[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/16/art.mncount1216.cnn.jpg caption="The canvassing board met this week in Minnesota to review ballots in the state's very tight race for a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs"]ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – A Minnesota justice hearing arguments from attorneys facing off in the year's last remaining Senate contest told a legal veteran of the 2000 presidential recount that his state is "not Florida."
Attorneys for both Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken presented their sides before the Minnesota Supreme Court Wednesday.
Speaking for Coleman before the panel of justices was attorney Roger Magnuson, no stranger to recount battles, who represented the Florida's state senate in Bush v. Gore.
If the state’s canvassing board includes any of the "improperly rejected absentee ballots" at the heart of the dispute, warned Magnuson, this race could easily turn into the debacle that ensued in Florida eight years ago.
He was immediately interrupted by Associate Justice Paul Anderson, who appeared to take serious issue with the analogy.
“I know you’ve been to Florida,” Anderson said. “This is not Florida. And I’m just not terribly receptive to you telling us that we’re going to Florida and we’re comparing to that. This is Minnesota. We’ve got a case in Minnesota. Argue the case in Minnesota.”
At hand is the issue of whether improperly rejected absentee ballots should be counted in a race that, as we speak, is still being tabulated. The Coleman campaign is responsible for initiating the court proceeding, and their argument is to keep the rejected absentee ballots out because, as they’ve maintained, each county does not have a uniform way of considering, reviewing, and then either rejecting or accepting, any of the originally rejected absentee ballots.
The justices expressed to the court that a decision would be “forthcoming” and no further details were given.
The panel of justices was slimmed down slightly — two members of the traditionally seven-member panel, including the chief justice, were absent because of their duties as appointees on the Secretary of State’s canvassing board. That board is involved in a multi-day process of sorting through almost 1500 challenged ballots.