Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Minnesota, when are you going to let Franken be seated?

I have had one eye on Minnesota, since I lived there for five years.

As the drama of dragging this court crisis out for the last remaining senate seat in Minnesota continues, my sister informs me that Norm Coleman has lost much good will with citizens of the state. Many across the board respected the mandatory recount, don't believe that there is excessive fraud and abuse with the voting process there, and are just ready for this to be wrapped up.

I have written before, Coleman is just that type of candidate that brings the "I can't believe he is running" candidate out to well, end up beating him at the ballot box. First, remember Jesse Ventura, the wrestler and sometimey actor, winning the governorship in Minnesota? Here was a man who was LITERALLY a disc jockey in the state, running for the hell of it, got the young folk riled up, and ended up beating Coleman. Now, we have a former Saturday Night Live alumnus, a known comic, a known satirist, who came back to Minnesota, raised the money needed to win the DFL label in the state, and beat Norm Coleman by a mandatory recount. Really, it does not get any better than this.

Now the court system has taken place, per Coleman's request and it does not look good Coleman. Remember, the person who is the leader always has the advantage, which is Franken. It means that Coleman must find votes, which he has not been able to do.

The Minnesota election court handed down two rulings tonight, one of which should be regarded as an unambiguous defeat for Norm Coleman -- and the other should probably leave Al Franken cautiously optimistic.

First, the court completely denied Coleman's motion to launch a class-action suit on behalf of all 11,000-plus voters whose absentee ballots have still not been counted. The court found that the state's election laws make clear that individuals may apply to have their ballots counted, but that groups cannot be created and represented for this purpose.

The court also handed down a summary judgment on Franken's efforts to get some of his own votes counted, and they've given him a go-ahead on 12 individuals to be accepted and counted at a later time. And to give you an idea of how strict a standard they're using here, there are 38 others on Franken's list they're refusing to count at this time.

That kind of stringency isn't very good news for Coleman, as he's trying to get a lot of his own votes in that the court hasn't ruled on yet. And considering he's the one who's actually behind right now, this question has a lot more urgency for him.


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