MN-Sen: Norm Coleman Trying to Stop the Vote Counting

by: Matt Stoller

Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 17:10

Well we always that Republicans don't believe in democracy or voting rights, so it's not a surprise that Norm Coleman is trying to prevent all the votes from being counted.  Alaska looks quite fishy to me, but this is ridiculous.  

Bush recount 2000 anyone?

Matt Stoller :: MN-Sen: Norm Coleman Trying to Stop the Vote Counting

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It's not going to work. (4.00 / 2)
No Katherine Harris, no Florida legislature. My (admittedly very limited) understanding is that Minnesota law errs on the side of detail and exhaustive procedure in its recount laws.

But, still, it's important to keep track of and to fight back.

The Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie is a DFLer (4.00 / 1)
So hopefully that means no repeat of 2000.

Coleman's request... (4.00 / 14)
Coleman went into court to request an injunction against counting thirty some absentee ballots that were received prior to election day.  He lost, the court refused his request for an injunction.  Unless he starts with appeals, the ballots have been counted.  

Yes, Minnesota's secret on Election Law is that everything is in state statutes, it does not depend on court rulings or special opinions by the Secretary of State.  It is in no way make it up as you go along.  We do recounts all the time when close elections trigger them -- this year we have three legislative contests with less than 100 vote margins, and it is just normal proceedure to have a recount to make sure the right party gets the certificate of election.  

Wow... (4.00 / 3)
Sounds like a model for all states to follow.

[ Parent ]
Indeed. (4.00 / 1)
  Aren't there three Democrats with narrow leads over Republicans - each requiring a recount.  I believe in Minnesota elections.  

John McCain lets lobbyists shape his economic policy

[ Parent ]
I don't think Franken is going to be fooled ... (4.00 / 3)
although it would be interesting to hear Franken's opinion on Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 now .. given Coleman's stunts

Go to (4.00 / 1)
A reasonable report, although "Coleman's lead is less than one half of one percent over Franken" overstates the proportionate size of Coleman's lead somewhat. It's less than two hundredths of one percent, possibly even less than one hundredth.

I went to the Minnesota SOS's website to check this and, inexplicably, the results have been taken down. Gone. they're simply not there any longer.

[ Parent ]
MN SOS link (4.00 / 1)
I had some problems with it as well.  Here is the link:


Lead down to 221 votes.

[ Parent ]
You have to remove the "?nclick_check=1" bit (4.00 / 1)
and then it works. They should fix this in the OP though since it's not obvious from the article text that it's only 30 absentee ballots that Coleman is trying to stop, not the entirety of the recount.

[ Parent ]
I Used to Think (4.00 / 1)
that Norm Coleman was Rick Santorum without the cross-species sex fetish. Now I'm sure.

My response to Republicans who told me to leave the US if I didn't like the 2004 Election results:
"To hell with that, we're taking this place back!"

How Do You Know??? (4.00 / 1)
without the cross-species sex fetish. Now I'm sure.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, as the war criminals would say.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
His marriage has been described as "unconventional" (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Very Ture (0.00 / 0)
He exhibits all the other symptoms, as House would say just because we haven't seen it yet doesn't mean it's not there.

My response to Republicans who told me to leave the US if I didn't like the 2004 Election results:
"To hell with that, we're taking this place back!"

[ Parent ]
What's really funny... (4.00 / 7)
I hope someone goes through ancient archives and pulls out some of the potential gems....

Before Norm Coleman turned Republican, he was a DFL'er, and he was elected as Mayor of St. Paul twice as a DFL'er.  He chaired Clinton's 1992 state campaign, and co-chaired Wellstone's 1996 re-election campaign.  As a DFL'er mind you.  

Before he was elected Mayor of St. Paul, he worked as a staff attorney in the Attorney General's office, and as such was detailed from time to time to serve the Secretary of State's needs for an attorney to advocate for Minnesota's Election Law.  Back in those days the Sec of State was DFL'er Joan Growe.  She served for 22 years.  

So there are various briefs that Coleman wrote, and arguments he made in Court back in the late 80's and early 90's in defense of Minnesota's Election Law.  It might be really fun to review his arguments and briefs.  

And by the way -- he knows that law pretty well.  Any claims to not knowing are a failure of memory occassioned by conversion (by Karl Rove) to Ideological Republicanism.  

I have heard this (4.00 / 5)
I also recall reading some essays he had written in college, during which time he was a hippie, in which he rails against "Rich Republicans," although I was under the impression that his conservative conversion happened earlier. What caused the massive swing from co-chairing Wellstone's campaign on election, and then running against him the next? Was it born out of opportunism due to the excellent environment Republicans had in 2002? It just seems odd that the guy would switch THAT radically THAT quickly.

Former Edwards Supporter, Obama Supporter since January 30, 2008

[ Parent ]
Well, we all know (4.00 / 1)
that the biggest zealots are of the "convert" variety.

But of course these assholes are so damn calculating, it's likely only his inner most circle will ever know if it's a true conversion or rank opportunism. Either way, I don't know which makes me more sick to my stomach.

[ Parent ]
Normie's Conversion Experience (4.00 / 3)
Norm was converted in early 1997, it was very much a Karl Rove operation, but the key person in it all was Rudy Boschwitz, who had just been defeated for a second time by Wellstone, and he needed a soul-mate who could carry on his position.  Boschwitz was able to introduce Coleman to some of Minnesota's old money Republicans who pretty much fell in to the idea of supporting Coleman's career.  Coleman's first campaign was mostly run by Boschwitz staffers, and they then set up Coleman's office after he won in 2002.  

Norm first ran for Governor in 1998, in what turned out to be a three way race, with Skip Humphrey holding up the DFL side of it all, and Jesse Ventura coming in, taking the debate, running the Bill Hillstrom ads (The Thinker), and taking the contest and becoming Governor.  At anyrate, he held on for a few years, and got the support of Cheney and Rove right after Bush moved into the White House in 2001 to run the Senate Race in 2002.  In fact the more religious conservative Republican side wanted Tim Pawlenty to run for the Senate that year -- but Cheney made the phone calls and Pawlenty dropped out and decided to run for Governor.  

You know small facts are just interesting if you can fit them into an ongoing narrative.  One of the sicons of old wealth Minnesota Republicanism is Tom Hefflefinger, one of the US Attorneys who showed up on the list of USA's to be fired, but who quit before the Rove/Miers/Gonzo tag team could get to him.  He had been USA during Bush I, and for about six years during Bush II.  Anyhow, just after it became clear that there would be a mandated recount in this contest, Coleman announces that Hefflefinger would be his lead attorney, but before the day was out, Hefflefinger announced he was not available to take the case.  I take this as a possible sign that the old money crowd -- the establishment if you will -- has backed off Normie.  Apparently the reason Rove/Miers/Gonzo wanted Tom fired had to do with his unwillingness as USA to back up Mary Kiffmeyer the former Sec of State (R-Kathleen Harris branch) in trying to deny students the right to vote at their college residences.  They were trying to interpret the Help America Vote act as requiring college students to vote from home (Parental) addresses.  Kiffmeyer had tried to get this into Federal Court, and thus overturn Minnesota law, but Hefflefinger, as USA,  would not take the case. The Hefflefinger's are married into the family of Wendel Wilkie, I believe Wilkie was great uncle to Tom, and his cousin is Wendel Wilkie IV, who was a political appointee in both Bush I & II's Justice Department, but left before things went badly wrong after 9/11.  But the original claim to fame of the family involves command of the Minnesota First -- the regiment that saved the day and indeed the Union at Gettysburg, holding off an Alabama regiment at the Wheat Field and taking something like 80% casualities, but allowing the Union to bring up reinforcements and big guns.  The Minnesota First was the first regiment offered to Lincoln after the attack on Fort Sumter.  Anyhow it is very old Republican Establishment dating back to Territorial times.  I think Normie has offended them. It may be the Neiman-Marcus suits.  

There is another layer to this, and that is Coleman's association with both Rudy Boschwitz and Joe Lieberman (he came to campaign for Norm) and their strong Likud-Israel links.  It is a long and twisted tale, but it is very much part of why Norm went over to the Republicans when he did -- a desire to stop Clinton's Peace Process or the Oslo version of it at least.  It fits in in an odd way with the current power center of Minnesota Republicanism -- what one might call the Rapture Republicans, the base for Michelle Bachmann, and for the current state Republican Chair, who is the former head of the Christian Coalition.  As I said, it is a most twisted tale.  

[ Parent ]
Not to mention (4.00 / 3)
we already need a "Coleman Historian" just to guide us through his myriad positions on this year's election results: he's against a recount, he demands Franken renounce a recount, then he's for a recount, then he's demanding a court order or filing a law suit to...oh hell, I don't know. I'm out of breadcrumbs.

Maybe he thinks if he can keep the waters muddy enough, folks will just give up while the media helps him out with their "balanced" "equivalency" coverage.

[ Parent ]
This will not be Florida 2000 (4.00 / 2)
We have strong election laws that are fair and detailed and we have a great Secretary of State that will make sure everything is completely transparent and that the process is allowed to run its course.

"Never separate the life you live from the words you speak" -Paul Wellstone

Al Franken sure has changed (4.00 / 1)

Who remembers when Franken had Marc Crispin Miller on his AAR radio show? This was when Crispin Miller's "Fooled Again" just came out. Franken's producers had him come on the show and Crispin Miller talked about how the vote was stolen. Here's what Crispin Miller recalls of Franken's reaction on the show that day.

"I was on his show on Air America just days after that election; and every time I noted yet another piece of evidence that it was stolen, he would reflexively dismiss it with some asinine banality or misconception. At one point, I mentioned a bizarre anomaly in Florida (one of many), where the number of votes for Bush exceeded the number of voters in that entire county.

"Oh, no," Franken said: "We looked into that," he said. "We talked to someone down there --a Democrat!" I asked him for some more specifics. Just then his producer texted him, and he read from his computer: "Oh, yeah, here it is. We talked to... the webmaster for the Secretary of State. And he said there was nothing to it."

That Secretary of State was Katherine Harris.

Come again Al? Crispin Miller continues.

"When the Conyers Report was published the next year, with an introduction by Gore Vidal, the author was on "Real Time with Bill Maher" to talk about it--and Franken was on, too. As ever, he denied that there'd been any fraud committed in Ohio. "I think they won dirty," he said solemnly, denying all those crimes and improprieties precisely documented in the Conyers study (which he evidently hadn't read). He talked on and on in that vein, and thereby managed to upstage Vidal, whose vital point was lost in all the blather.

Yesterday Randi Rhodes said, on her show, that Air America had discouraged her from talking much about the GOP's election fraud, and suggested that Al Franken had a hand in it."

Rhodes' claim is a stretch IMO. But Crispin Miller concludes with the following.

"This all matters greatly now--and not just because of yesterday's report that the e-voting machines in Minnesota have turned out to be defective (or "defective"). Maybe Franken will now face the facts about election fraud more realistically.

Let's hope so Marc. Let's hope so.

To read the article in full click here.

I've heard Randi Rhodes talk about this (4.00 / 1)
for a while. And on the matter of her being hushed regarding election fraud while at AAR, frankly I haven't heard her say anything that stretches credulity.  

[ Parent ]
Not really. (4.00 / 3)
  Franken does not believe fraud was committed in this race either.  It's just a matter of following state election law, which is to say count all the votes.  (Twice if necessary)

John McCain lets lobbyists shape his economic policy

[ Parent ]
asdf (0.00 / 0)

Like you guys, I take Randi Rhodes accusations into question. She has a tendency to blow things outa proporation. But it's intriguing why Franken would go against someone like Gore Vidal for one, and two, Crispin Miller knows his stuff on election fraud. I take his word that this was Franken's reactions to election fraud. It makes you wonder why he would say those things to begin with.  

[ Parent ]
Is the first block quote (0.00 / 0)
about Florida in 2000?

Florida was obviously stolen in 2000, not necessarily from vote fraud, but from butterfly ballots and the supreme court. And actually, if the Gore team had just demanded a recount in all the Florida counties, not just the south florida ones, they would have won the election. Bad tactical move on their part.

I do get wary of people though that tend to fall back on the "election was stolen!" meme. I think this year was a good example of how if you're organized and if people get out and canvass and phone bank and get active, then you'll win an election. The Bush team killed us with GOTV in 2004. Not so this time around. I also have a feeling that most people that claimed vote fraud for years after 2004 didn't see fit to go down to their local Kerry office and canvass voters in the fall of 2004 when it would have made a difference. But I digress, there were so many problems with that election.  

[ Parent ]
Voter suppression (4.00 / 3)
Florida was obviously stolen in 2000, not necessarily from vote fraud, but from butterfly ballots and the supreme court.

The election was indeed stolen, and the key was indeed election fraud in the form of voter suppression - signed sealed and delivered by Katherine Harris. Over 90,000 African American voters were deliberately and illegally scrubbed from the voter rolls by the method called "caging".  

[ Parent ]
I agree (0.00 / 0)
but that's still a little different from people manually changing ballots.

[ Parent ]
So you pooh pooh it until (0.00 / 0)
somebody calls you on it, and then you back down.

[ Parent ]
You make no sense. (0.00 / 0)
And I've been entirely consistent in what I think on this, but thanks for the lame attempt at an insult.

[ Parent ]
So let me make this clear (0.00 / 0)
since it obviously wasn't to you.

If someone is saying voter suppression is the same as vote fraud, then yes there is vote fraud whenever people are disenfranchised. However, that's most certainly NOT what people have been saying a lot of times especially in regards to places like Ohio 2004.

[ Parent ]
Teminology matters (0.00 / 0)
The Rethuglicans have been terrific - as they always are - with confusing the public (and the media) about the difference between "voter fraud" and "election fraud", and now more recently, "voter registration fraud".

I probably don't have to explain the differences to anyone here. So I'll just say that voter fraud is virtually non-existent, while election fraud (which includes caging) is rampant. It's important for progressive to use this terminology correctly because we end up on the short end of the stick when it get conflated.  

[ Parent ]
Coleman got shut down quickly. (0.00 / 0)
   The absentee ballots will be counted.  Coleman seems so desperate that I've got to think that he believes Franken will win a recount.  That would be sweet, sweet, revenge.

John McCain lets lobbyists shape his economic policy

One wonders what that 15% of people (0.00 / 0)
who voted for A FRIGGIN' THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE are thinking right now.

They're probably wishing Barkley had won (4.00 / 2)
Given how high both Franken and Coleman's negatives were, I doubt those that voted for Barkley have any regrets.

"Never separate the life you live from the words you speak" -Paul Wellstone

[ Parent ]
Barkley's an asshole of the highest order. (0.00 / 0)

For some reason, it seems that Obama has some pathological and deep-seated psychological need for Republicans to like him.  Seriously.  It's weird.

[ Parent ]

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