Franken to be declared Senate victor in Minnesota lawsuit likely to follow

January 5, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS (ChattahBox) — It looks like Al Franken is poised to become Minnesota’s next senator.  The state Canvassing Board was poised to certify the results of the recount in Minnesota’s grueling Senate election in Franken’s favor — but that doesn’t mean the race is definitely over.

The latest numbers showed Franken, a Democrat, with a 225-vote lead over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, who led Franken on election night. The board will meet Monday and was expected to declare which candidate received the most overall votes from nearly 3 million ballots cast. Franken, 57, is a well-known satirist who wrote for and starred on NBC television’s long-running comedy show “Saturday Night Live,” and more recently hosted a liberal radio show before running for the Senate from his home state. Coleman, 59, just completed his first term that he won by defeating Walter Mondale, the former Democratic presidential candidate who stood in for Sen. Paul Wellstone. Wellstone died in a plane crash during his 2002 reelection campaign.

But after the announcement, there will be a seven-day waiting period before an election certificate is completed. If any lawsuits are filed during that waiting period, certification is conditional until the issue is settled in court. In recent weeks, as Franken clung to a small lead, Coleman’s lawyers promised a lawsuit over their claim that some ballots duplicated on election night wound up being counted twice in the recount.

The Coleman campaign also has a petition pending before the state Supreme Court to include 650 ballots that it says were improperly rejected but not forwarded by local officials to St. Paul for counting. The court has not said when it would rule in that case.


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