Al Franken may have bumped up his lead over former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman to 250 from 225 votes after the judges in the Minnesota Senate election contest ordered that 25 absentee ballots – most likely going Franken’s way – be counted, according to a report in the Minnesota Independent.
If Franken gets credited with the votes, it represents a backfire of sorts for the Coleman tactics.
Recently, the presiding panel of judges ruled that Coleman could argue for the admission of about 4,800 absentee ballots that were allegedly rejected improperly. The absentees are Coleman’s main hope for overcoming Franken’s 225-vote lead.
According to the Bemidji Pioneer, the absentee voters now getting their votes counted were among 61 who filed papers maintaining that their absentee ballots were incorrectly rejected in the Nov. 4 election and the Senate recount.
“The court determines that the petitioners ... have provided un-rebutted evidence that their absentee ballots were legally cast and should be counted,” the latest ruling said.
The court order requires election officials to send 24 ballots to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie - as well as a 25th as-yet-unopened ballot that’s believed to contain the requisite voter registration application within the ballot’s sealed envelope.
The remaining voters that were part of the filing of 61 did not provide sufficient evidence to order that their votes be counted, the court said. The judges did not rule out, however, counting them later, if further evidence is presented that they were wrongly rejected.
The decision came on the trial’s twelfth day.
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