[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/20/art.ballot1.gi.jpg caption="The Franken team said again Wednesday they expect him to come out on top when the Senate race recount ends."] (CNN) - The season just got a bit less jolly for Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman: in a Christmas Eve decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected a lawsuit calling for recount changes that would have erased Democratic challenger Al Franken’s narrow lead.
The Coleman campaign’s suit had asked the court to intervene because of what it says are double-counted absentee ballots that have been unfairly awarded to Al Franken. The incumbent’s lawyers asked the court to restore the original Election Night totals in roughly two dozen precincts, where recount gains had given Franken an overall edge.
The justices rejected that argument, agreeing with the Franken team that those allegations should be dealt with in legal proceedings after the recount was complete, and a winner certified by the state’s canvassing board.
Franken currently leads Coleman by 47 votes. In a ruling earlier Wednesday, the court extended the deadline for the completion of the Senate race recount to the first week in January.