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Coleman files petition with court on absentee ballots, Franken drops more contested votes

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Norm Coleman's campaign responded to the state Canvassing Board's decision to count 133 missing ballots in Minneapolis and the collection of absentee ballots that were wrongly rejected.

Coleman's campaign is filing a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court to create a standard definition of ballots to be put in the so-called "fifth pile".

And while Coleman is getting his hands dirty in the court system, Al Franken is continuing to dump frivolous ballot challenges before the official ruling on them next week.

From Coleman's campaign:

Fritz Knaak, Senior Counsel for the Coleman campaign, made the following statement at press conference this afternoon.

"The actions today by the Canvassing Board can only be described as confusing to us.

"While advocates for the Franken Campaign stood outside with signs reminiscent of Florida in 2000, what we now have before us is a situation in which there now exist essentially, more than 87 different standards for how ballots will be included in the so-called fifth pile.

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"However, as one State Canvassing Board member pointed out today, it's no longer just one fifth pile. It's a fifth pile with subpiles from A to Z with no uniform standard for determining which, if any, legally rejected absentee ballots ought to be included in a pile.

"Nobody disputes that legally valid, cast votes should be counted. But, there can be no question that a legally valid cast vote is statutorily defined, not defined by the Secretary of State's Office, but by law.

"So we will be filing a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court to create clarity and more efficiency in this process as it moves forward, and at the same time to create a uniform standard- which will expedite the recount results by resolving the kind of disputes taking place now and will truly make sure that every vote counts so that we will eliminate disparities between counties.

"As to the issue of the 133 so-called missing ballots in Minneapolis, we simply disagree with the decision on this matter, and it is obvious that any contest will include a vigorous discussion of this issue.

Franken's campaign also said today that they plan to drop an additional 750 from the pile of challenged ballots, according to Minnesota Independent. When the recount ended, there were about 6,600 challenged ballots, but that number is now down to about 3,500.