Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Don't Give Up Norm!

Minnesota politics are starting to resemble New Jersey or Illinois.
Last week, Democrat Al Franken was deemed the winner of the 2008 US Senate race over former Republican US Senator Norm Coleman. This has been a contentious race right from the start two years ago. And it shows no signs of ending anytime soon.
For those of you who have not been following the Minnesota US Senate race since November, let me fill you in. Following the November elections, Norm Coleman had a very slight lead over Al Franken but the race was too close to call. So according to Minnesota law, it went to a recount and then an election contest. This has gone on for over 4 months with a boatload of problems. Some absentee ballots were counted in one county while some similar absentee ballots were thrown out in another county. Some missing votes turned up unexpectedly. Other ballots went missing. Some ballots were counted twice. See where the problem lies:  inconsistency in counting the votes.
This “counting of ballots” problem could have been easily solved if local election officials had consistently and uniformly followed existing state law that sets guidelines for counting absentee ballots. Instead, each Minnesota county counted their ballots differently.
Norm Coleman is doing the right thing by appealing to the State Supreme Court to include more ballots. I can understand the Democrats argument that Norm should just give up and concede to Al Franken as, at the moment, Al is ahead. Now if Al was a couple of hundred votes down to Norm, do you really think that Al Franken would hand over the Senate seat to Norm Coleman? Not in this lifetime! The Democratic Party would raise a huge stink to include more ballots in the recount in hopes of gaining more votes for Al Franken.
Now this could go on for another 6 months if each side keeps appealing and it ends up in the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. I say it cannot be resolved as neither side will ever give in. So, let’s just have another election-–Al vs. Norm and be done with it. 
You may be wondering how does this affect a suburban Mom like myself? For starters, it’s the ideological battle between conservative and liberals in the US Senate. If Al wins, the liberal White House has gained another seat in the US Senate and can more easily pass liberal-leaning legislation. Then there are all of the issues that affect us–taxes, education, health care, etc. 
If you live in Minnesota like I do, where you live determined how your absentee ballot was treated. Suburban counties took a much stricter view of the law than urban counties that included larger cities like Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Any way you look at it, there is a lot at stake with the outcome of this race.
A redo election may be months off but for now I’m urging Norm Coleman to stick to his guns and not give in until every vote is counted or Minnesota has a redo Senate election in the near future.

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