January 28th, 2009
10:27 AM ET
7 months ago

Voters testify on day two of MN Senate trial

 Minnesota voters who say their absentee ballots were rejected for no good reason took the witness stand Tuesday in the second day of the trial requested by former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
Minnesota voters who say their absentee ballots were rejected for no good reason took the witness stand Tuesday in the second day of the trial requested by former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Minnesota voters who say their absentee ballots were rejected for no good reason took the witness stand Tuesday in the second day of the trial requested by former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, who once again was on hand for the proceedings.

Coleman is contesting Minnesota's Senate recount results, which put Democrat Al Franken ahead.

It was an abbreviated day of testimony - the three-judge panel spent all morning in a private meeting with each side's lawyers to iron out details for how the case would proceed. Still, Coleman attorneys called seven witnesses to testify, six of whom they say are voters whose ballots were rejected in error.

Their seventh and final witness of the day was Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann, played a key role during the recount process, particularly on the issue of rejected absentee ballots - the focal point of Team Coleman's arguments so far. They say approximately 4,500 ballots that weren't counted were valid, and should be back in play.

The six voters who took the stand range from a man who said, according to a letter from the state, that his ballot was rendered moot due to a mispelling in his name to yet another man whose ballot may have been rejected because his girlfriend signed his signature on his ballot application while he signed the actual ballot, meaning the two signatures did not match.

Gelbmann, who spent more time on the stand that any of the six voters who preceded him, said in his testimony that he trusted the decisions made by local election officials but admitted that human error was possible.

"They could have made mistakes," Gelbmann said, while making the point that in order to truly know what happened in each specific instance the local election workers should be consulted.

"Every one of these envelopes has a story behind it," he added.

Speaking to press after the day's hearings, neither campaign would say specifically what would be on tap for Wednesday, but Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg alluded to the possibility of more voters and local elections officials.


Filed under: Al Franken • Norm Coleman
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. KenM

    The hypocrisy of the Coleman camp is as thick as concrete. The Coleman and Franken camp agreed before the re-count on which types of additional ballots would be accepted and which would be rejected. The recount didn't go their way, so now Coleman is tyring to change the rules mid-stream - which is the very life-blood of the [R]-way.....change the rules and cherry-pick the "facts" until you can spin the story your way. Sound familiar? It should: that was G. Bush to the tee for the past 8 years. What a terrible example to our children.

    January 28, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. KenM

    And, again, why is Normie so anxious to get back to DC anyway? He'll need to travel to Dallas Texas to re-brown his nose from now on.

    January 28, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. NJHussein330

    Coleman doesn't look so good...

    January 28, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Meh

    Mari> I guarantee you that 3rd world countries have it MUCH worse off than we do. I'm sure you're not walking around w. a bloated belly. It's our duty to set the standard and help those less fortunate.

    January 28, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Kathy S. Cloughn

    Michael Landes: NOT TRUE!

    Coleman needs to hang it up and turn it parttime tempo job into a fulltime one! franken, get your plane ticket to DC now!

    January 28, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. John

    Michael,
    You are an idiot. Frankin did not request the recount. It is an automatic recount prescribed by MN law. Whenever the vote is closer than .1% , there is an automatic recount. In that recount, MN law demands that officials count EVERY vote.

    January 28, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Irony

    More votes than people? What kool-aid are you drinking? Let it play out, it's called democracy! It may not be efficient, or pretty, but it's the best thing going.

    January 28, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. bill

    Just another bunch of liberals throwing another election. Who in their right mind would want Franken in office? Of course we are talking about Minnesota who once had a pro wrestler as their leader.

    January 28, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. maryland

    ten million a day? CNN do a story of our aid in reference to our budget so that we can better understand what this is, please.

    January 28, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. SC

    Does bringing a handful of people to take a witness stand represent the entire state of MN?

    January 28, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Holly - Missouri

    What a bunch of losers. YOU LOST. GET OVER IT.

    January 28, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Veteran in Kansas

    Letter of the law, a mispelled name makes a rejected ballot. A girl friend signing a ballot application with the voter signing the ballot means signatures dont match its rejected. What is so hard to understand. Spelling are important, if it was spelled wrong the voter needed to take steps to correct it, fraud is fraud, signatures must match, names must match. It's time Coleman gives it up and stops wasting tax payers money.

    Unless Minnesota does things differently, during recounts represtatives of the canidates are right there during the recount and must agree on each and every ballot that is counted.

    I am sure that Franken will be at very least as good of Senator as Coleman ever thought he was.

    January 28, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. CMG

    Coleman, walk away. Can you spell "over?"

    January 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. cnnnewser

    He needs to step down.
    Isn't there an investigation going on about his conduct and possibly being a crook?

    January 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Canuck

    fight the power Norm. don't let the dems steal the seat. it only took them 3 counts in Washington state for gregoire to steal it here.

    January 28, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Brendan

    In local Star Tribune, an article was written about this. The article told of voter Coleman brought in who was blind and therefor could not sign his name properly. Unfortunately, this voter gave a blatent lie while on the witness stand. He was 75 years old and said he voted for Eishenhower in '52 for his first presidential election. Unfortunately, that would put the witness at 19 years old during that election, 2 years under the legal voting age of 21. The voting age was not lowered to 18 until Vietnam. Either this voter is lying, or he voted illegally.

    Please Norm, if you're going to have witnesses, at least get ones that will tell the truth while they're on the stand...

    January 28, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. David

    Irony January 28th, 2009 2:30 pm ET

    More votes than people? What kool-aid are you drinking? Let it play out, it's called democracy! It may not be efficient, or pretty, but it's the best thing going.
    ----------------–
    No kool aid. This fact is on CNN today. wake up.

    January 28, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Signing another person's name on anything relating to a voters' ballot here in Oregon is a FELONY.

    To go into a court and say your girlfriend did this would put both of them in jail here.

    January 28, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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