Lots of days have been called significant during Minnesota’s long U.S. Senate recount, but today rates the billing.
This afternoon, the state Canvassing Board will sit down with only one major task on their agenda: certifying the results, which now show Al Franken 225 votes ahead of Norm Coleman.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Franken gets to claim the crown, although it’s certain he’s mightily tempted and a lot of Democrats in D.C. would like to see him fly out and join them when Congress convenes tomorrow.
He crossed one hurdle just now. The state Supreme Court this morning rejected Coleman’s petition to count not just the 933 wrongly rejected absentee ballots that were tallied Saturday, but the 650 absentee ballots that the campaign said also were wrongly rejected and therefore should have been included.
That leaves Coleman with the option provided by state law that nearly everyone expects him to exercise if and when the results are certified: file a suit contesting the election.
If Coleman goes to court, the final certification of the election by the governor and secretary of state — which would officially make Franken the winner — would be delayed until the matter is settled.
Voices are being raised suggesting that the election has been stolen right under our eyes. In a scathing editorial today, the Wall Street Journal says that Franken may be the “illegitimate victor” of a contest steered by “the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board.”
Having watched the board work for a few weeks, I doubt that Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and other members of the board would agree with that characterization.
Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn are already jawing in Washington over the possibility of Franken’s moving into the Senate. Schumer says that Franken won, while Cornyn is threatening a filibuster until the legal process is over. The election that won’t end, it seems, just won’t end.