Posted: January 27, 2009
Day 2 of the MN U.S. Senate trial complete
Once the trial resumed today, Coleman called several witnesses who had voted absentee in the election and whose votes had allegedly been rejected. The first voter said he was blind and that he had signed his ballot envelope in the place where his wife had indicated he should sign and that he believed his vote should be counted. All of the voters indicated that they had been contacted by the Republican party and had been informed that their ballots were rejected. Franken’s attorneys queried each voter about the notation on their ballot envelopes and asked each if the correct person to ask about such a notation was the person who made the notation. Some of the voters were confused by this but after several came to the stand, it seemed clear that Franken’s attorneys were making the point that the voters had little to offer in the way of evidence of whether and why their ballot may have been rejected. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbman was on the stand for the rest of the day with Coleman’s attorney asking him in detail about the process that precinct and county officials go through in determining whether to accept or reject an absentee ballot. Gelbman did say that the signature was an area of discretion for the election officials so, for example, a ballot with James Richard Gelbman signed on the application and James R. Gelbman signed on the ballot envelope could be treated differently in different counties. But he implied that allowing for discretion in this area was unavoidable and the rules were otherwise clear and were implemented by professional full-time election officials in as uniform a way as possible. The day ended with one of Franken’s attorneys alleging that 500 names had been swapped out of Coleman’s list of wrongly rejected absentee ballots from last week and replaced with different names. It appeared that this would be addressed tomorrow. *Analysis of the statute 203B.24 has been removed from this post.