GOP Sen. Norm Coleman’s legal team has dropped its challenge to 171 ballots that were discovered inside a voting machine in the St. Paul neighborhood of Maplewood about a month after Election Day.
Because his rival enjoyed a net gain of about 25 ballots from the votes found, dropping the challenge makes it more difficult to make up the 225 vote lead held by Democratic challenger Al Franken. The Maplewood votes were counted during recount process, so the tally will not change.
Initially, the Coleman legal team had argued that those ballots should not have been added to Franken’s total. But the testimony of Minnesota election official Jim Gelbmann yesterday was apparently sufficient to convince Coleman’s attorneys that a sufficient chain of custody had been maintained to insure the ballots’ integrity.
“We withdraw our objection to those Maplewood votes,” Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg announced Thursday.
According to the Minnesota Pioneer Press, under cross examination from Franken’s attorneys on Wednesday Gelbmann testified that ballots had also been discovered in Scott and Baker counties, which tend to vote Republican.
The Coleman campaign had not objected to the counting of those ballots.
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