Sen. Norm Coleman’s legal team is charging that the Minnesota senate race election will be “fatally flawed” if the three-judge panel reviewing it doesn’t toss out 300 ballots thought to favor Democratic challenger Al Franken.
The 300 ballots in question come from Minnesota’s heavily Democratic St. Louis County. Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg said the ballots must be rejected by the court because they have the same deficiencies as votes Coleman wanted counted that were disallowed.
Last month the three-judge panel hearing the election contest established standards for determining which of approximately 11,000 absentee ballots should be tabulated and added back into the vote totals.
Ginsberg says he’s just asking that the same standards be applied to all votes.
“If the three-judge panel doesn’t fix this,” Ginsberg said according to TheHill.com, “the election is fatally flawed.
Identifying the 300 votes, he says, marks “the first time we’ve directly shown evidence of illegal votes being included in the recount.”
Ginsberg also said he expects the court to count another 933 ballots that the two campaigns agreed should be included in the recount.
There has been wide speculation that the Coleman legal team is positioning itself to make an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, if the panel’s ultimate ruling doesn’t favor the Republican incumbent. Coleman himself was coy on that topic earlier this week.
“I’m not ruling it in or ruling it out,” Coleman told Politico.com. “Let’s see what the court does and hopefully they’ll do the right thing.”
On Tuesday, the panel accepted legal petitions directly from 12 Franken voters asking that their ballots be counted. The voters were represented by attorney Charles Nauen, who worked on Franken’s campaign during the election.
Nauen represented another 24 voters who previously petitioned the panel to accept their votes for Franken. The panel had accepted those votes as well.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports the new ballots bring Franken’s lead to 261 votes. That’s up from the 225-vote lead Franken enjoyed after the Canvassing Board concluded its statewide recount in early January.
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