[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/05/art.getty.norm.coleman.jpg caption="Minnesota's high court denied Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign request to consider rejected ballots."]MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - In a move that leaves a post-election legal challenge the last remaining hope for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota's high court has denied his campaign's request to consider about 650 additional rejected absentee ballots his attorneys claimed should have been included in the count of mistakenly rejected ballots that were tallied this weekend.
The Coleman campaign had contended there was no uniform standard for local officials and campaigns to review and tabulate these improperly rejected ballots. The court had previously ordered that only ballots local officials and both campaigns could agree were rejected in error could be counted. A consensus was met on about 950 of 1,350 originally found by local officials.
The court order suggested Coleman's latest request should be a post-election consideration.
The Coleman camp said it was determined to take the question to court. "Today’s ruling, which effectively disregards the votes of hundreds of Minnesotans, ensures that an election contest is now inevitable,” said Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak. “The Coleman campaign has consistently and continually fought to have every validly cast vote counted, and for the integrity of Minnesota’s election system, we will not stop now. The Minnesota Supreme Court has made sure that an election contest will need to be filed quickly in order to ensure that an accurate and valid recount can be achieved.”
Minnesota's state canvassing board is expected to name Democrat Al Franken the winner of the recount later Monday. Franken now leads Coleman by a margin of 225 votes.