Minnesota Recount: Counting’s done … almost

posted at 3:55 pm on December 5, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The caveat?  Those supposedly missing 133 ballots from Minneapolis that may just have been double-counted on Election Night.  While the Al Franken teams wants a CSI Minnesota investigation, the rest of the state has finished its recount.  Result?

When the recount began, Coleman held a 215-vote advantage over Franken.

The latest Star Tribune tabulation, not including today’s results, showed Coleman with a 251-vote margin, although that will certainly change once thousands of challenged ballots that have been set aside are reviewed by the state Canvassing Board and, in many cases, return to the mix.

The Canvassing Board is to meet on Dec. 16 to begin its review of the recount and of the challenged ballots.

That’s a nine-vote improvement from the final numbers issued by the state after Election Night and the string of changes that came afterwards.  It means nothing, though, until the board sifts through 5,000 ballot challenges to determine whether they can see voter intent.  We’ll probably not find out who gets to sit in the Senate until at least Christmas and maybe not until the New Year.

Still, it could be worse.  Franken could start taking lessons from Christine Gregoire on recount etiquette:

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) knows all about close races and recounts, and she recently offered her advice to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee in the protracted Minnesota Senate race.

“I told him, don’t let [Republicans] market that something is wrong with the recount,” Gregoire said Tuesday, reflecting on her personal call to Franken. “Don’t let that happen. Recounts happen in America.”

Uh, no one said there was anything wrong with a recount.  In fact, it’s a statutory requirement under these circumstances.  We just want valid ballots recounted, while Franken wants disqualified ballots, new ballots, and ESP votes to count.

Looks like Rasmussen respondents had it just about right.

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I’ve said it before, but it needs repeating: Franken is a tool.

BadgerHawk on December 5, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Revenge of the Lizard People, Coleman.

BKennedy on December 5, 2008 at 4:00 PM

What does it say about Minnesota that this race is even close? And I say this coming from California.

ErikTheRed on December 5, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Guess Al should have had more Acorn activists out there to help steal the election….

DL13 on December 5, 2008 at 4:02 PM

Ed, good lord. This has been nothing but a headache. I feel for you and the people.

upinak on December 5, 2008 at 4:03 PM

Looks like Frankensundae and company had even more ballots stashed. I’m sure if I go out to my car, I’ll even find some there, and I am in New Hampshire.

from the Strib

The search party looking for 133 missing ballots in the Minneapolis elections warehouse found some ballots all right, but not the ones they wanted.

This morning, an envelope of 12 unsealed but apparently uncounted absentee ballots were found in a box filled with stacks of plastic-wrapped unused ballots. Minneapolis elections director Cindy Reichert speculated they were put there by a confused elections judge on Election Day and undiscovered until now, the final day of the historic U.S. Senate recount.

The ballots will be submitted to the state Canvassing Board, said city spokesman Matt Laible.

Still eluding the searchers was their main object—the 133 ballots cast in a Dinkytown church, placed in an envelope, shipped to the warehouse and subsequently AWOL.

Del Dolemonte on December 5, 2008 at 4:05 PM

An exquisitely timed bogus concession call from “Coleman” to Franken would be hilarious. I hear Alaskans can do a very convincing Minnesotan accent.

Christien on December 5, 2008 at 4:07 PM

country is dodging a bullet, not just a filibuster proof senate but in avoiding a lunatic like Franken

jp on December 5, 2008 at 4:09 PM

Hey, look at the bright side. Coleman is the incumbent, and senators don’t have direct responsibility for national security, so the circus that hampered Bush vis a vis terror attacks during his delayed transition won’t effect Coleman.

On the other hand, I am sure that ballots will continue to mysteriously appear until Franken wins.

Vashta.Nerada on December 5, 2008 at 4:10 PM

The Lizard Coalition are demanding every written vote,
or Lizard secretions on ballots to be counted!(Snark)!

canopfor on December 5, 2008 at 4:10 PM

Looks like Frankensundae and company had even more ballots stashed.

They’re military ballots.

YYZ on December 5, 2008 at 4:11 PM

Hey Franken can’t help himself now – dangnabit – he knows people really like him!

kybowexar on December 5, 2008 at 4:12 PM

What does it say about Minnesota that this race is even close? And I say this coming from California.

ErikTheRed on December 5, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Thinking it myself. Quite a lot. But I believe it’s mostly the city dwellers who are voting for Franken.

Badger40 on December 5, 2008 at 4:13 PM

I think we need to scrub the whole thing and do it all over…It would be interesting to see the outcome. They have wasted so many tax dollars on this thing, I bet they could have built a new bridge with the money.

mindhacker on December 5, 2008 at 4:15 PM

I don’t know what will be worse….

6 years of Al on the Hill or 6 years of TV interviews of his boo-hooing over it.

Limerick on December 5, 2008 at 4:17 PM

At least the fact that this race won’t give the Dems 60 in the senate makes it much more unlikely that Franken will be allowed to steal it.

duff65 on December 5, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Christine Gregoire can kiss my ass. As O’Reilly put it, “What a moron!”

Kevin in Washington State on December 5, 2008 at 4:25 PM

May we never have to address Al Franken as Senator. How painful that would be.

t.ferg on December 5, 2008 at 4:34 PM

Maybe if Franken gets in, we can just go the whole nine yards and get Senator Michael Moore while we’re at it. Why the hell not?

t.ferg on December 5, 2008 at 4:35 PM

Ed, good lord. This has been nothing but a headache. I feel for you and the people.

upinak on December 5, 2008 at 4:03 PM

Why? It’s self inflicted.

Schadenfreude on December 5, 2008 at 4:37 PM

That 251-vote margin isn’t up-to-date.

According to the Star-Tribune county-by-county results, there were some last-minute counts or Franken challenges that reduced the Hennepin County swing for Coleman from 172 votes down to 92 votes, netting Franken 80 votes.

There were also a slew of Franken challenges in Wright County (the last county to be re-counted) which netted Franken 81 votes, although he out-challenged Coleman by 101 ballots in that county.

There were a few minor adjustments in three other counties, with the result that the overall recount (before challenges are resolved) netted 21 votes for Franken. Subtracting this from Coleman’s original 215-vote lead gives Coleman by 194 votes before challenges.

Adding the county-by-county challenge figures in the Star-Tribune’s table gives 3,358 challenges for Coleman and 3,278 challenges for Franken. If none of the challenges are upheld (probably close to reality), we can add Franken’s challenges to Coleman’s votes and Coleman’s challenges to Franken’s votes, and Coleman wins by 194 + 3,278 – 3,358 = 114 votes. Too close for comfort, just in case some of the Franken challenges are NOT frivolous, or new ballots turn up somewhere, or are manufactured by Franken operatives.

It should be stressed that the figures at the top of the Star-Tribune’s table have not been updated to reflect changes IN the table.

Speaking of challenges, I went over the challenged ballots in Stearns county, where all the challenged ballots were posted online. Franken challenged 128 ballots, Coleman challenged 113 ballots, and the recount figures (before challenges are resolved) showed Franken netting 19 votes. However, a review of the challenged ballots shows Coleman netting 21 votes with one questionable ballot (maybe Franken, maybe an overvote). Once again, resolving challenged ballots just about undoes the shift due to the recount, within 2 votes.

What I found curious in Stearns County was that the challenged ballots for St. Wendell, which were numbered in order, came in batches. At one point, there was a string of 35 straight Franken votes, then came a series of over 40 straight Coleman votes, then another 15 Franken votes in a row, then 20+ Coleman votes, and after that the challenged ballots were more random. It looks like one campaign would challenge a batch of ballots and dump them in a pile, then the opposing campaign would challenge a slightly larger batch, then the first campaign retaliates, etc. There seems to be a lot of gamesmanship in these challenges–will it all be for naught?

Steve Z on December 5, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Uh, no one said there was anything wrong with a recount.

Well, Coleman implied it when he said if he were in Franken’s shoes he’s “step back” because their state is so divided that they needed time to heal.

Basically saying that Franken is furthering the political schism which he was largely responsible for by running one of the more negative campaigns in recent memory by not conceding despite the automatically triggered recount.

Coleman did imply there was something wrong with the recount. And there have been many commentators on here saying that Franken should have stopped the recount before it started.

Tom_Shipley on December 5, 2008 at 4:39 PM

“Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!”

Umm Al? No, not really, not so much.

Lord, Minnesota can keep him – don’t send him to the Senate!

rockbend on December 5, 2008 at 5:05 PM

Al…dear stinky al.

Time to get a job. Although I think SNL is all full up with mediocre writers, so your outta luck there palie.

(jeeze I wish coleman woulda clocked that nancy right in his frankenpiehole.)

Handel on December 5, 2008 at 7:13 PM

I can guarantee you that if Coleman holds on, by the time the 2010 elections roll around in Minnesota the Strib and other local and national media outlets will have completely accepted the spin that the Senate seat was stolen from Al Franken (in large part because you know Al’s going to be running around the country for the next two years telling everyone Coleman stole the election).

jon1979 on December 5, 2008 at 7:44 PM

Franken doesn’t need to win, he just needs to cast enough doubt on the process to allow him to milk it for the rest of his career.

29Victor on December 5, 2008 at 7:49 PM

Minnesota still needs to secede from the United States and find themselves another country.

Percy_Peabody on December 5, 2008 at 8:32 PM

When will the DFL will finally wake up to the fact that they can’t win state-wide elections with angry candidates (Hatch, Franken) as long as there is a credible Independence Party (IP) candidate on the ballot as well(Penny, Hutchinson, Barkley.)?
And the Republicans need to awaken to the reality that the only reason T-Paw is in the Guv’s mansion is because of the IP and the crappy DFL candidates he’s been lucky enough to face.

The GOP needs to drop their delusion about Pawlenty being a national player. If he ever runs mano-a-mano against an Amy Klobuchar-type candidate he’ll do worse than McCain.

Bruno Strozek on December 5, 2008 at 8:58 PM

Yep. Governor Gregoire. King County is Washington State’s version of Cook County – open and fair elections are open to all parties, as long as they are liberal Democrats. They are guaranteed to fairly and honestly elect one of the approved liberal Democrats. And should a ringer (a Republican) do too well, then there is a way to fix that. Keep counting till you find enough new ballots to get the desired results. Another reason why we should go back to in person voting and voter ID, except for narrowly defined cases for absentees, like troops stationed elsewhere.

Orson Buggeigh on December 5, 2008 at 9:20 PM

I can see Franken and Gore opening in Las Vegas ala Martin and Lewis. (Consistent with his comedy career, Franken would be the straight man.) There’s no way the act could lose. Anytime show receipts came in too low, Franken could demand a recount until a profit is made.

NNtrancer on December 5, 2008 at 9:31 PM

Minnesota still needs to secede from the United States and find themselves another country.

Percy_Peabody on December 5, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Ok, while I am currently living in MN, not actually from here, I am appalled at the fact that FrankenTurd even showed up to run. I am appalled that he even came close to winning. That being said, you REALLY NEED TO S.T.F.U. douchebag!!!

BigWyo on December 5, 2008 at 10:47 PM

Since we are a State (being from and living in Mn) that loves its 3rd party Candidates (which considering the current state is not a bad thing) perhaps there is a need to relook at how contests involving 3 viable candidates are resolved. Georgia is a great example. With 3 candidates one would win if they attained 50% (I believe that is the number there). If not then there is a run-off, as there was in Georgia. Seems to be a much more efficient way of doing things.

Had we had this in place for this election, noone would have won outright on election day and we would have just completed a runoff election between Coleman and Franken (like Georgia just completed between Chambliss and Martin) and this whole mess would be all over with now. I know this is ‘forward thinking’ but I think we in Minnesota could do that … at least once right?

Naw that be asking too much

RuffledRaven on December 6, 2008 at 3:34 AM

All I can say is that the entire country is laughing at Minnesota right now. They actually took Al Franken seriously enough to make the election close. That in itself is the most incredible joke ever conceived by the alleged comedian. It is so ludicrous that it is laughable.

Hawthorne on December 6, 2008 at 3:42 AM

The Frankenstein saga continues. I agree that the country is laughing at Minnesota. Any state that could take seriously Al Franken and Jesse “the Body” Ventura as credible candidates should be deemed a laughingstock (but then again the USA just elected the least qualified candidate for President in its history, so go figure).

eaglewingz08 on December 6, 2008 at 7:47 AM

Minnesota still needs to secede from the United States and find themselves another country.

Percy_Peabody on December 5, 2008 at 8:32 PM

California would be a good start.

Wade on December 6, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Franken should win.

He would fit right into the Kennedy, Kerry, Franks, Shumer, Reid, Pelosi, Dodd line-up.

But I worry they may fear he will show them up with his profound intellect.

notagool on December 6, 2008 at 1:24 PM


what in the heck is your problem?. You keep spouting your stupid comments about Minnesota. You could easily find worse scenarios in other states but you spout your vituperative comments about one state. Did you lose your drivers license permanently here, was your girlfriend from here actually a man?…. knock it off and join the rational world.

MNDavenotPC on December 6, 2008 at 11:34 PM