2/04/2009

Trial judges give big win for Norm Coleman in MN Recount

This is a big win for Coleman, but it is hard to see how the court could have gone any other way given Bush v. Gore's decision that the same rules have to be applied across a state. Suppose that 4,000 of these absentee ballots are allowed and that the third party candidate gets 1,000 of those votes, Coleman only needs to get 54 percent of the remaining 3,000 ballots to fall his way for him to make up the 225 vote lead that Franken has. Given that these ballots are from Republican counties, that wouldn't seem to be too hard.

So much for Democrats wanting every vote to be counted. Here they actually fought in court to uphold differing rules on whether to count absentee ballots across the state. I would have been happy to see these ballots not be counted, but then the ones that helped Franken so much shouldn't have been counted either.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

In a ruling that keeps alive Republican Norm Coleman's chances of overturning Minnesota's U.S. Senate recount, a three-judge panel on Tuesday allowed him to bring evidence to trial that as many as 4,800 absentee ballots were wrongly rejected and should now be counted.

The decision expands the evidence that can be considered in the recount trial, giving Coleman the opportunity to put more ballots into play in his effort to erase a 225-vote lead for DFLer Al Franken. The Franken campaign had tried to limit Coleman to bringing evidence on only 650 absentee ballots that he cited specifically when he filed his lawsuit challenging the recount results.

In the ruling, the judges said they will focus on rejected absentee ballots cast by voters who complied with the requirements of Minnesota election law or failed to comply because of mistakes by local elections officials.

"We're very, very pleased with the ruling," said Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg, who predicted that "the vast majority" of the 4,797 ballots would be accepted and counted.

Franken chief recount lawyer Marc Elias said the ruling was "neither a loss nor a win" for his candidate. While it allows Coleman to bring evidence on more ballots than Franken preferred, it was far fewer than the 11,000 rejected ballots that Coleman's camp said in recent weeks that it wanted reconsidered. . . .

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