April 9, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
Al Franken (pictured) the apparent winner by about 300 votes.
Only a few hundred ballots separated Minnesota's U.S. Senate race between Senator Norm Coleman the incumbent, and challenger Al Franken. After a ballot recount and following a laborious process of contesting rejected absentee ballots, it appears that Franken has won by around 300 votes. However, inconsistencies in how absentee ballots were dealt with may become the subject of a legal challenge to the outcome, according to media reports.
In a release earlier this week, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said that 351 absentee ballots were counted that had been previously uncounted. A three-judge panel ordered the counting of the ballots after hearing seven weeks of testimony and considering thousands of exhibits. Of the 351 ballots opened, Coleman received 111 votes, Franken 198. An additional 42 ballots were cast for other candidates and voters who opted to not vote in the Senate race. There were no votes challenged by either campaign.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.