The Coleman campaign is “surprised” by some of the judgments being made by the Minnesota state Canvassing Board on its first day of reviewing challenged ballots, according to a campaign representative.
The Board convened at noon Minnesota time and has ruled on 120 ballots in four hours, awarding 14 of the challenged ballots to Franken thus far. (The process can be watched live here.)
“We were a little surprised by the treatments of some ballots,” the representative said, particularly in the instances in which an X is put through a filled-in bubble.
The representative said that according to the campaign’s calculations, Norm Coleman stands to gain over 50 votes as a result of the challenging process, provided that the Board treats challenges from both campaigns consistently. Since the Board has not yet ruled on any of the ballots being challenged by the Coleman campaign, the representative said it was difficult to say whether an equal standard was in fact being applied.
Asked about the widespread assumption that Franken stands to gain from the recount process by virtue of the fact that the current 188-vote Coleman lead is inflated by the fact that Coleman is challenging more ballots, the representative said that it’s important to keep in mind the quality of the challenges. Not surprisingly, the campaign is confident that its challenges are more valid than Franken’s.
But the challenged ballots are just one of many outstanding issues in the Minnesota Senate race.
The Coleman campaign has also filed a suit to make sure what it holds are duplicate ballots are not counted twice, in violation of the “one person, one vote” principle.
Duplicate ballots can result if a physically damaged or crumpled absentee ballot comes in, and an election worker decides to create a cleaner duplicate copy. The worker is required to write “DUPLICATE” on the ballot, but the Coleman campaign said it has identified hundreds of examples in which this step was not taken, leading to the double-counting of ballots.
There is also the issue of the rejected absentee ballots. The Secretary of State asked counties to sort rejected absentee ballots into five piles: the first four representing ballots that were rejected for legitimate legal reasons, and the “fifth pile” representing those that were improperly rejected.
The problem is, with over 130 counting areas, there is the potential for 130 different standards for what constitutes an improperly rejected absentee ballot. A Supreme Court hearing is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon to consider the matter.
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