Yesterday, I promised that I would post the audio from my appearance on Bill Bennett’s morning show, but what with the new granddaughter arriving at mid-day, I never had the opportunity to follow through. Instead, we’ll start the day like we did yesterday with a conversation with one of the gentlemen of the airwaves.
Despite Franken claiming victory yesterday, Harry Reid backed away from his promise to seat Franken, since Minnesota hasn’t certified Franken’s win … yet:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yielded to Republican threats and agreed on Monday not to immediately seat fellow Democrat Al Franken, whose razor-close victory in Minnesota faces legal challenges. …
The 57-year old Franken, who gained fame as a writer and performer on the satiric Saturday Night Live television show, on Monday officially was declared the victor by a 225-vote margin by Minnesota state officials from nearly 2.9 million votes cast.
But lawyers for incumbent Republican Norm Coleman complained the recount was conducted unfairly and promised a court challenge that could take weeks to resolve.
The change of heart may have had something to do with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s statement that Franken didn’t comprehend exactly what the Canvassing Board certified yesterday:
Two months after the election and nearly seven weeks after the recount began, the board took less than 10 minutes to certify final results showing Franken with 1,212,431 votes and Coleman with 1,212,206.
Ritchie made it clear that the board wasn’t declaring a winner, just certifying the results emerging from the process of recounting about 2.9 million undisputed ballots, thousands of challenged votes and hundreds of wrongly rejected absentee ballots.
In other words, Franken hasn’t officially won anything yet, and can’t claim to represent Minnesota until the state actually issues an election certificate showing him as the winner. They won’t do that for seven days, by statute, in order to allow Norm Coleman to launch an election contest if he so chooses — and his team announced yesterday that they will. They lost a Supreme Court decision yesterday about the rejection of 654 absentee ballots, but on procedural grounds, not on the merits.
They think they have at least two areas to pursue in the election contest: the absentee ballots and the double-counting of votes in certain precincts. The Canvassing Board chose to ignore the latter, but the courts may decide to take a closer look at around 130 votes that appear to have been duplicates from copies of absentee ballots improperly marked by precinct officials. That would drop Franken’s lead to under 100, and the absentee ballots might — might — break hard enough in Coleman’s favor to regain the lead.
These are long shots. Election contests rarely succeed. However, optical-scan ballot systems rarely generate a 500-vote swing on recounts, either, so stay tuned.