TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 - This Day In History
225 Days Later, Minnesota Still Waiting For A Senator
Posted By jwilkes - Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 3:20 AM
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It's been 225 days since the November 4th election, when Minnesotans first went to the polls to select their representative in the United States Senate.  It's been another 165 days since January 3rd rolled around, when all of the other 2008 winners were sworn into office.  But still, almost six months into the new year, residents of the Land of 10,000 Lakes await the seating of their second Senator.  Despite setback after setback and an all-but-closed window of opportunity for victory, former Republican Senator Norm Coleman presses on in a Quixotic quest to keep his Democratic challenger, former commedian Al Franken, from taking his seat in the US Senate.

It's becoming challenging to find any credible source that'd still willing to go on record saying that Coleman has any shot at victory.  After the Board of Elections called the contest for Franken, Coleman took his fight to the courts for an extremely elongated, but so far highly unsuccessful litigation process.  Coleman lost at the trial level in state court, but appealed to the appellate court, where he once again was defeated.  He then took his fight to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Coleman's lawyers have pledged to take their case all the way to the US Supreme Court, no matter how much time or money it takes.

In the meantime, the national GOP has been pouring money into Coleman's legal coffers, and its easy to see why: every day that Republicans can keep Al Franken out of the Senate is another day that Republicans can deny Democrats the 60 votes needed to push key legislation unfettered through the Senate.  That became especially important when Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter switched parties, giving Democrats 59 total votes.  With Franken, a Democratic coalition could tackle major initiatives for the new Obama White House, from health care reform to other broad, sweeping plans for the economy and infrastructure that have become the subject of viscious partisan battles in recent years.

What's intriguing is that for a brief moment during the recount process when Coleman was still ahead, the beleagured Senator publicly urged Franken not to burden the voters of Minnesota with a lengthy recount process.  And yet, here we are, nearly six months later, with nothing but a continued fight to show for the vat amount of time and money spent on this contest.  What's evenmore interesting is that when the Coleman-Franken showdown is compared to another famous recount process- the Bush-Gore melee of 2000- it was Republicans who were publicly condemning  Democrat Al Gore's efforts to have the courts weigh in on his election to the presidency.

The process has been frought with hypocrisy from the beginning, but perhaps more dishearteningly, the people of Minnesota have become ensnared in a political wrestling match, with Republicans unwilling to release them as long as they can take advantage of the situation in a partisan stalling tactic.

Franken's inevitable seating in the Senate is rapidly approaching, though it seems it has been for quite ime.  Analysts began declaring Coleman's hopes to be dead as early as February.  But either Coleman hasn't gotten the news, or the GOP has- and it just doesn't care.



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Discussion:
by the citizens of Minnesota against Coleman for denying/obstructing/etc. their representation and most of all being a pathetic loser. Bankrupt this morally bankrupt guy and tell him to sit down and shut up.
[ Posted at 9:19 PM on 6/15/09 | Reply ]
pretty much everyone agrees with that. And the people of MN, who missed having a second senator for a little while, will survive, and all will be well in the world. Some people seem to live and die by the daily updates on this situation, but IMO 6 months w/o one senator is not worthy of such incredible angst.
[ Posted at 9:37 PM on 6/15/09 | Reply ]
[-] historical precedent? - Guest-reasonanyone
"not worthy of such incredible angst" -

what's going on looks like the end of american politics. what's going to happen when every federal election is contested. what happens when it takes 9 to 12 months to swear in anyone?
[ Posted at 1:41 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
Give us a break. This was a squeaker, and on election night it looked like Coleman won. He has taken this too far, but this is politics. If Franken would have won by more than a few hundred votes we wouldn't be here.
[ Posted at 1:42 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] more than a few hundred - Guest-concernedsoontobecitizen
I'm sorry but we live in a first past the post democracy and winning by 1 vote or 100 votes does not matter. Don't blame Frankin for not winning by more blame coleman for not winning
[ Posted at 11:39 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] Bad all around - Guest-mswaine
This delay is bad for Minnesota, bad for democracy, bad for the Democrats' agenda in the Senate, bad for the Republicans' already rotten reputation, bad for Al Franken's digestion and bad for Norm Coleman's future in politics. There's only one person this whole mess is good news for.

John McCain.
[ Posted at 9:50 PM on 6/15/09 | Reply ]
Let's see were into our third week after oral arguments. Coleman presented an entirely speculative case with no evidence to back up his charges and the MNSC sits scratching its head. What's the hold up?

Perhaps a partisan is acting out on the court. You know, the handy dandy Pawlenty chosen Coleman supporter who perhaps sees merit in such a case due to the fact that Coleman is a Republican and so is he.

We'll just have to wait and see.

It's damn frustrating, however, and a real insult to Franken, I might add.
[ Posted at 10:14 PM on 6/15/09 | Reply ]
[-] "shot at victory"?? - Guest-ge0rge
Whether anybody does or doesn't have a shot at victory simply has absolutely nothing to do with whether he is or isn't RIGHT!
Could we possibly have somebody talking about whether there is or isn't a chance that anybody whose absentee ballot was rejected should have, ethically speaking, had it accepted instead??
[ Posted at 10:18 PM on 6/15/09 | Reply ]
[-] EVERY rejected ballot... - Guest-57andFemale
....was rejected, for cause: not received within the proper time frame, no registration, etc.

You seem to conveniently forget that these ballots have been gone over and over and over again by canvassing boards and the courts.

Your candidate had ample time and opportunity to prove his case. And didn't bother to.
[ Posted at 1:40 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] I forget nothing - Guest-ge0rge422
"You seem to conveniently forget that these ballots have been gone over and over and over again by canvassing boards and the courts. "

It is Coleman who seems to be forgetting that.

My point is, the ballots that WERE admitted have already been properly counted,
and we already know who they say won.
THE ONLY issue that Coleman now has left is that maybe some of the CAUSES (of rejections) were illegitimate. If there is going to be a discussion then THAT and not "shot at victory" is what
has to be discussed.
[ Posted at 1:46 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
If the number of ballots you can argue were inappropriately rejected is less than the margin of victory, it doesn't matter.
[ Posted at 1:54 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] That's not even the point - Guest-ge0rge426
"If the number of ballots you can argue were inappropriately rejected is less than the margin of victory, it doesn't matter. "

The problem is the pronoun. "You" is just too generic. The number of ballots that "one" or "any reasonable human being" or "you" (or any other generic rational agent) can argue were "wrongly" rejected is, at this point, ZERO.
My point was, if we are going to be having a discussion, we need to be seeing something from the Coleman camp about what absentee ballots they are trying to get counted and why, NOT stuff about whether they have or lack "a shot at victory".
They could be lacking their "shot at victory" because of court refusal to examine the causes of rejected ballots. AS HAPPENED IN FLORIDA IN 2000.
[ Posted at 2:10 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] I'm not a lawyer... - Guest-noice136
But from what I've seen so far, Coleman hasn't actually put forward any specific grounds that they think ballots may have been improperly rejected. It seems that they are just going with a vague "some of them might have been even if we can't say exactly how".
[ Posted at 3:59 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
"Coleman lost at the trial level in state court, but appealed to the appellate court, where he once again was defeated. He then took his fight to the Minnesota Supreme Court."

Wrong! Coleman filed an election contest that was tried by a three-judge panel. By a unanimous judgment, he lost at this initial level, whereupon he "took his fight to the Minnesota Supreme Court."

There was no intermediate appeal to an appellate court in this case. Pursuant to Minnesota statutes, decisions of an election contest court are appealable as a matter of right directly to the state supreme court.
[ Posted at 10:45 PM on 6/15/09 | Reply ]
[-] Wrong ! - Guest-jamesL
god you're an asshole
[ Posted at 12:07 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
YES Gore's selective recount shenanigans were in bad faith and shameful... But what happened in the 2000 presidential election had the effect of redefining the game of close elections, turning it into farcical charade of courts and lawyers. Democrats are reaping what they sowed.
[ Posted at 12:38 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] Payback? - Guest-Cid
It is truly amazing that someone would make a statement like this and expect it to stand against scrutiny.

The presidential race is the staple of our democracy. It decides the next leader of the free world. Saying the 2000 recount was "shenanigans" and "shameful" is really quite wrong; moreover, in light of the final count of the popular vote being in Gores favor, yet having Bush seated by electoral college.

Going a step further and saying that the "Democrats are reaping what they sowed." is purely naive on your part. Seeing that the Republican party is well know for using lawyers as well. They would have done the same thing back in 2000 since the vote was so close.

Awaiting a proper rebuttal,

Cid
[ Posted at 2:13 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
It's well known, at least by people in the know, that a recount typically has the effect of increasing the margin of victory forthose votes counted, as new votes are found and tend to follow the statistics of those already counted.

What was new in the 2000 election was this strategy of selective recounting, in those districts where Gore was already known to have a lead. Gore never wanted a full recount, since he only wanted to skew the overall vote rather than count it.

If you don't consider that shenanigans, then you need to consult a dictionary.
[ Posted at 12:06 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
Sorry I just couldn't resist correcting your repetition of the wildly popular misconception that the USA is somehow a democracy. It is not.

As US citizens, we have no constitutionally-guaranteed rights to vote in the presidential elections. Rather, it is the individual states which decide how the presidential electors are chosen and whether or not to let its citizens participate in a referendum.

We have a Republic, not a Democracy.
(Remember the pledge of allegiance?)

The line can become blurry though, as the SCOTUS held in its decision about the 2000 elections. Although the citizen's right to vote is not in any way granted by the Constitution, such a right, once granted (i.e. by a member state) becomes a Constitutionally defensible issue - according to the Court.
[ Posted at 5:40 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] They have one - Guest-TruthinessHurts
but Norm Coleman is interfering with the process and the other Republicans are helping him.
[ Posted at 1:28 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] I'm not disputing that. - Guest-Ruggy6
Rather I'm just putting it in perspective, and saying why I believe the Republicans are now able to away with shenanigans of their own.
[ Posted at 4:03 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
Wasn't it the Dems in 2000 saying "Every vote must be counted"?

I'm not sure where the greatest hypocracy lies since the Dems have actively tried to supress the absentee ballots with "technical" issues.

Back in 2000, it was "We must try to determine the intent of the voter, even if the ballot is filled out incorrectly".

Now it's "throw out the ballots because they were filled out incorrectly".

It's all a bunch of B.S. anyway. Our freedom is going down the toilet either way - as is our currency, our economy, and any respect we had in the world.
[ Posted at 1:37 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] let me get the red ink - Guest-DOW1
There's a big difference between a hanging chad, a vote where a person showed up at a polling place, followed all procedures, and due to a bad ballot setup couldn't 100% puncture a ballot, and an incorrectly filled out absentee ballot.

Furthermore, in 2000, all recounts were halted because of SCOTUS interference. Here, non-partisan counters identified ballots that were, as per regulations, incorrectly submitted. In 2000, we didn't even get to the point of a verified checking of ballots. There is no partisan leaning in the checking of votes here, and certainly no hypocrisy.

If you actually look at some of the votes Coleman wants counted, you'll see how silly Coleman is. One ballot was rejected because the guy allowed his girlfriend to sign for him. Of course, Coleman ignored the fact that this is, as per law, something that disqualifies the ballot, and he wanted it to get counted.
[ Posted at 9:12 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] Dems in 2000 - Guest-Ruggy
What the Dems were saying in 2000 was a radical contrast with what they were doing.

"Every vote must be counted" - perhaps the Dems did rally under those words, but only in those districts in which Gore already had a lead. In fact, it was the Republicans who took the position that if you're going to do recounts, you'll have to recount the whole state.

So I think this sheds some light on your claim of who was merely saying to count all the votes in 2000 becaue it sounds good (the Democrats), versus who really meant it (the Republicans.)

Anyway, I'd agree that most of this stuff currently happening between Coleman and Franken is happening is the result of bad faith from the Republican side; but I am unable to blame them one tiny bit because of all the shenanigans that the Democrats pulled in 2000.

The way I interpret it is that it's almost as if the GOP, by its actions in financing the Coleman legal effort, is pointing out that two can play at such games, and that they can't be expected to stand morally any higher than the Democrats were in 2000.

The Pandora's Box of bad-faith legal challenges of close elections is clearly wide open, and it has been such since 2000.

Lack of public outrage is the only reason this could continue for 225+ days. How could we be outraged at this point? After 2000, we're numb. It's interesting, but most of us don't really care anymore. It doesn't hardly even make the news. People want to hear about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
[ Posted at 12:56 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] I remember that... - Guest-Ruggy
"Back in 2000, it was 'We must try to determine the intent of the voter, even if the ballot is filled out incorrectly'."

Not so fast. There were heavily black and immigrant districts which fell strongly to the right-wing candidate Pat Buchanan. The task of determining "voter intent" rapidly degenerated into a the despicable process of choosing which candidate we think the voters should have chosen based on our knowledge of their demographics.

If voters are so illiterate and ignorant that they don't know which candidate totally hates them, and they end up voting for the guy just because his name sounds familiar, then this is another problem entirely and it is not the proper place for a recount to consider such issues.

"Voter intent" might be two words which sound really nice and proper, but when it comes to actually interpreting applying these things, the opportunity for bias is irresistible.

A challenge based on which votes were legally cast, and a challenge based on ensuring consistency is very different from the act of trying to reach into the mind of the voter and subsequently concluding that they must have moved their hands wrong in the voting booth and that we therefore need to fix their mistakes for them.

The latter shows far more disrespect for a vote, in my opinion.
[ Posted at 1:13 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
Coleman has probably destroyed any chance of a Republican taking back this seat for decades.
Pathetic...
[ Posted at 4:04 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
This mess has tainted the GOP for most sane Sotans.
[ Posted at 3:14 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
Since the Watergate scandal, the MN Republican Party has called itself he "Independent Republican" Party, specifically to distance itself from the dirty tricks happening on the national scene.
[ Posted at 4:13 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
As much as I don't like the two-party system we have, whenever I hear about the coalition parties of other nations, I'm glad we're not like them. I can't imagine they can get anything done with all of their minority parties.
[ Posted at 4:09 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
When you refer to a two-party system, remember that this is Minnesota you're talking about. This is the state where Jesse Ventura body-slammed both the Republicans and the Democrats in the gubernatorial race, and this is the state where Ross Perot pulled over 20% in the 1992 presidential race. There are a lot of independent, free-thinking people here who are more than willing to vote independently, if only given a credible candidate.
[ Posted at 4:11 PM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
GO!!

Check out the
Electronic Cigarette
[ Posted at 9:11 AM on 6/16/09 | Reply ]
[-] wow - Guest-debtrelief
this is so gay. still can't believe we are waiting

debt relief Website Link
[ Posted at 2:28 PM on 6/22/09 | Reply ]

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