File under: “Coleman, own petard, hoisted with”

Al Franken should tell Norm Coleman that the alternative to counting all the improperly counted absentees is counting none of them.

The latest from the Coleman-Franken recount (from the Minnesota Star-Tribune):

The campaigns of Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken disagree over the number of absentee ballots that were improperly rejected and should now be counted. While Franken wants to count 1,346 ballots that county officials say were mistakenly rejected, Coleman for now is agreeing to count only 136 of them.

Since the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling held that both campaigns had to agree on which absentee ballots are to be counted, isn’t Franken’s obvious response that he won’t agree to count any absentee ballots unless Coleman agrees to count all the improperly rejected ones? If Coleman refuses, Franken retains his lead. Game over.

Franken could of course achieve the same result by not agreeing to count any absentee ballots no matter what Coleman says. But having argued so strenuously for counting all improperly rejected ballots, he won’t want to do that. Thanks to Coleman, he doesn’t have to.

Author: Robert Frank

Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and the co-director of the Paduano Seminar in business ethics at NYU’s Stern School of Business. His “Economic View” column appears monthly in The New York Times. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. He received his B.S. in mathematics from Georgia Tech, then taught math and science for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Nepal. He holds an M.A. in statistics and a Ph.D. in economics, both from the University of California at Berkeley. His papers have appeared in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, and other leading professional journals. His books, which include Choosing the Right Pond, Passions Within Reason, Microeconomics and Behavior, Principles of Economics (with Ben Bernanke), Luxury Fever, What Price the Moral High Ground?, Falling Behind, The Economic Naturalist, and The Darwin Economy, have been translated into 22 languages. The Winner-Take-All Society, co-authored with Philip Cook, received a Critic's Choice Award, was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, and was included in Business Week's list of the ten best books of 1995. He is a co-recipient of the 2004 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He was awarded the Johnson School’s Stephen Russell Distinguished teaching award in 2004, 2010, and 2012, and its Apple Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005.