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major wild card that remains are roughly 4,000 ballots that were originally challenged by the campaigns, who have since withdrawn those challenges.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. Phil in KC

    All I see here are comments either building up a particular candidate or tearing him down – that and comments denigrating or applauding the state of MN.
    And I think you're all missing the most salient point – the power of the individual ballot. This morning they were only 5 votes apart. Now they're 100 votes apart. But, when you look at 3 million votes cast, that is an extremely small margin.
    So, everyone in MN who took the time on election day to go out and vote, congratulate yourselves. And those of you who did not have no right to complain if your candidate fails.
    Personally, I applaud the state of MN for working so hard to get it right. And I would like to see Franken get elected. I think he puts a great deal of thought into his stand on the issues and I think he cares a great deal about the issues.

    December 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. GM from MN

    Marc December 19th, 2008 12:48 pm ET

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

    How is counting votes cheating? Not counting them seems to be the logical way of cheating you moron.

    Please stop talking.....everytime you open your mouth the world becomes a little dumber.

    December 19, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. John

    They should just go with the first count from election day. Everytime this seems to have happend the lead of the one guy keeps getting smaller and in the end the guy who won it in the first place will win by a very narrow margin. Guess what? The first count was probably the most accurate. If you can't figure out how to follow the instructions to vote maybe your vote shouldn't count?

    December 19, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Just count up the votes and whoever wins is fine with me. Couldn't care less as long as all the votes are counted. Funny how when either side is losing the other side is stealing the election.

    Doesn't matter nearly as much now that Martin lost in Ga. anyway and there won't be a fillabuster proof majority in the Senate anyway.

    December 19, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. GM from MN

    DE December 19th, 2008 12:01 pm ET

    Did anybody really think that they would quit counting until they "found" enough votes to put this absolute moron Franken in office? It will be interesting to see how much MSM airtime he gets while spewing his anti-american hate speech on the senate floor. His radio show went bankrupt because no one wanted to listen to his hatred and bigotry of America. Good job Minnesota, you have now become the laughing stock of the country.

    "Good job Minnesota, you have now become the laughing stock of the country."

    I believe that status belongs to Texas for putting their trust in Bush.

    I laugh at you because Coleman was just put under investigation for corruption.

    December 19, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Harry Katz

    For a state whose population is 90% white, Coleman really has done a lousy job in trying to get elected.

    December 19, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Frank

    I fail to see what people are so riled up about. The founders never guaranteed us that this democracy thing was always going to be neat and clean.

    With as many elections as we have, we're bound to have a really close one every now and then. And how else would you want it handled than the way it's being handled here?

    Besides, this is more entertaining than any sketch comedy that Al Franken ever wrote.

    December 19, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Rob

    Since he's's time to stop the count !!

    December 19, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Jim

    The ignorance of many of the posts here is astounding. Since when is recounting ballots to make sure things were tallied correctly 'stealing' an election? Jack @ 12:29 makes an incredibly good point (that sadly some people wouldn't believe). These are ballots that were initially thrown out. Coleman is trying to keep more of these thrown out ballots out of the total count than Frankin. There is more room for Frankin to gain ballots than Coleman.

    But I do suppose that the 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent that are counting these ballots have been paid off by Frankin from all those back taxes that the GOP claimed Frankin owed in mulitple states. Hey, maybe ACORN is in on it too! LOL! 🙂

    December 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Bridget_J

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

    I don't know HOW, but you must have missed what happened in Florida in 2000, because as a result of ballot disputes, George Bush was 'placed' into the White House by the Supreme Court.

    George Bush and those on the Supreme Court who 'placed' him into the White House in 2000 were Neo-Cons–not liberals.

    December 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Mitchell from MS

    Any surprise here? The dems will do anything do get more seats, bastards!

    December 19, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Michael from San Marcos, TX

    I'm sick and tired of all these people saying that liberals are what is wrong with America. People go around, posting comments about how stupid Al Franken and Minnesotans are. Let me tell you right now, there is a reason that so many liberals got elected this year: American voters are sick and tired of the same Republican bullcrap they have been putting up with for years. They wanted something new and fresh. Call it u-turn voting. When you aren't happy with the way things are, you vote somebody else in with the opposite views as your incumbent to get the message to party your trying to stick it to. Notice I refrained from using the word conservative because I don't think that's what Republicans are. As a matter of fact, here is what GOP really stands for: Group of Posers; that's right, just conveniently change positions on issues to whats popular at the time.

    December 19, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Joe, Chicago IL

    How can Franken justify finding 100 additional votes that are just for him, 4 weeks after the election? How can the election commision certify these 100 votes when the receipt is dated 2 days before the general election?

    If states can find a way to run the lottery, electronically, why is it so hard to handle receipts from electronic voting machines?

    The FBI should investigate voter fraud. Congress should make voter fraud a mandatory 30 year jailing.

    December 19, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Fritz

    USA is a democracy and that means we should count all the legitimate votes. If you check out the Minneapolis Star Tribune ( you can see the live feed of the deliberations. These judges are very thorough and show deep consideration and consistency with the ballots. For those people who want to stop counting the votes before all legitimate votes are counted, you are waging war on democracy.

    December 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. dave g, minneapolis

    Just remember that 57% of the votes were against Coleman or Franken.
    Coleman got 42%
    Franken got 42%
    Barkley got 15%

    So if you're a Franken supporter-57% voted against you
    Same with Coleman-57% against you.

    So whoever "wins" just remember that when you're on the Senate floor. WE DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR POLICIES OR YOUR "LEADERSHIP".

    The People of MN

    December 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. jon

    You people comparing this to Gore Bush in Florida have a short memory span... Gore lost that state, he was a liberal, pretty much invalidating your "point" claiming that liberals cheat in recounts to "steal elections". How about you actually think about the comparisons you're making?

    But anyways, I hope that all the votes get counted, as an outside observer of this election, I just hope the one with the most votes wins the election, whether they be write-in or recount votes.

    December 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Bridget_J

    I guess there really is no such thing as "qualification" any longer as it pertains to American Politics. You have got to be kidding about Al Franken becoming a U.S. Senator…what is happening to our country and what are the American people thinking when it comes to electing a qualified official.

    OMG this has got to stop!!

    It did stop, because on November 4th, 2008, the country overwhelmingly the choice of dim-witted, pit-bull in a skirt Sarah Palin to be anywhere NEAR the office of the presidency. Sarah Palin's BARELY qualified to be dog-catcher, and the country KNEW that the more and more Palin opened her mouth and 'attempted' to speak.

    Thank GOD she's back in Alaska with Pastor Muthee–her voodoo priest buddy that she pals around with.

    December 19, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Mike

    ACORN has apparently delivered the ballots from Chicago for Franken.

    December 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Ken in NC

    WOW They may actually confirm the election of a Senator in time for the next election. Minnesota is on the cutting edge of becoming a progressive state. Keep up the good work ........... and the vote count.

    December 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Mark A. Sadowski

    Franken's greater rate of success in challenges is due to one simple fact: the vast majority of Coleman's challenges were frivolous. As Nate Silver on pointed out Coleman did this to artifically maintain his margin for political reasons. It looks increasingly like Franken will win even without the improperly rejected absentee ballots. Then Coleman can get on with his new life (in jail).

    By the way, in my examination of publicly available challenged ballots I noticed that there is a pattern of excentricity on the Democratic side that doesn't exist on the Republican, including one person who wrote in a vote for The Lizard People. At least I'm in the right political party.

    December 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. grahame

    Some Day people will look back at a political party that that almost ruined the USA. That was the hate-filled Republican Party.
    The future, thank God, has arrived.
    That means 'The right to choose abortion.'
    The right for 'Gays and Lesbians to marry.'
    And most important, The fundamental right of the American Constitution which says that every man is created equal.
    I refuse to except a government that spies on it's citizens, and personally will do everything in my power to make sure that does not happen again.
    So Goodbye Republicans. Take your KKK values and just fade into history. 'Good Riddance to bad Rubbish.'

    December 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Queasy

    This news literally makes you sick to your stomach.

    December 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |

    Matt wrote:
    [Franken is] "picking up more votes than Coleman on the challenged ballots, which is evidence that his voters are stupider, doing things like making an "X" instead of filling in the bubble more often than Coleman's voters."

    No, Matt. You've got it wrong. This simply means that COleman has far more frivolous challenges thatn Franken. Franken has withdrawn more challenges than Coleman.

    December 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Billy J , TX-

    DE are you for real. Al Frankens hatred of America? I guess that is why he is the head USO entertainer going to Iraq and Afghanistan all the time? Getting shot at because of his hatred? Becoming good freinds with the likes of Toby Kieth while they traveled there together, because of his bigotry against America? Not like Rush and not liking America are two completely different things, and if you think they ARE one in the same, then I suggest YOU are the one who has lost your way not the comedian turning senator Franken.

    December 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. DE

    This isn't over yet, there's got to be 500,000 cars in Minnesota, Franken could still win this by 2.5 million votes.

    December 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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