Al Franken: The Vote Count is Meaningless

Al Franken’s team seems awfully dismissive of the vote that appears to have resulted in the re-election of Norm Coleman to the U.S. Senate. From Roll Call (subscription only):

The Coleman campaign maintains the Senator won the election by 215 votes, while the Franken campaign said the race starts over today tied “zero-zero, with 2.9 million to go.”

The state of Minnesota has spent millions on an election and a count, and has spent years working to ensure that the results are reliable. I can find no evidence of a statewide recount in Minnesota that has overturned the result of an initial count. Franken’s response: none of that matters in the least.

Before the completion of the count and certification by the state, the Franken team ‘found’ more votes for him than seems possible, based on the results in other races:

In total, the 519 net pro-Franken corrections were greater than the total changes for all precincts in the state for the presidential race, all congressional races and all state House races combined.

But it isn’t only the size of the corrections that make these changes so surprising. The majority of Franken’s new votes came from just three out of 4,130 precincts. Almost half the gain (248 votes) occurred in one precinct: Two Harbors, a small town north of Duluth along Lake Superior, a heavily Democratic precinct where Obama got 64 percent of the vote.

No other race had any changes in its vote total in that precinct. That single precinct’s corrections produced a much larger net swing in votes than occurred for all the precincts in the state for the presidential, congressional or state House races.

Also troubling is that new ballots that weren’t included in the original count are being discovered. While not yet a large number, 32 absentee ballots were discovered in Democratic Minneapolis under the control of a single Democratic election judge after all the votes had been counted. When those votes are added, they’ll likely cut Coleman’s lead further.

Isn’t Al Franken worried that he might appear tainted if he manages to prevail in a recount simply by throwing up dust and ‘finding’ a few hundred more votes for him? Recall that the U.S. Senate may be the ultimate arbiter of any disputed result. Al Franken is simply betting that Harry Reid will be unwilling to deny himself one more Senate vote — regardless of how tainted it may appear.