Tag Archives: Norm Coleman

Coleman Goof

So Ana IM’s me, and I can tell through the text that she was almost out of breath with excitement or fear or something. But then I remembered shes been observing the Minnesota Senate court challenge. Turns out something rather interesting happened. Luckily, TPM has it covered:

Norm Coleman’s lawyers just had a very awkward moment in court, in their attempt to prove that absentee ballots were double-counted — it turns out they’ve failed to share evidence with the Franken camp, involving a key witness.

The Coleman camp called Pamela Howell, a Republican election worker in Minneapolis, who said she heard another election judge exclaim that they had forgotten to properly label duplicates of absentee ballots that had been too damaged for the machines to count. She also said she did not recall whether they had made a note of this in the precinct incident logs.

Franken lawyer David Lillehaug then got up, setting out to impugn Howell as an unreliable, partisan witness. She admitted that she called up Coleman’s legal team during the recount, …

Holy crap, more here. TU Ana.

Major Setback for Coleman

In his bid to Take The Senate No Matter What, Norm Coleman has been trying to get a very large number of previously rejected absentee ballots counted. Most of these ballots were not counted because they were truly borked. Folks, remember this: If you are going to vote absentee, keep in mind the fact that an envelope with a vote in it showing up at city hall is looked at only as a possible vote. It would be so easy to produce fraudulent votes (and goodness knows there are enough Republicans around to carry out such nefarious acts) that the rules have to be pretty strict. My recommendation is to just go and vote on voting day if you can.

Anyway, Coleman wanted a very large number of absentee ballots, which had been previously rejected, to be counted not because they should not have been rejected, and not because there was really any chance of these votes changing the outcome of the election already won by Coleman’s worthy opponent, Al Franken.

He wanted these counted for two reasons. One: If you recount enough ballots, maybe, just maybe, random chance will cause a different outcome than we have now. Two: The longer it takes to certify Franken as the winner, the longer the Democrats of Our Fine State are not represented by both of the duly elected Democratic senators.

Gee, thanks, Norm.

Anyway, the court that is currently hearing Coleman’s election challenge has rejected most of categories of absentee ballots that Coleman is arguing to be counted.

From the Minnesota Progressive Project:

The latest news from the MN election contest, in which former Sen. Norm Coleman is hoping to keep Al Franken from becoming our next Senator, is that Norm’s chances just got cut in half. The 3-judge panel ruled that they will not consider 13 categories of rejected ballots (The judges had previously asked that the contestants argue why or why not to consider ballots in 19 separate categories). They ruled that ballots in these 13 categories were legally rejected and Norm’s legal team wouldn’t be able to present ballots in these categories for consideration.

Noah Kunin of The Uptake speculated on AM950’s On The Uptake show that this could halve the universe of 4600 or so ballots that are still in contention. I would add that it could possibly be fewer than 2000 … we won’t know until guys like Noah get a chance to analyze things.

Read the rest here. Also, have a look at this: Minnesota Court Rules Election Process as Sound

Franken-Coleman Senate Race Recount: Restart

At 1:00 PM Central Time court procedings being in the Franken-Coleman senate race. A three judge state court will ultimately hear and rule on a lawsuit essentially filed by Coleman’s team. The suit, an “election contest,” alleges a number of problems with the current nearly-certified recount which gives Franken a small lead over Coleman.

All of these issues have been previously aired, and some but not all addressed by the State Canvassing Board. Most analysts currently believe that none of these alleged problems are real, or material in relation to the outcome of this election. Coleman may well agree with this as he has already accepted a position as a lobbyist for a Republican Jewish interest group. Which is kinda funny, but might make sense in a Minnesota context. But not really.

I’ll keep you posted.

Franken Counter Filing

Al Franken has, as his his right and duty, filed papers to the court now reviewing Coleman’s suit regarding the Minnesota Senate Race.

Eric Kleefeld has an excellent summary of the paper. You can read the papers here, and read Eric’s summary here. Oh, and if you want a real laugh, you can read Coleman’s suit here.

I’ll give you the bottom line. There are the usual hopeful elements in any such filing, which usually have no effect, such as jurisdictional questions and so on. But there are two key elements based on which I would expect a decision by the court to throw out the case. First, some of Coleman’s propsoed remedies are illegal. Second, the one or two remedies that might not be illegal, if applied uniformly, would net Franken as many votes as Coleman (in relative terms). This inparticular applies to Coleman’s claim that there was double counting in some precincts of a few votes. Coleman wants votes thrown out in Franken-supporting precincts. Franken’s camp says: OK, if you do that, we have a list of red-colored precincts to also throw votes out in.

It would be funny if the courts allowed some of this and Coleman came up even more behind. Almost worth a try.

Norm Coleman’s Chances of Winning the Minnesota Senate Seat

…. via his court challenge of the recount that places Al Franken ahead are assessed by Eric Kleefeld:

The complaint ignores the existence of counter-evidence, employs one maneuver when it is self-benefiting and opposes the same maneuver when it goes against them, attacks not just the recount but votes that were counted for Franken all along, and overall throws everything against the wall to see what sticks.

Which is what I’ve been saying all along.

Have a look at Eric’s point by point analysis.

Tainting Franken: The real reason for the Coleman law suit

And other Republican Hypocrisy.

The long term plan is to keep Franken out of the Senate forever. Not likely to work. The short term plan is to “taint” Franken, so that morons like Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan (MSNBC) and Ann Coulter can constantly refer to “Franken” and “Tainted” in the same sentence again and again and again.

Which will not be a big problem, really, because this is an old and tired strategy that no on cares about any more. But it is their strategy.

Now, about the law suit: We have the Republicans hitting all the same exact issues that have been hit before. Of these issues, one was never really closely looked at, so the court may need to look more closely. The others have already been tossed out by prior decisions (by the same court!). Although the Coleman lawyers can technically, legally do this because an “election contest” (the technical term for this ‘suit’) is not an appeal, it is normally not the case that if a court says “no” that you can either a) ask another court at the same level to say yes or b) ask the same court again and again. (There is no new evidence here.) The court will quickly toss out all but one of the material challenges.

What the law suit does do, however, is to place coleman in the clear underdog spot, and this is the first time he has been clearly in that spot for the entire race. Then, from this powerful position as victim, the law suit allows the injection of all of the terms and phrases linked to the Tainting of Franken. This way, there will be a nice, rich rhetorical menu from which to chose over the next few years as Coleman repositions himself and the Republicans work towards retaking he Senate.

Now, I’d like to show you a video (Ana the Blogless brought this to my attention). This is a CNN Video that has the phrase “Not so Fast Franken” across the bottom. and it is a sham interview of Texas Senator John Cornyn, “Chairman” of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Why is this a sham interview? Because the interview is about the Republican’s plan to interfere with seating Franken earlier this week (being discussed in the interview as a future event). The thing is, this is not even a tiny issue. Franken was not going to try to be seated, nor was Coleman or anyone else, because of the automatic delay in issuing of the election certificate for a seven day review period, and everyone, including Senator Cornyn, knows this. In other words, this was a totally senseless premise to a news story, and a totally senseless set of statements by Cornyn. So why was this interview happening at all? For no reason whatsoever? Not likely. The video was part of the development of the Franken as Tainted rhetoric.

In this video, Cornyn demonstrates the taint-language approach, and he also demonstrates another bit of Republican shenanigans. I would like to orient you to both of these before you watch.

Regarding the taint-talk, Cornyn refers (although he does a poor job of it) to most of the phrases that are being injected into the conversation by the Coleman campaign (Double counted ballots; Irregularities; Every vote counts; and so on). We are going to see this language regularized, adapted, and repeated as it is spread through talking point memos. We’re going to see the information misused and gotten wrong by gnomes like Cornyn who have gotten the Taint Franken Talking Points Memo, but do not really understand all of it because they have not been paying attention to the details. In other words, we are going to see yet another example of senseless conversation in Washington and the press surrounding yet another non issue.

The lack of understanding the situation by Cornyn may be related to the other thing I wanted to point out about this video. This is what appears to be a logical flaw or even an out and out hypocrisy demonstrated in what Cornyn says. To get this, you have to know that the Democrats are generally against seating Illinois appointee Burris because they think he is not re-electable, and would prefer a stronger candidate in that position. The Republicans want him seated for the same reasons. The logic behind the Democratic Party action is this: According to Senate Rule Two, for a senator to be seated, there must be a proper election certificate. In the case of Burris, there is no proper election certificate, because both the governor and the state’s Secretary of State must sign the certificate. So the Democrats say they won’t seat him on this basis.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are making the argument that the US Constitution really just says that there must be “executive” action or intent on the part of the state. You only need the governor’s signature on the certificate. This makes what the Democrats are doing, according to the Republicans, unconstitutional. Got that? Keep this in mind as you watch the video. It will make you laugh.

Regarding this argument, then, we have the following (paraphrased from various Republican sources including the video you are about to watch) being said:

“Minnesota Law says you need an election certificate with a signature from the governor and the secretary of state. Therefore you can’t seat Franken”

“Burris is seatable because the US constitution says the Senator needs ‘executive approval’ and that does not include the Secretary of State (who did not sign Burris’ certificate.”

And finally, we hear from Cornyn, regarding the Democratic strategy: “You can’t have it both ways.”

Um. Right.

And now the “you can’t have it both ways” show:

Five Thirty Eight Eviscerates the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal published an editorial yesterday called “Funny Business in Minnesota” which is so full of inaccurate innuendo and fallacious factoids that when I read it I thought I was reading a piece of junk mail from Ann Coulter.

Well, the honorable web site Five Thirty Eight has torn the WSJ a new one with a brutally accurate deconstruction of the editorial. There really is virtually nothing in this editorial that can be salvaged from the bright light of actual truth. Shame on the Wall Street Journal.

Read the commentary from Five Thirty Eight here.

Thanks Mike for the tip.

Coleman is filing a law suit related to the Minnesota senatorial race.

Details are just coming in now.


They are suing regarding: the missing ballots from Minneapoilis (that won’t go anywhere, already settled); Double counting (that issue was killed off already, it will go no where) and absentee ballots (they have a small chance that this may develop into something).

They state that they will win in state court but have federal level issues to argue as well.

The won’t and the don’t. But it looks like they will continue to press.

We are being told that several Coleman lawyers are not being dispersed around the state to depose, under oath, election officials.

They are opposing several of the decisions made by the canvassing board such as the afore mentioned … missing ballots of Minneapolis.

Ana will be commenting below, I hope, on the missing ballots in Minneapolis.

They are talking about pre-trial phases, they are talking about a thee week period leading up to the trial, they are talking about a couple of months of proceedings.

Now they are threatening the Chief Justice … who was on the canvassing board. They want him off the State Supreme Court for this proceeding.

They are not making veiled threats to force a new recount.

Clearly, they are pulling out all stops and are not going to let this rest. This is the beginning of the Big Mess. The Republicans have decided that they are not going to allow the winner go to Washington no matter what it takes.

Time to start raising money for the Franken team again.

OK, done.

The Minnesota Recount is Over

As many of you have already heard, the recount process in Minnesota to determine the outcome of the Senatorial race is over, and Al Franken has been certified as winner.

There is now a review period of seven days during which any voter in the state of Minnesota. Including me, Al Franken, whomever, can sue for an Election Challenge. Although both Secretary of State Ritchie and I have expressed the opinion that Norm Coleman, who lost the race, is unlikely to issue such a challenge, the press and even Coleman’s lawyers have suggested that a challenge will in fact be filed by three o’clock tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.

However, you know the following is true: The best chance Coleman has to turn what he calls Franken’s “Artificial Lead” around is from a set of 650 as yet uncounted rejected absentee ballots. There are two things working against Coleman in regards to these ballots. First, the process is over and they were not counted. Asking for them to be counted is not a matter of bringing in something new. They have already been not-counted by a process determined by the same court to which Coleman would issue the challenge, and some members of that court were also on the canvassing board that certified the election this afternoon. So the chances of a challenge being accepted by this court is easily estimated at zero point zero zero zero. Or less.

Second, in order for Al Franken’s official 225 vote lead to be erased by counting these absentee ballots, there would have to be a very strong bias in these 650 ballots that Coleman wants counted. I calculate that there is about a two to three percent probability that counting these votes would change the outcome in Coleman’s favor. That may seem like a lot, but the chances of having the votes being counted to begin with is about zero.

Coleman really has two choices: Proceed with the challenge and end his political career or don’t proceed and have a chance of continuing in Minnesota politics.

Which, I would guess, would involve his run for governor in two years. As a democrat, of course.

Someone on the internet agrees with me

… regarding the likely response by Coleman following the certification of the Minnesota Senatorial Race tomorrow (Monday) by the Canvassing Board.

No matter who wins, either party can lodge a legal challenge, potentially pushing the election results out quite a period of time from now. In 1969, Minnesota was unable to certify their Senator until well in to March.

But this isn’t the 1960s, and Norm Coleman surely knows that.

Just because he challenges the election, which is something he’s well poised himself to do, it doesn’t mean the outcome will change. If he fights tooth and nail to the death, and he loses, it will surely spell the end of his political career…

Read the rest by Brian White at Glossy News. Oh, google it. The site is showing signs of not being well behaved so I’m not linking to it.

Franken lead rises to over 200

And the worst case scenario is that this lead could drop by far less then necessary to turn the race around.

Everyone assumes that the loser, in this case Coleman, will file a law suit. It would fit with how the game has been played so far. But what would such a law suit do? It is not the case that there is some 300 votes laying around that Coleman could have if he won a suit. The best he could probably do, and this is very unlikely, is to get about 130 votes that may or may not have been double counted thrown out. Not enough.

The other thing Coleman could do with a law suit is to end his political career in Minnesota. It is now Obvious that Franken has won this race. If Coleman files a law suit, which he would have to do within seven days of the certification of the election (expected Monday), and the suit was heard by the State Supreme court (which it may well not be), then there would be a period of several (three or four) weeks during which time Coleman would be increasingly seen as not really caring about democracy. This, of course, would be happening as the other shoe drops on Coleman’s political career.
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