Monday, January 5, 2009

Senator Franken? Canvassing Board Expected to Name Franken Winner.

After a long recount process, it looks as if Al Franken may be the named the newly elected Senator from Minnesota.

From the Star-Tribune:

The state Canvassing Board was posed to certify the results of the recount in Minnesota's grueling Senate election in Al Franken's favor — but that doesn't mean the race is definitely over.

The board was to meet Monday and was expected to declare which candidate received the most overall votes from nearly 3 million ballots cast. The latest numbers showed Franken, a Democrat, with a 225-vote lead over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

But after the announcement, there will be a seven-day waiting period before an election certificate is completed. If any lawsuits are filed during that waiting period, certification is conditional until the issue is settled in court.

... you can rest assured that lawsuits will be filed. It's been a long road, but we just might be reaching a conclusion.

From the Washington Post:

"The Coleman team has laid the groundwork for a real, substantive challenge in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court," said Vin Weber, a former member of Congress from Minnesota and now a lobbyist in Washington. "The race is still a ways from being over."

Democratic strategists, however, say that even if all of Coleman's challenges -- the 654 absentees, the double-counting and the church ballots -- fall the Republican's way, he still will not be able to overcome Franken's lead.

So, why won't Franken be a senator later today? Because of pending legal challenges that the incumbent's campaign thinks can sway the outcome -- the most important of which, dealing with the inclusion of 654 allegedly wrongly rejected absentee ballots (from largely pro-Coleman territory), will be decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

"We remain convinced that this process is broken and, as a result, the numbers being reported will not be accurate or valid," said Coleman's campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan.

Even if the state's highest court disallows the counting of those 654 ballots, expect Coleman's legal team to formally contest the recount, citing alleged irregularities that include the double-counting of roughly 150 votes and the inclusion of 133 ballots (cast, in a Dickensian twist, at a Minneapolis church) that disappeared between election night and the manual recount.

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