Franken Declared Winner of Minnesota Senate Race

     (CN) – Comedian and author Al Franken is now a U.S. Senator-elect, after the Minnesota Supreme Court declared him the winner in the election over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman.

     Coleman had appeared to be the winner after the November election, as the official count showed that he had 206 more votes than Franken, who ran as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate.
     However, the state canvassing board ordered a recount because the margin of victory was less than 1 percent.
     During the recount, the state allowed the inclusion of 933 absentee ballots that had been rejected. Franken came out on top in the recount by a margin of 225 votes.
     Coleman took the case to court, and at the conclusion of the trial, another 351 absentee ballots were counted. Franken won again, this time by 312 votes.
     At the state supreme court, Coleman argued that his due process rights were violated by inconsistent standards of absentee (“strict” vs. “substantial”) ballot requirements. The justices disagreed.
     “Although we have used a substantial compliance standard to judge errors by election officials, we have held voters strictly to statutory requirements,” they wrote.
     With the victory, Franken has made the transition from poking fun of politicians to becoming one.
     He was a longtime writer and occasional performer on “Saturday Night Live” and a starred in a movie called “Stuart Saves His Family,” based on one of his SNL characters.
     He later became a radio talk show on the Air America Network and wrote “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot” and “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”

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