Coleman Asks for Instructions on Counting Rejected Ballots

Posted December 12, 2008 at 2:08pm

Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-Minn.) campaign plans to file a legal petition Friday with the state Supreme Court in regards to the Minnesota State Canvassing Board’s recommendation to counties Friday morning to begin sorting and counting improperly rejected absentee ballots.

Coleman and comedian Al Franken (D) have finished the hand recount of their close Senate race, but the Minnesota secretary of State estimates there are more than 1,500 improperly rejected absentee ballots statewide.

In a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, Coleman recount attorneys Fritz Knaak and Tony Trimble called the state canvassing board’s decision “confusing,” given there is “no uniform standard” for counting the improperly rejected absentee ballots.

“If they accept the recommendations of the board and each county starts on their own path … we’re going to have different results which reach difference conclusions,” Trimble said.

The attorneys said the goal is to ask the Supreme Court to give counties instructions by which to sort and count these ballots, but asked county officials in the meantime to hold off on doing so until a standardized procedure is approved.

Knaak and Trimble emphasized that the campaign believes these improperly rejected absentee ballots could break either for their camp or for Franken. The Franken campaign, however, believes absentee ballots will break slightly in their favor.