Al Franken and Norm Coleman's Minnesota Mistake

Filed under: Opinions

Up here in Minnesota we have a mess, a real mess. And I'm not talking about the slushy, salt covered roads. During the elections back in November, nearly equal numbers of Minnesotans wanted Republican Senator Norm Coleman and Democratic comedian Al Franken as their senator.

After two months of counting and recounting, the final tally is 1,212,431 for Franken and1,212,206 for Coleman. A difference of 225!

On election night Coleman won with 621 votes. Now Franken, who appears to have benefited from some questionable vote counting -- never counted votes, double counted votes -- is ahead. The Coleman Campaign has taken the fight to the courts. (Something the Franken Campaign was also expected to do if they came out on the losing end.) What we really needed was a re-vote. This was a tie.

This is an example of a ballot thrown out by one of the campaigns. In Minnesota a ballot is only to be excluded when the intent of the voter is not clear. But if either of the campaigns challenged it, the vote wasn't counted. Can you tell the intent of this voter? (Click here to see the challenged ballot and the reason for the challenge.)

Let's remember that our kids are watching how we grown-ups handle a fight this close to call. We need to be advocates for fair fighting. We also need to teach our kids at some point it is better to be wronged than continue to fight to show you're right. If Coleman drags this out to much longer, he runs the real danger of appearing like a a sore loser. Franken's gloating will probably ensure that we Minnesotans will send him packing to New York (where he lived until just recently) after just one term.

A 0.0077 percent margin of victory out of 2.4 million eligible voters isn't a big margin, but it is still a margin. Set the right example, guys. Sometimes it's better to just stop fighting, pick up your ball and walk home. How do we want our kids to react when they lose a close game?

(Full disclosure, I did some music for Coleman in 1993 when he was running for St. Paul mayor and Franken was an-almost guest on Cooking for Dads.)

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