Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Two Senators from Minnesota, Finally

Minnesota finally has two senators.

Here’s some of the opinion from the Minnesota Supreme Court:

•Coleman did not establish that, by requiring proof that absentee voting standards were satisfied before counting a rejected absentee ballot, the trial court changed standards that violates Coleman’s due process rights.

•Coleman didn’t prove that either the trial court or local election officials violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

•The three-judge panel did not abuse its discretion when it excluded additional evidence.

•The panel court ruled correctly when it included in the final election tally the election day returns of a precinct in which some ballots were lost before the manual recount.

“For all of the foregoing reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court that Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minn. 32 Stat. § 204C.40 (2008) to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota.”

At least Norm Coleman conceded graciously:

“The Supreme Court has spoken. We have a United States senator,” Coleman said in a news conference outside his home in St. Paul. “It’s time to move forward.”

It took rather a long time to get here. But sometimes that’s how the democratic process works. Coleman had a right to all the appeals. He should have realized a little earlier that he was not going to win.

There’s a very interesting analysis of how Franken won in the Post.

Perhaps the most important:

• It Pays To Be Ahead: When the statewide recount ended, Franken led by 225 votes. As we wrote at the time (and many times after that), it’s hard to overstate how important the fact that Franken was ahead was to setting public perception regarding the legal fight that ensued. Coleman was forced to be the aggressor legally, claiming that all sorts of ballots had been illegally counted (and not counted) while, through it all, the fact that Franken led by 225 votes hung over the proceedings. Voters tend to lose interest in politics quickly -- particularly after an election as nasty and long as this race was -- and that sort of fatigue played right into Franken’s hands.

The most important lesson to learn is how important it is to vote and to count every single vote.

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