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Minnesota Court Rules Election Process as Sound

by Grace Kelly on February 14, 2009 · 1 comment

The Coleman campaign has been trying to say that a “close” election meant a bad election process, when a close election just meant a close election. The Minnesota election process held up to the point where we could talk about single absentee ballots coherently. Well, today, the Minnesota Court basically ruled that our election process is sound!

Of the approximately 286,000 absentee ballots cast by voters, roughly 4,800 are at issue in this contest and remain unopened and uncounted, This is less than 2% of the absentee ballots cast in the general election. Further the Court notes that many of the voters whose absentee ballots remain unopened may have cast ballots that have already been counted because they voted in person on Election Day or they submitted a subsequent absentee ballot that was opened and counted… The Court is confident that although it may discover certain additional ballots that were legally cast under relevant law, there is no systemic problem of disenfranchisement in the state’s election system, including in its absentee-balloting procedures.

Since the Coleman campaign had been campaigning for opening the largest number of ballots, no matter what the rules, then this ruling was a victory for laws, rules and due process.  

Proving that the reason given by the election officials for rejecting a ballot was invalid is not tantamount to proving that it was legally cast.

This ruling is especially wise for if an absentee ballot had a problem, then it could also have multiple problems, as the sometimes amusing court testimony showed. With 13 of the 19 categories specifically excluded, the ruling did not sound like it was promising anything on the remaining 6 categories except listening to further testimony.

So far we have 24 ballots waiting to be counted. Let’s see how many get added now under the remaining 6 categories, under the standard of uncounted legally cast absentee ballots.

Notice that double counted duplicate/original ballot question has disappeared from the discussion. Since two judges have to make duplicates of originals, there should be two judges to testify. And the Coleman campaign has brought forth no judges to testify, which probably means the unlabeled originals had probably been overlooked, and were therefore properly included in the process.

It will be amusing to figure out the lawyer cost for each of the number of additional votes added to the count by the election count court process. Or maybe the lawyer cost for every hour that Franken was not allowed to serve as Senator. Hmmmm.  

ericf February 15, 2009 at 9:49 am

The court’s expression of confidence in the election system is the real body blow to Coleman. Picking up enough votes in the absentee ballots was a long shot, even if had gotten them all, and Coleman’s refusal to present evidence of double counting was always pretty telling. Maybe he was waiting for the trial, but here we’ve been and no evidence, and Coleman must have known there was no evidence. What he’s been after all this time was casting enough doubt on the process to take an equal protection violation claim to the federal courts. I still think he’ll do that, but this makes it harder, because he would have to show the state judges got it very wrong.

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