Update on Coleman/Franken Race

Posted: Dec 16, 2008 4:49 PM
There are some important developments happening in the ongoing recount between GOP incumbent Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota you should know about.

1) Members of the Minnesota State Canvassing Board met today to begin examining the challenged ballots submitted by the Coleman and Franken campaigns. The Coleman campaign submitted around 1,100 for review, the Franken campaign turned in about 780.

The board began reviewing the ballots, hours behind schedule, this afternoon. The board's work will not be completed until the 19th.

2) Tomorrow the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear complaints from the Coleman campaign that there is no consistent standard being used to judge the validity of rejected "fifth pile" absentee ballots.  Officials at every counting place, of which there is 130, were making up their own criteria as went along.

The Coleman campaign would like to see the state law applied to what is legally considered a rejected absentee ballot after Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie abruptly expanded the definition to what these criterion could be.

3) Further confusing things is the fact some absentee ballots arrived damaged, as in physically crumpled. Then an election official was obligated, in accordance to law, tocreate a duplicate ballot, with "duplicate" clearly marked on it. In a number of precincts someone neglected to write "duplicate" and those ballots were counted with the original vote. 

The Franken campaign does not want to sort these out and the Coleman campaign is asking the canvassing board to make this distinction. The campaigns are still debating how this should be handled.