than there were registered voters!
    A motion to redo the election without the votes of the dead, the
    illegal aliens, and those convicted of felonies. But the legislature,
    dominated by the loser's party, refused to call for another election.
    These partisan Democrats figured it was better to win a crooked
    election than to lose an honest one. So now Washington has a
    dubious governor who stole her way into office.

    Wanna bet the same thing won't happen in Minnesota today?

    December 16, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. justin

    Can you say do-over??!?!?! Any ballots are now hopelessly tainted and would be dragged out in court ad nauseum. Just do the runoff and be done with it!

    December 16, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Larry

    Al,you as a candidate are not worth the trouble and the tax payers expense you keep putting everybody in your state through,give up!!

    December 16, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. Willy Brown

    AL Franken says; Gosh darn it people will elect me because they like me. NOT!

    December 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. RJ, CA

    People, people! We are ALL Americans who want the best for our country. Sometimes it is "our" party "in power," sometimes it's not.

    Can we all just "bury the hatchet" and move forward. If this particular "forward" turns out to be good — GREAT! If not, we'll change course AGAIN — as we have so many, many times before.


    Happy Holidays to ALL my fellow Americans, of whatever polictical party affiliation!!

    December 16, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. peter

    AF deserve this seat because all we donnot need now is the republican guy like Coleman who made the state of Minnesota to be the last state in unemployment or in other word the highest in unemployment.RUPs just RIP for now.

    December 16, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. MinnMickey

    Commenter Larry,
    The best you can do is meaningless sloganeering against Al Franken? Al Franken isn't "putting everybody" through anything anymore than Norm Coleman is. The recount, along with an actual look for voter intent, was triggered by Minnesota state law, not by any candidate. This isn't Florida where Republicans did everything they could to stop ballots from being counted. Its Minnesota where the law requires the recount and voters are put first.

    December 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. John

    Keep fighting Al!

    December 16, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    To all you people criticizing Al for running because he was a comedian, have you ever heard Al talk about the issues?

    You know he is a Harvard grad, right?

    Who the heck was Norm Coleman? He snuck into office after Paul Wellstone died tragically in 2002, using the "terrorist propaganda Bush crap."

    His (Norm) flip-flopping butt does not deserve to be in the seat Paul Wellstone once occupied.

    December 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. Nathan

    Oh, for the love of GOD! For the last time, neither the Franken campaign nor Al Franken caused the recount! State law mandates a hand recount if the difference between two candidates is less than .5%. The difference on Election Night was 215 votes, much less than .5%! The goal of the recount is to determine that every vote cast was properly counted. If Al Franken had come out 215 votes ahead on Election Night, Republicans would've raised bloody hell! Let's just remember that this is a legally required procedure, not Al Franken's attempt to steal the Election.

    December 16, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  18. Lloyd

    May every vote be counted!! Minnesota, be an example to the rest of the country. Count the votes. 1500 challenged ballots and an incumbent winner by 200?

    December 16, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  19. JBS

    Keep working at it Al because if you cut it short, next time it will be the board that does that and eventually the people will not decided but a Government like China.

    December 16, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  20. H


    December 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. Ron Dobbs

    Like Al Franken but I think he's lost this one.

    December 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  22. Rockford

    Nice AL.... blow all the tax money you can...
    Man up and let it go.

    December 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Normal

    Larry...the state, by law, is required to have a recount. If you were down by 200 votes, would you call off a recount...I doubt it. If the incumbent was such a great candidate, don't you think it would have been a landslide in his favor? You seem like a right winger who knows little or nothing about this situation...why even bother commenting?

    December 16, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  24. JAM

    What's the matter, Larry?

    Are you afraid if they count all the votes, Al Franken will win?

    December 16, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  25. Normal

    Wow, there some incredibly uninformed people commenting on this. Does everyone realize that this recount is required under law? There is a 200 vote difference...we aren't talking about thousands of votes. I guess Begich should have dropped out against Stevens in Alaska too before all the votes were counted.

    December 16, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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