Saturday, December 6, 2008

Recounts = Sunlight

If you've been holed up in your mother's basement, wearing pajamas and watching Who's the Boss reruns, you may not have known that there is still a Senate race that's undecided in this country. The recount process between Minnesota's Republican Senator Norm "Big Asshole" Coleman and former comedian, writer, radio host and political activist Al Franken, is STILL not over.
Result Is Still Uncertain After Minnesota Recount

The New York Times.

"The long, grueling hand recount of nearly all 2.9 million ballots cast in last month’s United States Senate election in Minnesota was completed Friday, but whom the state will send to Washington was still uncertain. Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican, is ahead of his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, by a narrow margin.

Officials continued to search for 133 ballots missing from a Minneapolis precinct. With all except those ballots tallied from the state’s 87 counties, Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican, was leading Al Franken, the former comedian and a Democrat, by 687 votes, the secretary of state’s office said Friday afternoon.

The race could easily shift later this month, though, once a state canvassing board begins examining an estimated 5,300 ballots still in question, ballots for which either the Coleman or the Franken campaign has challenged the voter’s true intent."
This seemingly endless process has been fascinating for us political junkies to watch. Speaking as a progressive Democrat type, I recall quite clearly that Coleman was one of Bush's Senatorial Assholes par excellence during his first term in office. I distinctly remember Sen. Big Asshole Coleman coming to bat on Meet the Press, Wolf Blitzer, etc., with his slick smarmy grin and his obviously fake aw jeepers-y attitude, pushing the Victory in Iraq like it came straight out of the book of Mark. So while it's awesome that Franken is still in the running, it's heartbreaking to think he might lose out in the end. There's genuine drama here.

I don't know who will win, though of course I'm pulling for Franken, as any marginally sane person would be. But even with all the public face time Sen. Enormously Big Asshole Coleman (R-MN) has received, I'll still suggest that one winner, for sure, is the American people, and the people of Minnesota. I'll posit here that close votes with long, extended recounts are actually a really good thing. This is a fantabulous opportunity for Americans of all political stripes to take a good long look at our electoral process, and how it plays out.

To paraphrase the cliche, elections are extremely consequential. The difference between a Senate vote coming from Sen. Seriously . . . Huge Asshole and a stalwart progressive like Al Franken, is enormous, and meaningful, and those votes will impact public policy in a huge way. But only rarely do citizens get to really take a good long look at the electoral process in depth. A recount gives us in-depth background about a state's political makeup, with the time necessary to process that much information. It shows us how our votes are counted, what happens when there are disputes, and who gets to make the calls on these enormous decisions.

Recounts = sunlight. And it's best to bask in it.

This is the system working.


Gandhiwars said...

I voted in the MN election.
and my god, do I hope Franken wins.
Norm Coleman is a twit.

Downtown Dave said...

Yes, Gandhiwars, he is indeed a twit.

But let's not forget that Coleman is also a huge, enormous asshole.