Posted at 8:37 AM on December 17, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The canvassing board will begin Day two of the ballot ballad today. When the first day was done, GOP Sen. Norm Coleman extended his lead over Democrat Al Franken to 264 votes but that's mostly because the board examined Franken challenges. MPR, the Pi Press, the Star Tribune, KARE, the New York Times, WCCO, AP, Forum Communications, KSTP, Fox9 and MinnPost have stories.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he still hopes to finish processing the challenged ballots by Friday night but he isn't certain if that's when they'll declare a winner. The board may wait until the fate of wrongly rejected absentee ballots is settled. The Minnesota Supreme Court holds a hearing on the issue today. The Pi Press and AP have stories.
Franken's campaign is also suing Olmsted County over wrongly rejected absentee ballots.
MPR takes a look at hand counting vs. machine counting.
There's more coverage on GOP Sen. Norm Coleman's decision to hire a defense attorney. Politico says Coleman will use campaign funds for his legal defense.
DFL Rep. Lyle Koenen tells county officials that they'll feel the state's pain.
Beltrami County Commissioners, however, gave themselves a pay raise.
Minnesota's non-profits are also slashing budgets.
Some lawmakers are scrambling to save a plant in Spring Grove
DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina writes an op-ed supporting a Rudy Perpich like approach to the economic downturn.
3M asks a judge to toss a lawsuit related to chemicals in the water in the East Metro.
An environmental group appeals the Nashwauk decision.
Funding for St. Cloud's Human Rights Office is in jeopardy.
Missed this one yesterday. Delta Airlines is looking to restructure the agreement with the MAC.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann asks President Bush to not bail out the auto industry.
An investigation finds that the EPA dropped more than 500 clean water enforcement cases. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
MinnPost says state farmers are worried about an EPA proposal.
President-elect Obama is expected to name former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as Ag Chief.
Posted at 10:52 AM on December 17, 2008
by Tom Scheck
MPR's News Cut blog is live blogging the State Canvassing Board's second day of the examining challenged ballots. Since we'll be in the hearing room (with a bad internet connection) it will be difficult to provide updates on Polinaut. Check out News Cut for the latest updates. I'll try to update the latest developments from the Minnesota Supreme Court when they become available.
Posted at 1:51 PM on December 17, 2008
by Tom Scheck
The conservative Evans Novak Political Report is weighing in on Minnesota's Senate race (as is everyone else). The interesting part is that ENPR is projecting a Franken win. (Note: As I've noted with the analysis by 538.com, this analysis and $3.50 will get you a latte) Read it here:
Minnesota: While Minnesota officials proceed on one of the three unsettled issues in the photo-finish race between Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and comedian Al Franken (D), other issues remain up in the air.
The Minnesota canvassing board has begun the process of counting approximately 1,500 disputed ballots. These are the ballots which one of the campaigns disagreed with the interpretation by recount officials. Most challenged ballots are the ones which recounters interpreted as going to either Franken or Coleman, and the other candidate objected that the voter's intention was unclear or the vote was illegitimate.
For this reason, it is to Franken's advantage that Coleman has many more challenges outstanding than does Franken. These challenged ballots probably are mostly ballots that a recount official judged as going to Franken, but because of Coleman's challenge, these votes haven't figured into the less than 200-vote lead Coleman held at the end of the recount.
The other outstanding issues are the 133 "missing" votes, which Franken says were lost after Election Day while Coleman claims that if they don't exist now, they can't be counted. These missing or imaginary ballots broke in Franken's favor.
Finally there are the "improperly rejected" absentee ballots-absentee ballots rejected originally by local election officials, who then second-guessed their decision during the recount. Courts are currently deciding the fate of these absentees.
At the moment, a Franken win looks slightly more likely than a Coleman win.
Posted at 2:05 PM on December 17, 2008
by Tom Scheck
If you want to know the latest numbers in Minnesota's Senate race. Check out the figures on MPR's home page. The numbers will be updated regularly.
Posted at 2:40 PM on December 17, 2008
by Tim Pugmire
Governor Tim Pawlenty and legislative leaders are scheduled to meet this afternoon in his office to discuss the state's short-term budget deficit.
The Republican governor is poised to begin using his emergency authority to solve the $426 million shortfall. The budget reserve will provide $155 million, leaving a hole of $271 million that needs to be filled with unspent, available funds. House Democrats formally weighed in today with a list of budgetary principles they want Pawlenty to consider as he begins the unallotment. In a letter to the governor, DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher wrote it is important not to jeopardize public safety by unalloting aid payments to local units of government. She also encouraged the governor to keep resources flowing to Minnesota classrooms and avoid any cuts that would result in layoffs.
Senate DFL leaders last week recommended an approach to spread the pain proportionately. They favor across the board spending cuts of 1.6 percent.
Posted at 2:57 PM on December 17, 2008
by Tom Scheck
The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments this afternoon on a motion by GOP Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign regarding improperly rejected absentee ballots. Coleman's team doesn't want the ballots allowed into the Senate recount because they argue local elections officials are applying different standards when they rejected the ballots. Franken's team argues that Coleman wants to suppress legitimate votes.
No word on when the court will rule.
Posted at 5:36 PM on December 17, 2008
by Tom Scheck
From MPR's Tim Pugmire:
Governor Tim Pawlenty will announce on Friday his plan for solving a $426 million deficit in the current state budget.
The Republican governor will use his emergency authority to drain the budget reserve and make cuts in unspent, available state funds. Pawlenty met today with House and Senate leaders to get their advice on which spending areas to cut. Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung says the governor has placed a priority on K-12 education, military and veterans affairs and public safety. But he says cities and counties will take a hit on state aid.
"If a city is not able to handle what are likely to be modest cuts without impacting police and firefighters, they're making bad decisions and they're picking the wrong priorities. State government has had to prioritize and decide what's most important, what do we need to do. And cities will have to do some of the same thing," McClung said.
House Democrats also want to spare key budget areas, but their list of priorities includes Local Government Aid. DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher says she's concerned that Local Government Aid will still end up getting cut.
"The concern is a public safety concern. That's the ultimate concern with local governments is that they're the major provider of public safety services for the people of Minnesota. And that's always our number one concern here is keeping people and their streets safe," Kelliher said.
Senate Democrats have urged the governor to cut spending across the board by 1.6 percent.
UPDATE: Here's a link to the House DFL letter outlining what should be protected, etc.