February 3rd, 2009
06:50 PM ET
6 years ago

MN court issues ruling on rejected absentee ballots

A Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that roughly 4800 absentee ballots would be considered in the post-election contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.
A Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that roughly 4800 absentee ballots would be considered in the post-election contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.

(CNN) – A three-judge Minnesota court ruled Tuesday that approximately 4,800 out of a total of nearly 12,000 rejected absentee ballots would be considered in Republican Norm Coleman's effort to retain his Senate seat.

"This is a victory for thousands of Minnesotans whose rejected absentee ballots will now be properly reviewed in this election," Ben Ginsberg, a legal spokesman for the Coleman campaign said in a statement released Tuesday. "We've continually called for every valid vote to be counted, and counted only once. This is a strong step in the right direction, and we applaud the decision of the court today."

The Franken campaign said the ruling brought some certainty to the litigation to determine who will be declared the winner in the razor-thin race.

The "universe [of Coleman's case] has now come to a defined place," Franken attorney Marc Elias said in a statement Tuesday. "We now know the scope of ballots they will be permitted to argue from."

On Election Night, Coleman held a slim lead of a few hundred votes over Democrat Al Franken in a race where 3 million votes were cast. But after the recount that followed, the state canvassing board declared Franken the winner by 225 votes.

The Coleman team argues that a number of absentee ballots had been incorrectly counted or rejected by the canvassing board, and filed a post election contest before the three-judge court. Coleman is also arguing that some votes were counted twice.

The court ruled today on a Franken motion to limit the number of rejected absentee ballots to fewer than 700, rather than the roughly 12,000 requested by the Coleman camp.

The Franken campaign is set to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court on February 5 to order Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to issue a temporary election certificate so Franken can be seated in the Senate. Both men have refused, saying they will wait until the matter is resolved definitively by the courts.


Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota Senate race • Norm Coleman
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. JOE KILOZ

    OBAMA'S,,,,,,,,,HAND,,,,,,,,,,,,,AND,,,,,,,PEOPLE,,,,,,,,,,,,,BEHIND,,,,,,,,,,,,,THE,,,,,

    SCENES,,,,,,,,,,,,,,DIDN'T,,,,,,,,,,,WORK,,,,,,,,,,HERE,,,,,,,,,EITHER

    February 3, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Evan

    Maybe if Franken gets elected he can pay his employee's health care payments and his taxes. Remember the best way to get a Democrat to pay their taxes is to put them in a public office. If all the Democrats paid their fair taxes our economy would be in Great Shape!

    February 3, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. SANDY ABRAMS

    i think this thing should be settled in the old fashioned way:
    A WRESTLING MATCH!!

    February 3, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. Proud American

    How long did anyone think it would take for republicans stole this election? Democrats must learn when republicans lose, they steal.

    February 3, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  5. floridajack

    hey independent thinker,

    please provide proof that there is even ONE precinct wher there were more votes cast than registered voters. ...........no?

    THERE WEREN'T ANY!! just another republican lie.

    February 3, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. Kim

    This is STILL going on?? You can send a man to the moon, but can't complete an election in a fair and timely manner. What's wrong with this picture?

    February 3, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  7. tess

    minnesota has got to have the lowest I.Q. scores in the world!! the fact that even one person there would vote for that idiot franken should make that state review their educational system – ugh!

    February 3, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. DEMwits

    Poor pinko libs are going to have to wait longer to see if their ultra-liberal a$$-clown Stuart Smalley can steal the election.

    Nice job Dems...at least when the Repubs put an actor into elected office they don't look like the dorky kid you picked on in high school.

    February 3, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. Mark

    You see it doesn't matter who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes that matters!

    February 3, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  10. IdahoAK47Owner

    So how is Norm's other lawsuit going? Have they counted all the money at least once?

    February 3, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  11. Dan

    Al Franken is a cheat. Another addition to cheating democrats. They are everywhere. You can find them cheating on taxes, making illegals legal to get votes, support ACCORN for their un-registered votes, cheat on these votes in MN.

    February 3, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  12. Steve from Somerset

    Thank GOD the 2008 Presidential election didn't hinge on Minn. like it did Florida in 2000.

    February 3, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  13. Jesse

    The same weasel Ben Ginsburg who didn't want votes counted in Florida?

    how conveeeeeenient.

    oh, wait, wrong SNL 90's character.

    February 3, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  14. Scott, Tucson

    Let's just put the two of then in a locked room with baseball bats and the one that walks out is declared the winner.

    February 3, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. smiff

    Like playing the lo;tto trying to get an accurate vote count anymore. Why did more votes get cast in25 precincts than there were actual reg voters? Why did one organization regi'ster mic'key mouse to vote? Makes the integrity of the entire system suspect........unless you live in russ'ia! Guess Fwankin forgot his book title about the ly'ing liars ect. Kinda goes along with poli;tics in general!

    February 3, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  16. Chris in Va.

    @ Mariann Pepitone.....WOW!!!! If everything stupid you've said tonight were worth $1 you would have single-handedly erased the national debt in ONE NIGHT!!!!!

    February 3, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  17. Nate P, MN

    What a crook Coleman! When you were ahead after the election, you called on Franken to concede. Franken originally wanted absentee ballots to be counted, you were against it. Now that Franken is ahead, you want absentee ballots counted? Talk about being two faced. Give it up, Coleman.

    I'm ashamed that so many Minnesotans voted for Coleman, after the state has been consistently Democratic.

    February 3, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  18. Simmy

    Your Honor, I object to this kangaroo court! I demand that this case be dismissed, and that former Sen. Coleman, be held in contempt of the American people!

    February 3, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  19. Ron in Asheville, NC

    C'mon. This is a process we should all be proud of: the precinct workers and the courts are doing their best to get it right given the messy situation that voting is (not only in Minnesota but everywhere). Not many–if any–places would be doing this. And it's interesting to ask what would have happened in 2000 if the same standards were applied and procedures followed in Florida.

    February 3, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  20. mike

    franken no franken well win

    February 3, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  21. patti

    I am so sick and tired of the Republicans whining all the time. Own up and be a man Coleman!!!!! We are sick and tired of all the crap for the last 8 years!!!!!!

    February 3, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. SueB

    Every state should do some serious looking at their election laws. These 3 ring circuses are so common they're almost expected these days. In my state in Nov, we had multiple counties that had more votes cast then registered voters – how does this happen? Whenever that occurs, the voting lists marked on election day need to be scrutinized, or the poll workers scrutinized, or absentee votes carefully compared against the voter lists, or something but this is not acceptable. The word "intent" needs to be eliminated from vote counters vocabulary. Just because someone voted one party for all offices except one does not mean they didn't intend to vote the opposite party for that one position nor does it mean they intended to vote the same party for that one position. Whatever is marked on the ballot should stand, no one should be trying to second guess someone who they don't even know. In every state a high percentage of absentee votes are thrown out. States need to figure out why so they can stop throwing out so many. Are the instructions too complicated? Not clear? Training of voters needed?

    February 3, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  23. RAYSTER

    If you have never taken part in a recount then shut the hell up cuz you don't know what your talking about.
    Ballots are rejected for a number of reasons. They could identify a voter for this type of case and then eventualy make the difference in an election.
    I've gone through more than one recount and it sucks cuz the ballots are looked at with more than one set of eyes. Its there to protect your vote. The courts should not be settling these things but the candidates using there heads following the rules and these backroom jerks should be shown the door

    February 3, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. Kay

    All this shows is how desparate the Republicans are.

    February 3, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  25. Rob_in_MN

    Every vote should be counted, it seems odd that Franken pulled ahead under such questionable circumstances.

    I am a Democrat, but I'm no Franken fan, I don't really like either of them.

    February 3, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
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