Yesterday, a three judge panel in Minnesota declared Al Franken the winner in that state’s razor-close Senate race:
ST. PAUL, Minn., April 13 — A Minnesota court confirmed Monday that Democrat Al Franken won more votes than Norm Coleman in his Senate race last year against the Republican incumbent, who had already announced plans to appeal the decision.
Coleman has 10 days to appeal to the state Supreme Court. Once the petition is filed, it could leave Minnesota with only one senator for weeks more.
After a statewide recount and a seven-week trial, Franken stands 312 votes ahead. He gained more votes from the election challenge than Coleman, who brought the legal action.
The state law under which Coleman sued required three judges to determine who received the most votes and is therefore entitled to an election certificate, which is on hold pending an appeal.
“The overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the November 4, 2008, election was conducted fairly, impartially and accurately,” the judges wrote. “There is no evidence of a systematic problem of disenfranchisement in the state’s election system, including in its absentee-balloting procedures.”
Coleman has the right to appeal this, of course, to the Minnesota Supreme Court and even the United States Supreme Court, but it seems pretty clear that he’s got very little chance of overturning this Court’s decision:
Coleman has said he’ll appeal yesterday’s ruling, which is what one would expect him to say. But the fact of the matter is that, he would simply be delaying the inevitable by continuing to challenge. This would serve to deny the Democrats an additional vote in the Senate, an understandable political goal for an embittered candidate, but one that comes at the steep price of denying Minnesotans half the representation to which the Constitution entitles them. As such, it’s time for Coleman to throw in the towel and let Senator Franken go to work.
We’ll never know whether Coleman or Franken actually got more votes. Given the closeness of the race, a coin flip would have provided an equally satisfying and systematically valid measure. But we have the process we have and Franken emerged the narrow winner.
It’s time for Coleman to end this.
I never thought I’d say this, but Norm Coleman needs to take an example from Al Gore and just accept the fact that he lost a very close election.