Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota is continuing his re-election fight over Al Franken. On the day after the election, Sen. Colman led by 775 votes. After the Canvassing Board finished a recount in January, Mr. Franken led by 225 votes. A friend once told me that the longer Democrats have to count votes, the less likely the Republican will succeed. That’s clearly the case here. Sen. Colman and his legal team have been before a three judge panel to discuss the disparities that occurred during the recount. Last week Coleman’s legal team rested their case. Here’s what the Coleman team has proven:
1. The court ruled that certain ballots were “illegal votes” under Minnesota law which also meant that hundreds, if not thousands, are currently included in the Election Night and Canvassing Board totals. The court cannot meet its statutory mandate of certifying each candidate’s number of “legally cast votes” without applying its standard to all votes counted in the election.
2. Testimony before the court from numerous county election officials showed that they counted ballots on Election Day that are identical to ones the court ruled “illegal.”
3. Different counties applied different standards to identical ballots, thereby disenfranchising voters who lived in one county but enfranchising voters in other counties. It is a violation of the constitutional right of Equal Protection to count some votes but not others based solely on a voter’s residence.
4. Election officials did not code some duplicate ballots back to their originals, as required by law. This led to double counting of some ballots, resulting in more votes than voters in a number of precincts.
5. The final election count is permeated with “missing” and “found” ballots in numerous precincts, making it impossible to determine the number of “legally cast” votes each candidate received.
Sen. Colman a solid case in his fight to retain his U.S. Senate seat. Al Franken’s legal team now goes before the three judge panel. Some expect Franken’s team to take three weeks to make their case.
It is expected that whoever loses this case will appeal the decision, meaning this case will probably end up in the Supreme Court before a winner is determined.
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