Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Official - the MN Recount is Going to Court

After nearly 2 and 1/2 months, the Battle for Congress has come down to just two races - the Perriello-Goode House race in Virginia's 5th Congressional District (which will undergo a recount as of Tuesday) and the Franken-Coleman Senate race in Minnesota.

With a tight recount in the Minnesota Race, the State Canvassing Board met today to weigh in.

From the AP:

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democrat Al Franken won a pair of victories Friday before the state board overseeing the Senate recount, including a decision that as many as 1,500 incorrectly rejected absentee ballots should be included.

The board also opted to recommend use of election night results in a Franken-leaning Minneapolis precinct where 133 ballots went missing, a decision that could have cost him 46 votes if it had gone the other way.


Coleman's campaign lawyers said they would go to court over the absentee ballot ruling.

With all precincts recounted, Coleman has a 192-vote edge over Franken — down slightly from his 215-vote lead entering the recount.

But there's a long way to go. That margin doesn't include the absentees. Nor does it include any of the 6,655 ballot challenges the two campaigns filed during the recount. Both sides have withdrawn hundreds, but the state Canvassing Board will tackle some 4,200 starting Tuesday.

The board's decision on improperly rejected absentees doesn't guarantee they will be opened and counted because it doesn't have the power to order counties to do so. Most counties have gone forward with a voluntary sorting, though others have balked.


Coleman's campaign planned to file a petition with the state Supreme Court as soon as Friday to seek uniform rules for dealing with the absentee ballots, arguing that leaving the task to counties would create inconsistencies.

Coleman lawyer Tony Trimble said the campaign is asking counties to hold off on any action involving the ballots until the court weighs in.

At least 638 absentee ballots are known to have been rejected for something other than the four legal reasons for disqualification. That's based on an assessment of about half of Minnesota's counties by the secretary of state's office. State officials estimate the total could top 1,500.

Stay tuned to WAYLA for further updates

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