December 17th, 2008
10:54 AM ET
14 years ago

Day Two of ballot deliberation begins in Minnesota

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Minnesota recount continues today."]ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Their self-imposed deadline was this Friday. But the panel weighing disputed ballots in the year's lone unresolved Senate race now faces an end date as uncertain as that vote's outcome.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and the four other members of the state's canvassing board resumed their deliberation over challenged ballots Wednesday morning, as the race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken remains too close to call.

When the panel began the day Tuesday, approximately 1,500 challenged votes sat before them. The group made it through just over 160 of them, the majority of which went to Coleman. That was an expected outcome - original decisions are considered unlikely to be overturned, and the challenges being considered first came from the Franken team.

The board's goal, Ritchie said Wednesday morning, is to make it through the Franken pile by the end of the day.

The challenges included about 450 from the Franken campaign, and about 1,000 from Coleman's team. But as of Tuesday night, the Franken team withdrew about 80 of their challenges. The Coleman team also says they plan to withdraw more challenges - but Coleman spokesman Mark Drake said they're planning on adding roughly 200 to the list as well. There has been no final word on whether Franken will also include additional challenges.

Also Wednesday, the Minnesota State Supreme Court will hear arguments from the Coleman campaign, which has asked for the counting of improperly rejected absentee ballots to cease - at least until, as the argue, a "uniform" method for counting them is put in place by the state's canvassing board.

Two State Supreme Court Justices also serve on the canvassing board. Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Associate Justice G. Barry Anderson will abstain from the court's proceedings Wednesday, reducing the seven-member court to five.

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Erik S.

    This is going to end up the same way it did just like the elections in 2000. The winner won, the loser lost, no matter how many times ballots are "found", the only thing that is broken are the immature politicians. Franken is an absolute joke, and he has made a farce of this campaign, just like in 2000. You lost, just like Gore, grow up and get over it. Just like Gore, you weren't qualified and people willl be happy with the fact, down the road, that you weren't elected, just like Gore and Kerry, two people who could never cut it.

    December 17, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Phil in KC

    We REALLY need a better method of voting. When it takes this long to figure out who voted for whom, something's wrong.

    December 17, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Normal

    Spread Head...well said.

    December 17, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. NY republican

    A state required recount, kind of like the one in Florida. Also open and honest in the courts of the land hearing the objections of Al Gore and George Bush.

    December 17, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-* I've been in this game of politics for close to 40 years now

    If this race isn't the poster child for why everybody should make it a point to vote, then I don't know what does. Don't ever take the attitude that "my vote won't make any difference", because it sure can!!

    December 17, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Jim

    Count every vote. It used to be the American way!

    But then, so did habeas corpus and an effective, efficient government...

    December 17, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Adam from Ohio

    It's a pretty simple idea: count every vote. If the margin between the candidates is in the tens of thousands, then a couple thousand questionable ballots won't change the outcome–even though it's a good idea to count every vote. However, when the vote is essentially 50-50, even a couple hundred questionable ballots can push the results one way or the other.

    So, COUNT EVERY VOTE and make sure the will of the people is heard! Props to Minnesota for realizing that this is important. Who cares if it takes a month or two–a senator serves for six years!

    December 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. GREG

    Who's more the problem here? The Democrat who questioned 450 ballots or the Republican who questioned 1,000? Who's being more decent? Calm collected Franken, or agro Coleman about to bust a nerve? Just look at the tone and tenor. GOP supporters are collectively nasty, fearful, and anal.

    December 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    There cannot be and unquestioned winner in this election. The marigins will be within the error range of the voting machines. There is no way to know who really won unless the margins are outside this range of error. They might as well flip a coin, it would mean the same thing.

    December 17, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Todd

    I'm not from Minnesota but I do have family that lives there. I surely hope for their sake that Franken does not become their senator. If that happens, voters from Minnesota will become the laughing stock of the country as people across the country begin to wonder what kind of people could possibly elect a total jerk like Al Franken.

    December 17, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Mari

    @ "welcome to the OBAMA show"......... SERIOUSLY.... GET SOME HELP! YOU ARE SICK.


    December 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Dan

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!! - Do you use all caps in every facet of life? Is your resume in all caps? When you talk to people face-to-face or over the phone, do you yell every single word?

    December 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Julie

    Perhaps co-Senators?

    December 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. sick n tired

    I agree with Chuck!

    December 17, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Mickie

    Do you think they'll have a senator by 2012?

    December 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Billy J , TX-

    Welcome to the obama show needs to take his meds.

    December 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. nick

    Man people in our nation are so impatient! Like a bunch of spoiled children whining about how unfair that their favorite tv show isn't on yet. Now that there are more discrepancies with the votes than ever people just want it done and over with regardless the outcome? Why not go to Las Vegas and base your entire election on a game of blackjack because that's exactly how accurate your election becomes when you rush things like this. "America! Home of the brave!" Yea and also the ignorant apparently.

    "True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else." - Clarence Darrow

    December 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Ken in NC

    WOW, by the time Minnesota finishes it's recount of all votes, the term for the Senators seat will have expired. This is worse than having to ride from town to town to collect and count the votes.

    I hope they get into the 21st century before it ends.

    December 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Bob

    The right wingers are criticizing Franken for trying to fraudulently win the election. in fact, Franken's efforts have been trying to get improperly disallowed ballots counted. He has withdrawn the vast majority of his previously filed ballot challenges. (In fairness, Coleman has withdrawn many of his, but not as many as Franken).

    This process is all about counting all votes as accurately as possible.

    What is wrong with that?

    The last thing we need is another improperly truncated recount like Florida in 2000. They should take their time and get it right.

    December 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. david Armendale, SF, CA

    Hoping Franken wins for no other reason than to watch Hannity and O'reilly each blow a gasket.

    December 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. Steve the Soothsayer

    Mark Ritchie has been presented with an unusual opportunity to show himself as a man of honesty and integrity. Should he attempt to throw this election in Franken's direction, he will have failed that test abysmally.

    December 17, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. DrDemocrat

    Todd... You are afraid that Minnesota will be a laughingstock if Franken is elected?!? As opposed to when Minnesotans elected a professional WRESTLER as their governor?!? As someone who lived in Florida through the 2000 recount debacle, I'm glad some other state has to suffer through a recount process. Maybe they'll do what Georgia and Louisiana did and enact a runoff process if no one gets 50%. That would solve the problem.

    December 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. Ernie in LA

    People in Minnesota need to learn how to count. How can this be so difficult?

    December 17, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. jim

    I'm so glad I vote in New York where these stupid paper ballots aren't used... OOPS I almost forgot that the HAVA is making us get rid of our super reliable lever voting machines. I guess we'll be as screwed up as the rest of the country next year.

    December 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. John, Rochester MN

    Todd, Franken a total jerk? Maybe, but unlikely. Most Minnesotans can't even look at Coleman without cringing.

    December 17, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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