December 19th, 2008
11:32 AM ET
14 years ago

Franken takes slim lead in early count

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="As of Friday morning, Al Franken has a narrow lead over Sen. Norm Coleman, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune."]ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Democrat Al Franken currently holds a slight edge over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota's still unresolved U.S. Senate race, according to a running tally on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Web site.

The newspaper's mid-morning tally showed Franken with a 102 vote margin over Coleman with several hundred ballots still to be reviewed. On Thursday evening, Coleman had been ahead by single digits.

But the race remains fluid: the results reported by the Star Tribune are an ongoing tally, with hundreds of challenges still to be reviewed Friday.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has said that he and the rest of the four-judge panel who comprise the canvassing board will not end their work day until all remaining challenges have been reviewed.

One major wild card that remains are roughly 4,000 ballots that were originally challenged by the campaigns, who have since withdrawn those challenges. The Secretary of State's office has yet to declare how or when those ballots will be awarded to the candidates.

Another issue: the State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that improperly rejected absentee ballots should not be tallied unless both campaigns and county elections officials agree the ballot was improperly rejected. It's estimated there are about 1,600 improperly rejected ballots.

(Updated at noon with additional information)


soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Seth

    Franken will fail the people of Minnesota just like he failed Air America.

    December 19, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    I wonder if those who question Al Franken's qualifications would consider that the founding fathers of this country were mostly farmers and just plain folk and look what we got from them. For the record Norm Coleman has not been a boy wonder either and the people of Minn can now have all of there votes determine who they want to serve them.

    December 19, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Jack

    My understanding is that they are looking at thse votes in batches based on who challenged them. So when they look at a batch challenged by Coleman, Franken will gain votes, and when they look at a Franken batch, Coleman will gain votes. There's really nothing here to suggest any wrong doing by either side. I would like to see some numbers on how many are actually getting rejected. If there are very few getting rejected, than these challenges would look like a pretty big waste of time and (taxpayer) money.

    December 19, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Stomping cockroachs

    Hows it feel to be in the minority,all you Republicans?

    December 19, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Dan

    Ok, these two candidates are very different. But years from now the most significant aspect that will be remembered is how incredibly close this election was. On the order of 100 votes or less separating candidates in an election where 2.8 MILLION votes are cast? Staggering.

    December 19, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Missy M

    This story highlights just how easy it is to steal an election. I will never again have faith in the "democratic" process.

    December 19, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. rob

    Well, I guess you have to appreciate all the Republicans on here spewing out grammatically incorrect and misspelled hatred without even understanding what's going on. Free speech is fun!

    They both have 42% you guys, I wish people would stop acting like Franken is stealing the election. He was only 200 votes behind initially and that was before they were done counting all the ballots in Franken-leaning counties. Also, Coleman's campaign was challenging all kinds of ballots that shouldn't have been challenged – in my opinion to give him a narrow edge right away and make it seem like Franken was stealing the election.

    Coleman is an unpopular sitting incumbent, and he probably lost the race. REPUBLICANS: get over it. There is a reason you're "losing seats in Congress like it's a game of musical chairs." It's time for the GOP to at least TRY to become moderate again, they're so far to the right it was beginning to threaten democracy.

    December 19, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. sick n tired

    Welcome to Florisota!

    December 19, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Count ALL the votes!

    What idiots some of these posters are!!

    They (MN) are counting ALL votes and some how it's a travesty of justice? I personally don't like Franken, and I don't like Coleman, they both seem to be pretty I have no horse in this race, so I could care less who wins, other then the one with the most votes, ALL votes being counted, wins.

    These whiners that advocate 'don't count all the votes...because we only want our guy to win' are absolute traitors. There is no way we should be in the habit of disregarding votes.

    December 19, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. florida girl

    Jason in New Mexico pretty much summed it up.

    December 19, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. KG

    After election day, Coleman's lead was just under 300.
    Is it so hard to believe that .01% of the votes could have been miscounted or ignored?
    Of course! It must be a conspiracy!

    December 19, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Jane

    Al Franken is really smart. I hope he wins.
    Who cares if he had a background in show biz?
    Remember the "B" actor, Ronald Reagan?

    December 19, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. GG from Minnesota

    Being from Minnesota I would just like to see this be a fair process and not have our fair state compared to Floriduh.
    IMO any result from the recount is flawed due to lawyers on both sides trying to rig the results; it will inevitably be decided in a court.
    It's to bad our state doesn't allow for a runoff election, with Barkley out there would likely be a definitive result instead of the situatation we're in now.

    December 19, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Jason in New Mexico

    The only thing that is pathetic is republicans whining. They are the only reason that our country has been taken over by morons. If they wouldn't have voted for George Bush in 2000, our country would have never had any of this happen. They are the idiots that should be blamed for putting a bonehead in the white house with no clue how to run a country. This last election shows that republicans have completely lost credibility with the American people. In our state, we had several republicans in office before this election, and in this election, not even one republican won for any office even down to the state level. "Conservatism" has officially died November 4th...R.I.P. Sean Hannity and Limbaugh

    December 19, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Just John

    Since it has taken the state so long to figure this out. I vote they lose the seat.

    December 19, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Dave, Central Illinois

    Funny how all those "misplaced" ballots suddenly appeared. Franken and the Dems didn't get it right in 2000 when Gore tried to only recount in Dem counties. Seems like they learned from their lessons this time. What a disgrace!

    December 19, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Happy

    Just what we need this christmas. A little Franken-sense.

    December 19, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Gary

    Minnesota appears to be conducting a recount with great integrity during this emotionally charged time. Regardless of how the election turns out, the people and government should be proud. Take note Floridians.

    December 19, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Greg

    I like how people on here claim that Franken is behind the "surge" in ballots... What is wrong with the Democratic process taking place? In a Democracy sometimes the other person wins. The Republicans like to say "Oh the Democrats are manipulating this until they win.." or "No recount is complete until Republicans win..." I need only remind you of Florida 8 years ago... look what happens when we don't have a sufficient, honest to goodness recount; The Supreme Court decides the election.

    I read one comment on here about putting an X instead of filling in the oval. Number one, it shows intent to vote for a person, which is all that is needed in an election. Number two, in Minnesota we have many senior citizens who get out on a cold November day to go and vote. IF they show an intent with an X, than that intent should be counted.

    Finally, I live in Minnesota and I applaud the hardworking people at the Secretary of States office in their efforts to make sure that EVERY vote is counted and that EVERY voice is heard.

    December 19, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Irony

    For anyone who is upset when their candidate looses, if and when all the votes are fairly counted, get out of my democratic country you unpatriotic unamerican idiots! I don't care what political party you are from, all votes need to be counted! Get over it or get out!

    December 19, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. john

    I hope Franken wins. Coleman is nothing but a Bush yes man. Instead of allowng bush to spend billions on iraq, how about he fixes his owns state infastructure like BRIDGES!! nope.. Iraq is more important to coleman.

    Time for him to go. Change is comming.

    December 19, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    That's the way the system works–they'll keep "recounting" things until the pre-determined winner gets enough votes, then stop.

    Basically, all politicians, and all politics, are crooked–power corrupts, what else could you expect? For the most part, it's only the dumb ones like Blagojevich who get caught–that does mean the rest of them aren't just as crooked.

    December 19, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Bill, ca

    X or dot whats the difference, as long as there is an indication fpr te candidate.

    The candidates are not to blame for all the voting mess, the whole voting process in the usa is outdatet and undemocratic.

    No other free world country has this problem why the usa?

    For cryin out loud, make it fair to all people not just for the rich and wealthy.

    December 19, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. RAAGOS /VA


    December 19, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Marc

    The liberal way. If you can't win, cheat until you can.

    December 19, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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