Norm Coleman's election contest finally made some news today. The campaigns of Coleman and Al Franken showed no objection to the opening and counting of 933 previously rejected absentee ballots tallied during the recount, according to the Pioneer Press
In other Franken/Coleman drama, the Dems really want Franken to help with the stimulus package, people suspect Coleman wants a do-over election, and weird recount numbers were explained.
Check it all out below.
More from the PiPress on the 933 ballots:
When Coleman first filed his lawsuit, which seeks to overturn Franken's post-recount 225-vote lead, he had highlighted possible issues with the counting of the 933 ballots. Now, in a stipulation and order issued today, both campaigns have agreed to withdraw objections to those ballots.
The ballots' votes were folded into the recount after a complicated process that allowed counties to identify mistakenly rejected absentee ballots and both campaigns to veto each ballot, based on its envelope and other information, before it was opened. Each campaign vetoed about 200 ballots through that process.
Although the campaigns agreed not to fuss anymore with the minor disputes over those 933 ballots, many more absentee ballots are at issue in the election trial.
Coleman wants the court to review about 11,000 rejected absentee ballots and consider opening and counting thousands of them. Franken wants to limit the number of absentee ballots that should now be opened.
Congressional Democrats are starting to get fidgety as they work out kinks (or major disasters) in the stimulus package and try to figure out how to get that sucker passed. If only they had Franken on their side. Some are wishing he was seated to ease their concerns about the upcoming vote, the Star Tribune says
Talking Points Memo
is keeping the suspicion alive that Coleman is aiming for a recount do-over to solve this once and for all.
Here is what they pulled from testimony yesterday:
The Coleman team appears to be laying out a continued strategy of casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Minnesota election result by pointing to a fundamental underlying idea of this dispute: The margin of error is simply too big in a race this close.
"Is there some point at which the margin of error is just too wide compared to the difference in votes to determine who truly won?" Coleman lawyer John Rock asked Ramsey County (St. Paul) elections director Joe Mansky.
Mansky replied that there is absolutely such a point, with accuracy topping out at over 99.99%.
"All of which is pretty good," Mansky said. "But remember that one in every thousand is not an issue when somebody wins by 200,000 votes. When they win by 200 votes, the margin of error in our computation is likely large enough to have an impact on our result, and I think that's the situation that we find ourselves in here."
During yesterday's trial, Ramsey County election director Joe Mansky continued his testimony, discussing the possibility of double counting. He went over many instances that could explain the "double counting" Coleman is concerned about.
From the PiPress
The Coleman team believes that if there are more recounted votes than voters recorded and more originals than corresponding duplicates, then the votes on the unmarked original ballots should be tossed out of the count.
But today, Mansky agreed with Hamilton that there were other possibilities: judges could have failed to make duplicates or not made as many duplicates as there were damaged original ballots; voters could have failed to properly sign their precinct roster but cast ballots; or absentee ballots could have been sent to the wrong precinct on Election Day, and therefore left uncounted, but sent to the right precinct for the recount, and therefore be counted.