|02-03-2009, 08:59 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jan 2006
Recount trial: Judges rule thousands of ballots can be considered
Recount trial: Judges rule thousands of ballots can be considered
The court order applies to about 4,800 rejected absentee ballots and indicates that any that complied with state law should be counted.
By KEVIN DUCHSCHERE, Star Tribune
Last update: February 3, 2009 - 9:38 PM
grandmaj and others who want a re-vote
Please talk to your legislators and quit yapping about how much you want a re-vote. Until the law is changed, you might as well want a … read more pony too.
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Nearly 4,800 rejected absentee ballots may be reconsidered in the U.S. Senate recount trial, after the presiding three-judge panel issued a ruling today defining boundaries for the proceeding.
The court granted Democrat Al Franken’s request to limit the universe of ballots that Republican Norm Coleman can seek to have counted, rejecting Coleman’s attempt to have about 11,000 rejected absentee ballots reconsidered. But Franken had asked the judges to limit the review to only the 650 ballots cited by Coleman when he filed his lawsuit last month challenging the recount.
With Franken holding a 225-vote lead after the recount results were certified, the 4,800 ballots that may be reconsidered would appear to be enough to put the ultimate outcome in doubt.
The court order indicates that any of the ballots that complied with state law should be counted, along with those where errors occurred through no fault of the voter.
But the order limits Coleman to presenting evidence on those ballots specifically disclosed to the Franken legal team by Jan. 22.
Coleman lawyer Fritz Knaak said he believes that the number is about 4,800, and Franken spokeswoman Jess McIntosh said that was also her understanding.
The argument that many more rejected absentee ballots should be reconsidered has been central to Coleman’s effort to overtake Franken’s lead since the state Canvassing Board certified results of the recount Jan. 5.
After today's ruling by the panel, Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg said, “We’re thrilled.”
On the Franken side, head recount attorney Marc Elias said, “I don’t view it as a loss for either side or a win for either side.”
Earlier today, both sides agreed that more than 900 other absentee ballots that were initially rejected and then accepted by both campaigns during the recount won’t be contested in the trial.
In that instance, the judges said, lawyers for Coleman and Franken stipulated that the 933 ballots “were properly and lawfully opened and counted” and the results properly included in the recount results certified by the Canvassing Board.
The trial resumed today in St. Paul, as Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg questioned Washington County official Kevin Corbid about procedures for training election judges and handling ballots.
Friedberg asked Corbid about how they handled absentee ballots where voters may have sealed their registration card inside the “secrecy envelope” intended to include only their ballot. Corbid said that such votes are usually rejected, unless it’s obvious in some way that the envelope — which is supposed to be opened only by vote tabulators — contains the necessary card.
Corbid said that they would feel the envelope and hold it up to the light to determine whether it should be opened to get the registration card.
“If we couldn’t tell it was in there, we decided not to include it,” he said.
Friedberg asked Corbid if he might have used “a senstive scale” to weigh the envelope and determine whether it contained two pieces of paper rather than one. Corbid responded that “that wasn’t part of our directive.”
Corbid said that such ballots made up only “a fairly small number” of the roughly 400 rejected absentee ballots that county officials looked at after the Supreme Court ordered a statewide review.
In the end, Washington County officials decided that 34 of those ballots had been improperly rejected and should be counted.
The trial is continuing this afternoon, as Coleman lawyers question individual voters whose ballots were rejected without their knowledge.
Staff writer Pat Doyle contributed to this report.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-292-0164
|03-02-2009, 02:57 PM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Topeka, KS
Here's an update on this crazy Minnesota senate race...
Will the Minnesota Senate race end up in the U.S. Supreme Court? Here's an article saying it might. Gov. Tim Pawlenty says Sen. Norm Coleman has "a plausible chance, a decent chance" to prevail. He says a second election is "highly unlikely" under Minnesota law. But couldn't that law be changed?
My understanding is that the legal case currently before a three-judge panel is hopelessly compromised. Previous rulings in different counties have been inconsistent, with ballots with one kind of alleged defect counted in some counties and ballots with the same kind of alleged defect not counted in others. Most of the inconsistent rulings have tended to favor Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Al Franken, which is why he has overcome the lead Coleman had when the votes were being tabulated in November. Some allegedly defective ballots have been counted and then commingled with others, so that the decision to count them cannot as a practical matter be reversed. This would seem to me to raise equal-treatment problems as described in Bush v. Gore , even if the Supreme Court tries to say that Bush v. Gore was a one-of-a-kind case and not really precedent.
If the Minnesota courts ultimately issue a certificate of election declaring Franken the winner, then I think Majority Leader Harry Reid will move to seat him; if they issue a certificate declaring Coleman the winner, then I think Reid will get the Senate to refuse to seat him. In that case, another election will be necessary, as occurred in New Hampshire in 1975. In that contest, the Democrat, John Durkin, won the special by a significant margin, and held the seat until he was defeated for re-election by Warren Rudman in 1980.
Who would win a special election in Minnesota? It's not clear. On the one hand, in the special elections held since last November—the Georgia Senate race and Louisiana House runoffs in December, the Virginia House of Delegates races in January, the Fairfax County (Virginia) Board of Supervisors special election in February—there has been a much bigger drop-off in Democratic turnout, as compared with Nov. 4, 2008, than in Republican turnout. That would suggest Coleman would win in Minnesota. But the November 2008 Senate race in Minnesota wasn't a two-man contest. Coleman and Franken each got 42 percent of the vote, while Dean Barkley—the independent party candidate who served in the Senate by appointment of Gov. Jesse Ventura to fill the unexpired term of Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash in October 2002—got 15 percent of the vote. The Barkley voters tended to vote for Barack Obama for president; in a two-way race (assuming Barkley doesn't run in the special), they might be supposed to be more likely to vote for the DFL Franken than the Republican Coleman.
|03-02-2009, 04:45 PM||#3|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Just seat Franken and be done with it. If the people of Minnesota decide
they made a mistake they can vote for someone else in six years.
All that is going on right now is the Republicans are trying to keep
the Democrats from having 59 votes in the Senate so they can
continue to delay and obfuscate legislation that Obama wants passed.