Coleman appeals Franken victory in Minnesota Senate race

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Norm Coleman filed an appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court challenging opponent Al Franken's court victory last week which gave Franken a 312-vote lead in the disputed 2008 Minnesota United States Senate election, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Al Franken just before addressing the 2008 Olmsted County Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Convention in Rochester, Minnesota.
Image: Jonathunder.
Norm Coleman
Image: United States Senate.

The basis for Coleman's appeal has yet to be given and will be included in a legal brief to be filed by the Coleman campaign later this week.

Jim Langdon, lawyer for the Coleman campaign, said that the oral arguments in the court could begin in anywhere from "two weeks to two months", adding more time to a process which has continued since a razor-thin difference between the two candidates' vote totals triggered an automatic recount in November 2008. The Supreme Court is not required to hear oral arguments and it is possible they could refuse to hear the case.

A spokesperson for the Franken campaign says that Coleman is up to the "same old, same old."

"Sometimes you come up on the short end of a close and bitter election. But at some point, you have to accept the reality for what it is," said Marc Elias, one of Franken's lawyers.

The Coleman campaign argues that 4,400 ballots from Coleman-leaning districts have improperly not been counted, while some undetermined number of ballots (perhaps contributing up to 100 of Franken's 312-vote margin) were accidentally double-counted. Coleman also argues that 132 ballots from the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis should not have been counted, since the envelope containing them was lost or stolen after the machine count and before the recount. The Franken campaign, meanwhile, supports the previous three-judge panel (from a Democrat, a Republican, and an Independent) unanimous ruling giving Franken victory.

The Franken campaign, anticipating a final victory and certification by the Minnesota Secretary of State, has begun hiring a staff for Franken's senatorial office. Franken's spokespeople say he is going to start by hiring Alana Peterson, a former state director for Representative Jim Oberstar, as state director.


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