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Minnesota high court declares Franken winner of US Senate race

[JURIST] The Minnesota Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday declared [opinion, PDF] Democrat Al Franken the winner of the state's 2008 US Senate race over incumbent opponent Norm Coleman [campaign websites]. In an unanimous ruling, the court affirmed the April decision [order, PDF; JURIST report] by the Minnesota State Court for the Second District [official website], resolving the seven-month dispute. Both candidates had brought claims before the court over absentee ballots in their favor that they said were legally cast but wrongfully rejected. The lower court held that an April 7 order giving Franken 1,212,629 votes and Coleman 1,212,317 votes entitled Franken to be certified as the winner, and dismissed claims by Coleman that the count either included votes which had been counted twice, or should have included votes cast in his favor which still would not have given him more votes than Franken. In affirming that decision, the Supreme Court wrote, "we conclude that appellants have not shown that the trial court's findings of fact are clearly erroneous or that the court committed an error of law or abused its discretion."

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty [official website] said Sunday that he would certify Franken as senator [Politico report] if the court ruled in his favor. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) [official website] currently serves as the sole senator of Minnesota. Absent a further challenge by Coleman to the US Supreme Court [official website], Franken would become the 60th Democratic vote in the senate, making Democrats filibuster-proof.

4:20 PM ET: Coleman has conceded.

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