MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – Minnesota's Supreme Court Thursday barred officials from including rejected absentee ballots in the recount of the state's hotly contested U.S. Senate race unless both of the candidates and elections officials agree the ballot was improperly rejected.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and former Air America talk show host Al Franken are caught up in a fiercely fought battle over the recount of ballots from the November 4 election.
Coleman had filed suit to stop the recount of thousands of rejected absentee ballots until a "uniform" process for reviewing the ballots can be devised.
Instead of halting the recount, the court ruled that local elections officials "lack the statutory authority to count" rejected ballots on their own but can do so if they and the candidates all agree that a ballot was rejected in error.
Updated 7:38 p.m.