Let Senate race fade into history

Published 8:27 am Friday, July 16, 2010

Long after most Minnesotans thought the 2008 Senate contest between Sen. Al Franken and Norm Coleman was over, the state’s ugliest and longest-running political battle has again reared its head. Republicans are calling for all 87 Minnesota county attorneys to investigate allegations of voter fraud that they hope will result in the election being overturned.

The Franken vs. Coleman contest stretched on for years based on claims of miscounted ballots and, after all the recounting was done, proved to be a stunningly close race — Franken won by only 312 votes.

Now a group called Minnesota Majority claims to have evidence that more than 1,000 felons voted illegally in the contest, and the governor and other key Republicans have seized on the information to call for yet another look at the election’s results. While we’re in favor of prosecuting voter fraud (or any crime, for that matter), there are a couple of reasons why it may not make sense to invest a lot of resources on the issue. On the practical side, other voter fraud allegations from Minnesota Majority have not proven to be particularly accurate. Whether it’s worth a lot of time for already-overworked county officials to look into these claims is debatable. And from a political standpoint, it’s time to simply let 2008 slip into the past. It certainly is galling for Republicans to have lost the heated race, but at this point it would be better to focus on the future than on the past.

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Any close contest, whether political or otherwise, generates a lot of hard feelings. But at some point, it’s time to let the state move forward.

This would be that time.