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MN-Sen: Is Coleman Asking For A Full Recount In His Contest Petition?

When I contemplated Norm Coleman's contest of the Minnesota Senate result, I assumed he would make discrete specific challenges (i.e. - specific rulings on objections to the determination of election judges, the exclusion of certain rejected absentee ballots, the inclusion of certain duplicate ballots, etc.) to the result certified by the Minnesota Canvassing Board. But reviewing Coleman's motion for contest and Notice of Contest (PDFs), it appears Coleman is asking for a new full recount, to be performed by 3 designated inspection officials (one Coleman inspector, one Franken inspector and one neutral inspector). Then all disputes will be submitted to the Inspection Panel.

It looks as if Coleman wants to drag this out as long as possible. The disputes are already known. It is the disputes that should be the subject of the contest. Instead Coleman is requesting a complete recount do-over. I assume the Election Panel can reject this request and proceed immediately to the disputes. I certainly hope they do.

Speaking for me only

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Franken Declares Victory

Go Al! Via TPM:

As someone who defended Norm Coleman's (and before that, Al Franken's) right to avail himself of all legal options to be sure that he did not win, I think it is time to acknowledge Franken's victory. Coleman must know now he has lost. He has no path to victory now. For the sake of Minnesota, he should concede.

Speaking for me only

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MN-Sen: Franken By 225 After Rejected Absentee Ballot Count

UPDATE - After the recount, The Uptake has Franken gaining a 176 votes and now leading by 225 votes, based on the election judge's call. Objections to the election judge's rulings will be decided by the Canvassing Board on Monday There were no objections to the Election Judge's rulings. Coleman's doors are closing. He is in Hail Mary territory now.

The Minnesota Canvassing Board is counting 953 improperly rejected absentee ballots this weekend in the Senate election between Franken and Coleman.

The Uptake has the proceedings. Franken currently leads by 49 votes. Coleman has asked for certain additional rejected absentee ballots be counted but the Minnesota Supreme Court has not acted on its request. Coleman will contest the election (presumably Franken will too in the unlikely event he is behind at the end of the Canvassing Board's tabulations.) Under Minnesota law, there can be no certified winner of the race until contests to the election are resolved.

Speaking for me only

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MN Supreme Court Order Locks Coleman In On Request To Count More Absentee Ballots

I am glad someone finally said it -- Hennepin County's reply to the Coleman objection to not including certain rejected absentee ballots in the vote count:

[T]his Court [the Minnesota Supreme Court] established a uniform standard for determining which ballots could be forwarded to the Secretary of State for counting. Those ballots must be identified by local election officials as rejected in error and the campaigns must agree with that assessment. In other words, only ballots which the local officials and the two campaigns agree were rejected in error will be passed on to the Secretary of State’s Office.

(Emphasis supplied.) The Minnesota Supreme Court will have to judge its own order to be flawed in order to grant Coleman relief. Of course the initial order requiring agreement from both parties was indeed seriously flawed, as dissenting Justice Alan Page noted at the time:

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Meanwhile Back At The MN-Sen Recount . . .

The latest, via the Strib:

Hennepin County finished its review of 326 rejected absentee ballots late this morning, with the Coleman and Franken campaigns agreeing to count nearly 80 percent of them. In the state’s most populous county, 255 absentee ballots that county election officials acknowledged were mistakenly rejected were accepted by the two campaigns after a two-day, mostly-uneventful review. Seventy-four were rejected. The rejections were roughly evenly split between the two campaigns, with Franken rejecting 36 ballots, Coleman 33, and five withdrawn by the county.

Apparently, this was the pattern around the state. The interesting development is the Coleman campaign's attempt to include more rejected absentee ballots for review. This is a reflection of their position trailing Franken at this point:

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If The Shoe Were On The Other Foot . . .

I hate this type of hypocrisy - TPM and JedL are criticizing Norm Coleman for exercising his legal right to contest the Minnesota Senate election (and Bowers joins the hypocritically ignorant train.) Excuse me, when Coleman was asking Franken to concede when Franken was trailing by 600 votes (Franken now leads by 49 votes), TPM and JedL (and me) were criticizing Coleman for what they are now doing.

Coleman has the right, I would argue he has a duty to his supporters, to make sure he really lost the election before he concedes. Minnesota law does not allow for certification of a winner until an election contest is resolved. No one wants to see Franken in the Senate more than I but this whining about Coleman exercising his legal right to an election contest is blatantly hypocritical and extremely unseemly. And stupid to boot. Coleman is going to contest the result and the Democrats in the Senate can not seat Franken until he is certified as the winner of the Minnesota Senate election. Let's follow the rules please.

Speaking for me only

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MN Canvassing Board : Franken By 50 Votes

From the Strib:

The State Canvassing Board today made changes to a handful of withdrawn challenges in the U.S. Senate recount battle and gave DFL challenger Al Franken a net gain of four votes, nudging his unofficial lead to 50.

What's left? The improperly rejected absentee ballots:

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The Minnesota Senate Recount

With the main work of the Minnesota Canvassing Board on the Minnesota recount complete, it has been reported that Al Franken holds a 48 vote lead. What's left to do? One thing is to deal with certain rejected absentee ballots. The Minnesota Supreme Court issued a ruling that required the parties to try and work it out and identify which ballots should be counted (MN NPR reports the camps have come up with a system for dealing with these ballots but as I read it, it is an agreement to agree to a system, not an actual agreement). It can safely be assumed that the parties will not agree on all or even most of the ballots. But one assumes a consistent standard will be applied eventually. More importantly, Norm Coleman wanted none of these ballots counted and Franken wanted all of them counted, meaning that both campaigns believe there are more Franken votes than Coleman votes in these rejected absentee ballots.

To wit, Coleman seems to be behind the 8-ball now if the Canvassing Board tallies are the final word. Are they? Well, Minnesota provides for a contest procedure More . . .

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Franken Takes Lead in MN Senate Race

This morning, Al Franken took the lead in the MN Senate race for the first time. He's ahead a few hundred votes. Counting may be done this evening.

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MN-Sen: Counting Votes

The Uptake provides great coverage of what trying to enfranchise all voters look like. Things are looking good for Franken right now BTW.

Go Al!

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A Demographic Shift for NOLA : William Jefferson's Defeat

Indicted longterm LA Congressman William Jefferson has been defeated. The winner of the House seat for the district which includes New Orleans is Republican lawyer Anh Cao.

Cao emigrated from Vietnam when he was 8, after the fall of Saigon. This is his first elected office and he will be the first Vietnamese-American in Congress.

Turnout in Saturday's election, which was postponed due to Hurricane Gustav, was not high. While Jefferson's corruption charges are thought to have increased turnout in the white community and largely contributed to his defeat, and turnout among blacks was lower than usual, this is also interesting: [More...]

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New RNC Expense Reports: $110k for Sarah Palin Stylists

For two months work, Sarah Palin's traveling makeup artist and hair stylist were paid $110,000, according to newly filed RNC campaign expense reports.

The clothing total, previously at $150,000 is also expected to rise, but the final numbers weren't available when the Times posted its story tonight. Stay tuned.

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