The Recount in MN

Cartoon by Steve Sack (email), The Minneapolis Star Tribune. Hat tip to Blatherwatch.

Franken or Coleman for the Senator from MN? We still don’t know and won’t for some time. The race ended November 4 in a virtual tie:

  • Republican NORM COLEMAN–1,211,590 (41.99%)
  • Democratic-Farmer-Labor AL FRANKEN–1,211,375 (41.98)

Substantial votes went to Indpendent Dean Barkley (437,404–15.16%) who served as temporary appointment to fill Wellstone’s seat after his death. It was a crowded field with other contenders failing to gain much support:

  • Libertarian CHARLES ALDRICH 13916 0.48
  • Constitution JAMES NIEMACKL 8905 0.31
  • Write-Ins 2340 0.08

The WaPo’s Mary Pat Flaherty reports in “Minn. Senate Race Far From Over: Incumbent Coleman Is Just 239 Votes Ahead of Al Franken” on November 8:

The recount in that election will not be completed until mid-December, and even then, a candidate or voter can challenge the outcome, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said. Sen. Norm Coleman (R) held a 239-vote lead over Democrat Al Franken as of late yesterday. That margin of less than 0.5 percentage points triggers an automatic recount under Minnesota law.

Ritchie said he would hope to finish the recount by Dec. 19. But that process cannot begin until the election results are certified Tuesday.

Franken said on Minnesota Public Radio that he will not waive the recount.

This is the closest race in Minnesota history, the closest Senate race and the closest race anywhere in the country. This is just part of the process to make sure every vote is counted,” he said, adding: “Candidates don’t get to decide when an election’s over — voters do.

Minnesota voters use paper ballots. They will be reviewed first at the local level, with an elections official and an observer for each candidate on hand, if the candidate chooses. Any ballot challenged by an observer will be sealed and sent to the state canvassing board consisting of two state Supreme Court justices, two district court judges and chaired by the secretary of state. The board certifies the general-election results some time after Decenber 16.

According to MN Public Radio, Coleman is already in court challenging the canvassing.

To keep up with the recount, I recommend Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com.

Things are up in the air in two additional races. Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss will have a run-off against Democrat Jim Martin, since Chambliss fell a bit shy the 50 percent he needed to win election in Georgia. We also are waiting to find out the results of the Alaska race between incumbent Ted Stevens (R), against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D). Stevens ran despite his felony conviction last month for his failure to report gifts.

And BTW, Silver had an interesting post November 5, What In The Hell Happened in Alaska? about the oddly shrinking electorate there.

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