In the latest recount play-by-play, Norm Coleman's lawyers are requesting that the three-judge panel reverse their Friday ruling that limited which absentee ballots could be reconsidered for the final tally. The judges excluded most of the categories of rejected absentee ballots, but Coleman's team is arguing that many ballots that fit into those categories have already been added during the recount.
Instead of asking the judges to remove those ballots from the final count, Coleman is hoping to have some of the ballot categories added back into the pool. There are about 100 ballots already counted that would be rejected under the newest ruling, his team says.
Coleman's arguments are setting the stage for a potential appeal when the panel makes a final ruling on the winner of the recount. Get ready for an even longer delay in what has now become a ridiculously depressing fight.
Coleman's lawyers also said the judges applied a looser standard earlier last week when they accepted more than 20 rejected absentee ballots cast by voters who supported DFLer Al Franken, whose 225-vote lead after the recount is being challenged by Republican Coleman in the trial.Coleman's campaign is avoiding the argument of taking back some absentee ballots because both campaigns agreed to leave those 900+ ballots in the count at the beginning of the trial.
In a letter to the judges Monday, Coleman's lawyers argued that the standard for counting any remaining rejected absentee ballots "must be consistent with the standards this court has already applied to other ballots" and with standards used by counties for counting thousands of absentee ballots. Friday's ruling will "exacerbate inconsistencies and inequities," the letter said. Ginsberg said in a statement that it could create a "widespread equal protection problem."
Franken recount attorney Marc Elias said he doubts the court will reverse itself and believes the Coleman team's move is part of a broader strategy of arguing that the acceptance and rejection of similar ballots violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Hamline law professor David Schultz told the Strib that the campaign's latest argument is the first step if they plan to appeal the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court during or after the trial to argue equal protection.