Man on the Moon

Published: June 3, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
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“I’ll take ‘Political Conundrums’ for $600, Alex?

“Minnesota’s second Senator takes his seat in the Senate.”


After months of recounts and appeals the contest between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken could be resolved within weeks… maybe.

“Mr. Coleman,” the New York Times reports, “is challenging the rulings of a state recount board and a lower court, which declared Mr. Franken the winner of the race by hundreds of votes.

“Associate Justice Christopher J. Dietzen said Mr. Coleman’s argument that thousands of absentee ballots had been wrongfully excluded had ‘no concrete evidence to back it up.’ He said, ‘In my experience, I’ve never seen an offer of proof like this.’

“If the justices rule in favor of Mr. Franken… they could order the governor to issue a certificate of election allowing Mr. Franken to be seated in the Senate. If they agree with Mr. Coleman’s arguments, the case would bounce back to the lower court for a new vote count using more relaxed standards of inclusion than some counties in the state used on Election Day.”

Didn’t we do this already in 2000? Bush, Gore? And the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and made the final decision and stopped the recount in Palm Beach County, Florida and declared Bush the winner?

My question has always been the same:  Why?

Why do we continue to repeat the mistakes of the past?  Why do we persist with a process that is clearly flawed?  Why must we endure months of delays from an endless parade of legal tactics for largely political reasons?

Haven’t we learned anything?

Why can’t we have one national election standard where we all vote utilzing one process with one way to count (and, if necessary, recount) the votes, paid for by federal government?  Wouldn’t that be the fairest, most effective way to do this?

“If we can put a man on the Moon,” the saying goes, “why can’t we… conduct a competent and comprehensive national election?”

We put a man on the Moon on July 20, 1969! 

An estimated 500 million people watched on TV.  It’s fortyyears later and we still can’t get it right?

Back in the Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Dietzen told Coleman’s attorney Joe Friedberg that he saw “no evidence of fraud or misconduct.”

“It seems like you’re offering little more than an opening statement in this case,” Dietzen said. “Coleman’s theory of the case, but no concrete evidence to back it up.”

Finally, “If Coleman loses,” the Washington Post writes, “he could file a new case in federal court or petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court, which isn’t certain to take the case. If Franken doesn’t like the result, he could ask the Senate itself to weigh in.”

For now, Minnesotans will have to wait… again.  The court could take several more weeks to make its decision.

When is the next Moon landing scheduled?


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