Coleman backtracking on recount ballots. Surprised?


If one method of winning fails, try the next one on the list. That appears to be the new strategy of Norm Coleman's legal team in his trial contesting the Senate recount. We are just so exhausted.

After the three-judge panel determined which categories of rejected absentee ballots could be reconsidered, Coleman's team kindly reminded them that some of those categories would exclude ballots already counted during the recount. So the panel should count all ballots like those already in the pool.

Well, when that idea failed, they moved on to the next. Coleman's next move appears to be setting up a claim that ballots he already said were OK are no longer legal. Wait, what?

Coleman's legal team along with Al Franken's team agreed at the beginning of the trial that the 933 absentee ballots counted during the recount would not be part of the election trial. Now Coleman changed his mind. His new strategy comes after he already accepted that these were legal ballots... twice. Once when he had veto power over any absentee vote during the recount and again at the beginning of this election contest. What will someone do to win this thing?

From the Pioneer Press:

Finished up its fourth week, the trial started with a new twist -- Coleman's lawyers sought to prevent removing identifying information from 933 absentee ballots that provided a substantial portion of Democrat Franken's 225-vote recount victory.

It's a sign that Coleman, who has twice agree to count those ballots -- one during the recount and once during the trial -- may now want to revisit them. In a filing with the court, Coleman said some of those 933 ballots fall into categories of ballots the three-judge panel hearing the case recently said it would not include in the vote totals.

"The public has a substantial interest in having Minnesota's election laws applied consistently and fairly. It also has a substantial interest in ensuring that all illegally cast votes are not counted in determining which party received the highest number of legally cast votes," wrote James Langdon, a lawyer for Coleman, in a brief filed with the court this morning.

The PiPress says it might be too late for half of the more than 900 ballots. State election officials were marking each ballot with identifying information as they were counted to connect them with their original envelope. "That was a sensitive issue for elections officials, who are adamant about protecting voter privacy. When lawyers for Franken and Coleman agreed on Feb. 3 that they would not dispute those ballots, the Secretary of State's office was ordered to remove those markings. "

About half of the ballots have identifying marks on them, but the process has been stopped in case the court rules for a reconsideration.