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.

  • Rod Venterea

    It’s obvious that what’s wrong with the process as far as Mr. Coleman is concerned is that he is losing. Unfortunately, he is regretting the statements he made on November 5 about how, if he were the candidate that was losing by a small margin, would do the noble thing and concede. Not by a long shot can we expect such behavior from this guy.

  • Mike Engel

    I can only say”amen” to Mr. Venterea’s comment. When Coleman appeared to be ahead, he thought the recount a terrible waste of taxpayers money.Now however, nothing is too much to try to get the result he wants.

  • Alyce J. Bowers

    This the first time that I have ever agreed with Norm Coleman. Yes, the process the Minnesota Supreme Court set out is wrong. The idea of allowing political campaigns to reject valid ballots was crazy as two of the judges stated in their objections. All wrongly rejected ballots – as determined by the election officials – should be sent to the SOS with the documentation of the error – and a central panel should decide which ones to count. They would establish uniform rules for all ballots. For example, they would decide whether the witness date and the voter’s date must match. Yes or No it would be the same for everybody.

    Franken should agree with this because otherwise the Coleman camp is just cherry picking which ballots to exclude and Franken is going to get sucker punched.

    Obsessed Observer

  • Drew

    You know, I have my own bias in this race, but in this instance, I agree with the Coleman camp. Only because I honestly believe that the MN Supreme Court erred in their decision to involve the campaigns in the recount. They should have made clear rules about which ballots to count and which not to, and then there wouldn’t be this wrangling about vetoing ballots and whatnot…

  • Brian Hanf

    It is very clear the the Franken campaign has counted on the rejected absentee ballots. I believe the first court action was the Franken campaigns atempt to get the names of people who’s ballots were rejected. Why get the names is the first question that comes to my mind. Does anyone else here know why they wanted the names? (I know why) The reason I ask that question is my understanding is that Coleman’s campaign and the local election officials have about 600 or so more ballots that the Franken campaign does not want in the count. Why does Franken not want those 600?