The three-judge panel in Norm Coleman's election recount trial laid out a big ruling Friday to help streamline the discussion of which rejected absentee ballots could be considered and counted.
Their decision: The law is the law when it comes to absentee ballots. If you didn't follow the rules, you lose. Some rejected ballots could still be counted though, which still gives the Coleman campaign some hope for a win.
Sent your ballot in time but it got stuck in the mail? Tough. Forgot to sign your absentee ballot application, but you swear you were there? Too bad. Election judge gave you bad info? Sorry. Citing a sound elections system, the three-judge panel overseeing the trial in the Minnesota Senate race ruled Friday that the law is the law, and the panel would count no ballots that drifted outside the law.The decision is a blow to Coleman's campaign that hoped to have as many rejected ballots counted to overturn Franken's current lead. But his campaign is still calling the decision a victory because that's what campaigns do.
More from the Star Tribune:
Coleman's attorneys saw it differently, saying that the ruling leaves untouched about 3,500 of the 4,800 rejected absentee ballots they want the court to open and count, enough to make it possible for Coleman to overcome Franken's 225-vote certified recount lead.
Coleman lawyer Fritz Knaak said that those remaining votes -- along with the ballots of registered voters who were thought to be nonregistered as well as the ballots of voters whose signatures looked mismatched but weren't -- will eventually result in Coleman's return to the Senate.
The order "has a very limited impact," Knaak said. "We're disappointed that all 4,800 won't be counted, but we're very pleased that the 3,500 that do remain are still there."