Contrasting Takes on the Minnesota Recount

When it comes to the Minnesota Senate recount, it seems the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are each entitled to their own set ...
by | January 14, 2009

When it comes to the Minnesota Senate recount, it seems the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are each entitled to their own set of facts. They've both opined on the recount, although I can scarcely tell that they're talking about the same election.

First, the Wall Street Journal editorial:

Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.

Mr. Franken started the recount 215 votes behind Senator Coleman, but he now claims a 225-vote lead and suddenly the man who was insisting on "counting every vote" wants to shut the process down. He's getting help from Mr. Ritchie and his four fellow Canvassing Board members, who have delivered inconsistent rulings and are ignoring glaring problems with the tallies.

Here's the Washington Post editorial, which I read as a response to the Journal:

MINNESOTA WILL have to wait for the courts to decide who won its fiercely contested U.S. Senate race. But the verdict is already in on how the election process has been managed. Overall, there's much to admire about Minnesota's system and how its officials have behaved. Nonetheless, the cliffhanger should spur leaders there and elsewhere to look for even better ways to decide disputed elections.

...

Still, those who were disappointed by the canvassing board's final count have assailed -- unfairly, to our mind -- the integrity of its work. The board was bipartisan, included top jurists from the state, conducted all deliberations in public, was careful not to overstep its authority and was unanimous in all major decisions. Indeed, 58 percent of Minnesotans questioned in a recent survey found the process fair, with 61 percent explicitly approving of the job done by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat who chaired the board.

As the polling data they cite indicates, most Minnesotans seem to agree with the Post for now.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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