Coleman campaign wants changes in absentee ballot process

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign sent a letter today to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s office and Democrat Al Franken’s campaign ripping the process currently underway to identify wrongly rejected absentee ballots. Coleman attorney Tony Trimble writes the process is not working and will result in “an invalid and unreliable election result” unless it’s changed.

The Coleman campaign originally asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to prevent the inclusion of improperly rejected absentee ballots in the recount or to set up a uniform standard to identify them.

The court ordered the campaigns and secretary of state’s office to work with local elections officials to identify the ballots.

Trimble says in his letter that the process has broken down, and that “confusing and inconsistent directives and demands have confounded our county/city election officials.”

He then proposes a plan to fix it:

…we propose that: the envelopes and supporting materials for any and all absentee ballots identified by the Franken campaign, the Coleman campaign, the Secretary of State and the county and local election officials be sent to the Secretary of State’s office by Friday. At that time, the campaigns and the Secretary of State will review the materials and determine pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order which absentee ballots were indeed wrongly rejected. Those ballots will then be counted by the Canvassing Board at its scheduled meeting

The board is scheduled to count the ballots on Saturday and then deal with any further challenges Monday and possibly Tuesday. At that point the recount would in theory be over.

No response yet to the letter from the Franken campaign or Mark Ritchie’s office.