December 18th, 2008
11:26 AM ET
14 years ago

Recount update: No official recount result until at least next week

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Recount begins in tightly-contested Minnesota Senate race."]
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said after a long day of reviewing more challenged ballots Wednesday that a certification of recount results in the race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota's Senate race would not be released until next week, assuming the review of challenged ballots ends on Friday.

But a few unresolved issues still remain. One is the question over what to do with improperly rejected absentee ballots: The state canvassing board-the entity of judges, along with Ritchie, charged with overseeing the recount-has asked for counties to begin the process of reviewing and counting those. However, the Coleman campaign has said there is no "uniform" method for doing so.

Wednesday, the state Supreme Court heard the Coleman team's arguments and said a decision is "forthcoming."

Another still unresolved issue is how the state will handle "duplicate ballots," as they're being called. Duplicate ballots arise when, for one reason or another, a ballot is not fit to be sent through the optical scanning machines, perhaps due to a ballot from overseas that may have been printed on standard sheets of paper and mailed in as opposed to a ballot of the thick cardstock used in typical voting booths.

Ballots that are unfit for the machines would then be assigned a "duplicate ballot." Essentially, the information from the unusable ballot is transposed onto acceptable ballots and sent through the machines that way. The Coleman campaign has alleged that these ballots (the original and the duplicate) were not separated properly and "double counting" may have been taking place.

Members of the canvassing board did not come to a decision on what to do with these ballots as of Wednesday night, but agreed to take up the matter again Thursday.

All in all, about 415 challenged ballots have been reviewed as of Wednesday evening. This all but concludes the pile of discrepancies from the Franken campaign. Thursday morning they will begin to sift through a stack of about 1,000 challenges from the Coleman team-more than double the amount from Franken. The board's main concern is this large number will equal a fairly great number of frivolous challenges and they urged the Coleman campaign to consider withdrawing more before the board reconvenes Thursday.

The Secretary of State's office does not keep a running tally itself of the results after each day of reviewing challenges, but the majority from the past two days have been added to Coleman's total. This was expected however, since the challenges came from Franken's side. Coleman thus maintains his slight lead and currently sits with about a 350 vote edge over his Democratic opponent.

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Celusil

    Ray Fisher

    while your idea is interesting, I don't think it's very democratic.

    I do like the Idea that if no one gets 50% plus 1 it triggers a run off like in georgia not a recount

    December 18, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Anna, ATL

    hey Ray?

    What does ten percent mean?

    Registered voters? Bodies that actually show up to the polling booth?
    The entire population?

    In a democracy, majority rules, and EVERY ONE VOTE COUNTS.

    December 18, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Pretorian

    Who cares.
    The people will only benefit from the delay since both candidates are such monkeys.

    December 18, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. JJ

    Ray–Your premise is ridiculous, and too often, democrats are resorting to stealing elections and completely ignoring the will of the voters. I couldn't care less if Coleman had won by one vote election night. HE WON! And despite the democratic majority responsible for this MN recount and their best efforts to manufacture votes for Franken in left leading districts, Coleman is still leading. Voters don't forget nor back down when their will is ignored, such as with Prop 8 in CA. When are people going to learn that no matter how many times they take this to court (as they did again once CA adopted Prop 8) the people of their state don't want it–just as they don't in almost all 50 states, and that those states that did welcome it did so on the basis of activist judges legislating from the bench??? The people will be heard at the polls. Those thieves who would seek to overturn their will would do well to remember that, when they find their names on the ballot and it is well publicized what their actions may have been to usurp the will of the people they "pledge to represent."

    December 18, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Really

    Ray Fisher, how about the party that loses the top post gets an added 12% because people may have voted just because of the party affiliation. I would be all for a run off. I think a lot of people turned out to vote for Obama and just picked Frankken as a default. It would not happen in a run off. Coleman would win by 15%+

    December 18, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. John

    This just shows the need for a new rule:
    – One machine re count of accepted ballots
    -If the machine recount supports the initial result, than somebody wins and somebody else is out of luck. The drama ends.
    -If the recount gives another winner, then and only then is a more indepth review needed.

    December 18, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Matt

    @ JJ

    Ah, the irony...a GOPer pointing th efinger at someone and saying they steal elections. Please, enlighten us with some examples and evidence that do not include mind-nuimbingly retarded conspiracy theories.

    December 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Ken

    @JJ: I agree with you that the people have been heard at the polls this past Nov., heard loud and clear, so you would do well to follow your own advice and heed the will of the people. Please do that, instead of mindlessly parroting Limbaugh's favorite FAIRYTALES about [D]s "stealing" elections, about [D] majorities forcing recounts in MN, about states that accept gay marraige doing so only because of activist judges.

    In recent memory the only thieves I know about who definitely sought to overturn the people's will was the [R] congress who impeached B. Clinton over idiotic issues that had nothing to do with his job and responsibilities as president. But you are correct: since that episode, the people have seen to it that the [R] party has steadily lost ground in the Congress, starting with the lead-dolt at the time, Newt Gingrich.

    So my friend, you can take your self-indulgent rightwing rhetoric and stuff it in the same orifice where Bush found McCain's nose for the last 2-3 years.

    December 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Matt

    Coint toss? Yeah, but what coin? Do we use one with a Republican's head on it or a Democrat's?

    December 18, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Al, NY NY

    poor poor JJ...still clinging to false ideas... THE RECOUNT IS MANDATED BY STATE LAW!!! Coleman did not get the required total so it automatically kicks in with the recount. If the vote had been the other way and Al F was in the lead, you'd squeal like all little lemming, dittoheaded republicans do when things don't go your way.

    December 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Denver Dem

    Coleman like all other repugs, is a cry baby and if anyone is trying to steal the election it is the party that is already so good at it.

    December 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Texas Teacher

    Gezuz.... when will this be over! *LOL* My votes on Franken!

    December 18, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. Mike, Syracuse NY

    @Matt. JFK vs. Nixon in 1960. It is widely believed with lots of evidence that LBJ rigged Texas and Mayor Daley rigged Chicago to give Kennedy the election. Evidence consists of vote tallies in some counties that had more votes for Kennedy than there were registered voters. Re. the inevitable response about FL in 2000, the recount was finished by a group of newspapers using the standard requested by the Gore campaign, and Bush still won. Google both events and learn some truth.

    December 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Willy Brown

    You Swede Farmers deserve Al Fra coo coo nken

    December 18, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. jennifer

    Lesser States could learn from Texas how to fix elections. We had people like Tom Delay draw ridiculous lines to ensure certain districts would elect republicans ad nauseum.

    December 18, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Justin, ny

    to JJ

    democrats didn't "trigger" this recount – its MANDATED in MINN. State Election Law.

    learn the facts before you point fingers

    December 18, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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