By Lis WiehlFOX News Legal Analyst/Former Federal Prosecutor

On Monday, a winner finally emerged in the epic Senate race between former "Saturday Night Live" star Democrat Al Franken, and incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. Or, should I say--an "apparent" winner. After seven tortuous weeks of ballot contests and extensive litigation, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified election results declaring Franken the winner.

Supreme Court

Shouldn't Coleman just concede already? I mean...it has been two months of careful and painstaking hand-inspection of several million ballots where Franken emerged as the winner, notwithstanding a narrow margin of victory. This recount process was subsequently endorsed by Minnesota's highest court. And finally, prolonged litigation in an already hard-fought election not only undermines the integrity and validity of Minnesota's electoral system but adds to the controversy surrounding the U.S. Senate as Congress gets back to work.

While all of these factors are significant, their prevalence does not displace the importance of ensuring a fair election in which every eligible voter can cast a ballot and all ballots are counted. Coleman's campaign claims that some ballots were mishandled and others wrongly excluded from the recount, which gave Franken an edge in the process. The appearance of impropriety and the Board's refusal to consider several hundred additional votes certainly warrants another look, especially given the narrow lead held by Franken. Let's make sure we get this right, and that every vote was counted and counted accurately.

Sources for this post:

The New York Times -- The Caucus Blog

The Financial Times

The Politico

The Star-Tribune(Minnesota)