Posted: December 17, 2008
MN Senate race - Supreme Court hearing concluded, canvassing board continuing to wade through challenged ballots
The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in Coleman v. Ritchie. Coleman's attorney argued that an election contest is the proper circumstance for revisiting rejected absentee ballots and correcting wrongful rejections. The justices questioned this process appearing to recognize that a court proceeding could be viewed as an extreme way to correct obvious errors. The justices also questioned the attorneys about what kind of errors exist and what is meant by obvious error. They questioned respondent's counsel about the plain meaning of the statute governing correcting obvious erros with counsel arguing that the plain meaning does not preclude correction of the kind of errors counties are finding. Coleman's attorney appeared to concede that there are some rejected absentee ballots that fall into the obvious error category but contend that there are rejected ballots where an error is not so obvious. Meanwhile, the canvassing board continues to review challenged ballots. So far, of the ballots challenged by Franken, 194 have been allocated to Coleman, 51 to Franken, and 99 to the "Other" category. Most of the challenges are disposed of quickly and almost all decisions are unanimous. One ballot that came before the board this morning was a primary ballot that was apparently given to a voter by mistake. The voter cast a vote for Coleman but Franken was not on the ballot. The board unanimously decided that the ballot fell into the "Other" category.