Skip to main content

According to the MN Star-Tribune, Norm Coleman presently leads by 147 votes, which represents a gain of 68 votes for Al Franken, with 50% of the vote having been counted.  The Secretary of State's official total had Franken having gained 86 votes on Coleman through the end of yesterday.

The votes recounted in the first two days have had a slight Republican lean (the 43+% of the vote counted through the end of yesterday had Coleman up by 39,000+ votes, meaning that Franken will win the remaining votes to be counted by a similar amount), so I am optimistic that there may be more votes to be gained in the precincts remaining to be counted in that the sample is going to be more DFL/Democratic.  

All that being said, I have some reasons why I think Al Franken is likely to come up short.  It might be 50 votes or less in the end, but, if I had to put odds on it right now, I would regard Coleman as the heavy favorite to ultimately be declared the winner.  I'm not saying Franken can't win; he might.  I will have the Fox Mulder I WANT TO BELIEVE poster on my wall until the last votes are counted by the Canvassing Board, but I am just trying to be realistic about Al Franken's chances. Here are my reasons:

Overall Pattern of Challenges
For starters, the Franken team has stated publicly that they believe many of the Coleman challenges are frivolous and will not be sustained by the Canvassing Board.  If that is true, it seems to me that you would expect that the number of Coleman challenges to exceed the number of Franken challenges in the aggregate because of all those frivolous challenges.  The MN Star-Tribune, however, is saying in its running totals that Franken has challenged more votes thus far (Franken has 480 challenges to Coleman's 467).  Given that the votes counted thus far have a slight Republican lean, you would expect that Franken might be challenging more votes.  If Franken's team were being more conservative in choosing which votes to challenge (and Coleman being challenge happy), it seems to me you would expect Coleman's total number of challenges to substantially exceed Franken's.  It doesn't.

In populous Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located, Franken has challenged 163 votes to Coleman's 139 thus far.  This opposite-of-what-might-be-expected outcome can be accounted for to some degree, because it appears that the votes recounted and reported have been from the more Republican parts of the county.  I am basing this again on the MN Star-Tribune's report, which shows that 49% of the county has been recounted thus far.  If you look at the MN Star-Tribune's map of the recount by-city in the Twin Cities metro area, you see that only 16% of the Minneapolis precincts are being reported as having been recounted.  Still, if Coleman's challenges are frequently frivolous, I would have expected a higher challenge total for Coleman from this county thus far.

Composition of the Canvassing Board
The DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie appointed two Republican State Supreme Court Justices to the five-member canvassing board, along with two judges from Ramsey County, one of whom was appointed by Governor Jesse Ventura.  As this article details, Eric Magnuson, one of the Republican Supreme Court Justices appointed to the Canvassing Board, used to practice law with Governor Pawlenty.  The other, G. Barry Anderson, served as an attorney to the Minnesota Republican Party before going on the bench.  In public statements following the appointments to the Canvassing Board, Norm Coleman's team declared that they were pleased with the composition of the Board, while Al Franken expressed displeasure over it.  I think the composition of the Canvassing Board may be in part the product of a successful mau-mauing of Mark Ritchie by Coleman's supporters, who branded Ritchie a commie, among other things, in the first few days after the election.  I don't know enough about Magnuson and Anderson to know for certain how they might be expected to comport themselves as members of the Canvassing Board, but they appear to have been active partisans prior to coming to the bench, as opposed to the brilliant apolitical law professor type who everyone agrees belongs on a court somewhere.  For these reasons, I don't know that anyone should be expecting that the resolution of the challenges before the Canvassing Board will tilt dramatically in Franken's favor, and, in fact, we may need to be prepared for the opposite.

The Rejected Absentee Ballot Issue
Al Franken was successful in his lawsuit in Ramsey County in which he sought to obtain name and address information for voters who had their absentee ballots rejected.  While I have seen a lot of people excited by this news, I need someone to explain to me why we should be excited.  If ultimately both campaigns are allowed to go through the list of voters who had their absentee ballots rejected in each of the 87 counties, is there any reason to believe that (1) any significant number of ballots would be found to have been improperly rejected by a particular county, and (2) such ballots would ultimately favor Al Franken?  For example, is there evidence suggesting that absentee ballots went for Franken 60-40 (as between Franken and Coleman) because the DFL Party in MN has a strong program for getting its voters to vote by absentee ballot?  I believe everyone who cast a valid vote deserves to have that vote counted, but I am wondering why the successful lawsuit by Franken should be regarded as a positive development, other than the fact that there are potentially still more votes out there and, consequently, the existence of more votes means things could still change when things are this close.

I want to be convinced I am wrong, so, by all means, please try to convince me I should have more hope at this point.

Originally posted to scd2 on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:40 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I am going to try and convince you of something (13+ / 0-)

    Don't worry about it one way or another.  The vote is in and being counted, no amount of guessing or speculation can change that.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

    by Gangster Octopus on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:43:52 PM PST

  •  I think we will know more by tonight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flatford39, JeffersonLives

    If the reports out of the big counties show no gains I would worry. In addition the Franken challenges had better be proportionally more about counting votes instead of reversing Coleman votes. The key number is the deficit with "table called votes". what is the number if no challenges are upheld.  Who ever has that lead....the one with every vote staying the same as the county judged it it very likely to win. Until we know that number we don't know much but Frankens people said they were in double didgets with that type of count.

    After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

    by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:47:14 PM PST

  •  Chicken littles are back! (0+ / 0-)

    Just kidding :)

    Give 'em hell, Barack.

    by karpaty lviv on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:48:14 PM PST

  •  by the way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA Pol Junkie, JeffersonLives

    I don't think Franken is going to be able to win this on the absentee issue. I think the state will go with who ever ends up ahead at the end of this process which most people see as fair and open. I hope i'm wrong about this ofcourse.

    After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

    by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:50:06 PM PST

  •  it looks very close (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffersonLives

    I've been tracking by spreadsheet using the county by county results.  My projection keeps vacillating between a Franken win and a Coleman win.

    In Hennepin County, I suspect a bunch of Franken's challenges are of ballots recorded as no vote or a vote for a third candidate.  That's pretty much the only thing that makes sense given the change in vote totals and number of challenges.  I don't expect those challenges to succeed, but at least they won't each add a vote to Coleman's total when they fail.  This will be decided by the State Canvassing Board, where everything depends on how many of each candidate's challenges are of the other person's ballots or other/no vote ballots.  The Franken campaign claims that the vote count is really in double digits right now thanks to Coleman challenges being disproportionately frivolous or of Franken ballots.

    You have the power to change America. Yes. We. Can.

    by CA Pol Junkie on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:50:06 PM PST

    •  I think the assumption should be (0+ / 0-)

      almost all the challenges will fail.......Maybe a few votes that the local board found inconclusive could be reversed but I would be shocked if any challenges of the the other guys votes were upheld. If Franken wins the table count he will win.

      After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

      by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:52:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It may just be typical campaign bluster (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StuHunter

    but do I know the Franken campaign is keeping track not just of the challenges, but of which pile the challenged ballots were originally sorted into.  And according to this report from MNPublius MNPublius, as of yesterday the Franken campaign had their deficit at double digits...

    •  I hope that is true (0+ / 0-)

      the Star trib is really good with it's data but it's missing the most important number. What is the count if every ballot stays the same as it was called by the county.

      After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

      by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 02:55:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm thinking that silly "Obama lost by one vote" (0+ / 0-)

    video will resurface in beautiful Minnesota about this election. And be true.

    Somewhere there is going to be that one voter that could have won it for Al.

  •  Unlike Georgia, where we still have a chance to (0+ / 0-)

    do something, this one's out of our hands.  And since we can't do anything about the income, why worry?

  •  good news sort of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fabacube

    it's 142 but Coleman has now tied FRanken in overall challenges, again I'm no Nate Silver but unless we know the %of challanges of nonvotes v/s other guys votes per candidate we are missing the most important peice of the puzzle.

    After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

    by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 03:02:03 PM PST

  •  One reason why Al's challenges COULD be high.. (0+ / 0-)

    If there is a legitimate undervote, one where the voter made an error, but the vote was initially NOT counted, wouldn't that be a vote that Franken would have to challenge?

    I'm unsure about the formal process, but just a thought.

    •  YES (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anarchofascist

      but even if it fails it doesn't mean another vote for Coleman, just the status quo. Every challenge of which many on both sides seem frivilous, regarding the other guys vote results in the other guy adding one to his total.

      After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

      by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 03:10:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Challenges to strike versus challenges to add (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nevadadem, fabacube, superba

    I've discussed this many times, but it seems (based on raw data, based on claims from the Franken campaign, etc) that a higher percentage of the Coleman challenges are intended to strike Franken than vice versa.  A lot of Franken challenges are intended to add Franken votes.

    This means if you assume all or most challenges fail, Franken will net a lot more votes in the challenge process than Coleman.

    Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

    by Anarchofascist on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 03:07:25 PM PST

    •  exactly and you have to think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anarchofascist

      both sides of this have a "table count" which is not being reported on publicly. That is the count if every vote is counted the way the county did and all challenges fail.

      After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

      by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 03:12:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I think it's somewhere around (0+ / 0-)

        Coleman +90.  (I don't think the Franken campaign is lying.  And when they say "double digits" I think they probably mean high end.)

        Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

        by Anarchofascist on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 03:13:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  well then it's a nailbiter (0+ / 0-)

          I gamble for a living  (this stuff is my hobby) and I would be willing to wager than who ever wins the "table count" willn win this. Unless one these county supervisers is really not following the guidelines I would find it very hard to think the non-partison state board is going to overturn many of thier ballot judgements. I give the best shot of challange to be on a ballot where the challenge is that the vote should count rather than not though. The whole point of this is not to disqualify votes but to see if there is any way to reasonably determine the intent of the voter.

          After Obama's eighth straight victory, Penn told reporters: "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

          by nevadadem on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 03:19:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think so. (0+ / 0-)

            I think the fact that it's this close with almost none of Duluth, almost none of Minneapolis, and half of St. Paul in (and half the total vote in) means Franken will win.

            Note that he won't necessarily pick up votes in the "recount" in these cities, as Coleman people will be challenging Franken votes left and right.

            But if the table count is at 90 NOW, it should go well over to Franken's side by the end of the count.

            Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

            by Anarchofascist on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 03:39:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I smoke crack... (0+ / 0-)

    for a living; however, I believe that whomever ends up with the most votes at the end of the process will ultimately decare with grand panache "I am the victor!", at which point his opponent shall declare with less panache "No, sir, I am the victor".  Later that same evening, it will get dark and the "true" winner will sleep soundly; whereas the "true" loser will toss and turn endlessly.

  •  Re: composition of board (0+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't worry too much about Franken getting screwed.  

    Besides being reviewed by the board, the challenged votes will also be under intense media scrutiny.
    These board members have their(good)reputations to consider, and the safest course of action for a public official in this position would be to err on the side of allowing previously accepted ballots.
    I wouldn't bet on a lot of upheld challenges.

  •  The Canvassing Board should be reviewing these (0+ / 0-)

    The Canvassing Board should be reviewing the challenged ballots as they come in and here's why.

    Coleman's campaign's strategy is to challenge everything they can to keep Coleman ahead in the count.

    If Coleman is ahead at the end of the recount, then they will declare victory and go to court to keep the challenged ballots from being included using the argument that it is impossible to discern voter intent.

    If the canvassing board meets now and keeps up with the challenged ballots, this can't happen and if Franken pulls ahead as a result, Coleman will have little recourse.

  •  I am not optomistic at all here (0+ / 0-)

    that Franken can win. He ran a horrible campaign and it's pathetic that we have to depend on a recount to win this race. I'm thinking that Coleman will end up winning.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site