Franken’s Lead Widens in Minnesota Recount

Posted January 3, 2009 at 7:01pm

Comedian Al Franken (D) extended his unofficial lead over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) to at least 220 votes as state officials added 953 wrongfully rejected absentee ballots to the recount tally, the Associated Press reported Saturday evening. The counting proceeded Saturday despite legal objections by the Coleman campaign that local officials were using different methods to determine which ballots had been wrongfully rejected. But Saturday night’s tally marks only the beginning of what is likely to be a long, litigious road for Minnesota’s second Senate seat. Not only have Coleman’s recount attorneys vowed to file a lawsuit before the state certifies the results to protest “double voting” that they have complained about, but National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said Friday that his party would block a Franken seating in the Senate until a winner has been certified and all legal cases completed. The state canvassing board is scheduled to meet Monday morning to report its results. After the board reports the final results in the Senate race, it is up to the Republican governor and the Democratic secretary of state to cosign a certificate of election. With the race so close and further legal challenges almost a certainty, it appears likely that the Senate seat will remain vacant for several weeks.