Norm Coleman's election recount trial is heavily focused on the "count every properly cast vote" idea. But according to testimony during his trial today, his campaign is also to blame for some votes being thrown out. Franken lawyer Kevin Hamilton questioned Joe Mansky, a Ramsey County elections manager, about absentee votes and the candidate veto-power rule put in place during the recount.
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Under questioning today by Franken lawyer Kevin Hamilton, Mansky confirmed that Coleman representatives had blocked the counting of several absentee ballots that Ramsey County officials had found, on further review, to have been wrongly rejected in their initial processing.
Hamilton was trying to establish that Coleman reversed his thinking about counting improperly rejected absentee ballots only after Franken took the lead in the recount, at a point when widening the field of ballots became the key to Coleman prevailing in the race. Coleman led by 215 votes when the recount began on Nov. 19. When the state Canvassing Board certified the recount results on Jan. 5, Franken had his 225-vote lead, stemming in part from the inclusion of 933 absentee ballots that previously had been identified as improperly rejected.
During the recount, both campaigns had veto power as they reviewed absentee ballots that election officials determined were improperly rejected. While Franken is also guilty of using his veto power, he isn't the one running an election trial trying to prove the opposite. Tough line to sell for anyone trying to pull a different line depending on where they stand in the race.