The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

99 Senators But A. Franken Ain’t One

Posted by demkid on February 18, 2009

Well, we’re now in mid-February, over 3 months after voters cast their ballots in the 2008 general election, yet the United States Senate has 99 members, as the people of Minnesota only have one senator representing them.  “What the heck’s going on?”, some might ask.  The answer to that question can be found in an ongoing election contest, brought by Minnesota’s previous senator, Norm Coleman, to challenge the certified results of a recount, conducted by the state canvassing board.  This recount gave DFLer Al Franken a 225 vote victory in the senate race, a margin of victory of 0.007%.  Yes, this is a razor-thin margin, but nonetheless a clear one.  Franken should be seated as the newest member of the U.S. Senate.  Coleman, who said that Franken should concede when all the original votes were counted, no matter how small the margin, is now grasping at every possible argument to try and eliminate his opponent’s valid 225-vote edge.

Fortunately, even though the election contest is dragging on (now almost a month in duration), it doesn’t look like Coleman is making any significant progress.  Today, the three-judge panel hearing the case (one appointed by a DFL governor, one by a Republican governor, and one by Jesse Ventura) denied a Coleman request to reconsider a previous ruling that excluded a dozen categories of rejected absentee ballots.  Of course, after this ruling, Coleman’s lawyers are now whining, claiming that the court is disenfranchising voters and making the proceedings unreliable. 

The court has found no evidence of widespread problems in the counting of absentee ballots, yet the Coleman campaign claims that there are about 3,500 ballots that would still be open for consideration in the end.  Even if these ballots were considered, it seems to me like it would still be highly unlikely for Coleman to overtake Franken.  Some of the ballots have been counted multiple times, and the state canvassing board seems to have done a fair and accurate job in making sure that all properly-cast votes were counted.  When the three-judge panel eventually upholds Franken’s victory, Coleman will probably try and appeal to a higher court.  I say, just give it up, Norm.  The people of Minnesota need equal representation, and dragging your losing fight out longer won’t help anyone.  Just face the fact that you lost to a comedian, go away gracefully, and let Al Franken go to Washington and start representing you and your fellow Minnesotans.

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