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Breaking (Updated): Franken Up In MN Recount

by: KathyinBlacksburg

Tue Apr 07, 2009 at 14:31:26 PM EDT

The long Minnesota ordeal may be over.   We've just learned that Al Franken is still up in his bid for the still-vacant Minnesota Senate seat. Politco reports here that:

Of the 351 absentee ballots added to the official tally, Franken picked up 198 votes, Coleman picked up 111, and the remaining 42 ballots were for "other" third-party candidates.

Before these ballots were included, Franken held a 225-vote lead over Coleman at the end of the recount process.

The significance of this is that, even if the Election Court eventually grants both of Coleman's requests on appeal, it would not change the outcome. Coleman's two requests are not supported by evidence. But were they granted, they would only add about 233 votes to his column.  Franken would still win.  Previously, just last week, Coleman also lost another round of advocating for disqualified ballots.  

KathyinBlacksburg :: Breaking (Updated): Franken Up In MN Recount
As Franken's attorney, Marc Elias said:

Today is a very important step in that we now know the outcome of the election contest, which is the same outcome as the recount," Elias said. "More Minnesotans voted for Al Franken than Norm Coleman. Nothing Norm Coleman can do in the courts will change that fact."

Therefore, any appeal to the MN or US Supreme Court may well be irrelevant. It's time to seat the new Senator for Minnesota, Senator Al Franken.  Way past time.  The Obama agenda awaits!

But not all is well.  Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, tasked with signing the election certificate, was still balking yesterday, saying yesterday the process could take two more months!  It's time for obstructionist politicians to get out of the way and let the voice of the voters be heard.

There's more at  

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legally Coleman has right to appeal to State Supreme Court
and I believe he has up to 10 days to fail.  I suspect if he did, the state Supremes would issue a summary judgment against him.  Even if he closed the margin, he would not catch up.  And the issues he is arguing he argued before the Election Contest Court but presented no evidence.  And if he tries to argue to include more votes, that would require changing the standard after the election, which was one thing SCOTUS rejected in Bush v Gore  (which of course is not supposed to serve as a precedent).

This is my world and welcome to it

True, but...

the clock hasn't started ticking yet as the ECC hasn't handed down the final decision.   This was just one aspect of the whole thing.

The Republicans would like to take the whole thing to the US Supreme Court.   I suspect that deep down they know they can't win, but they can jam up the works by keeping Franken from being seated.   That being said, it is a longshot that the Federal courts would take a look at the thing..

The State Supreme Court views itself as the court of last resort.  Once they rule, as far as they are concerned this is over.

[ Parent ]
More good news!
Thanks for sharing this excellent (and updated) find, Kathy, and for the further analysis, Ken.

This is the type of blogging vigilance and hard work that put RK on top in Virginia.

Thanks again!


Bradblog has some interesting discussion...
I just went over to Bradblog and found some interesting discussion there

"One person, one vote" died at the hands of SCOTUS, January 21, 2010

Bradblog says:
"On 4/6/09 Mike McIntee of reported that Minnesota's Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty said he may not sign the certification for Al Franken's victory --- both he, and the state's Democratic Sec. of State Mark Ritchie, are required to do so --- until all appeals are exhausted even after a decision by the state Supreme Court. If so, this would be at odds with his previous legal position. The Court in Franken v. Pawlenty stated:

'The Governor and Coleman respond that the expression 'finally determined the contest' used in the contest tolling provision refers to the final decision of the state courts in adjudicating the contest...'

If my reading of the Minnesota contest statutes is correct, however, Pawlenty may have already been removed from the equation. The pertinent provision, section 209.12, not only limits the question to be decided in a contest to "which party received the highest number of votes cast and is therefore entitled to receive the certificate of election," but states:

'After the time for appeal has expired, or in the case of an appeal, after the final determination of the contest, the court administrator...shall promptly certify and forward the files and records of the the presiding officer of the Senate.'

This raises a question as to whether there would even be a need for the governor's certification. Regardless, the issuance of a certificate is a ministerial act. After denying Coleman's appeal, which is likely, the Minnesota Supreme Court could simply order Pawlenty to certify. Coleman could then prevent certification only if the U.S. Supreme Court issued an immediate stay as it was deciding whether to hear the case."

Pawlenty had better get out of the way. The people of Minnesota are getting impatient: its not just Coleman's political career hanging in the balance here.

[ Parent ]
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