Minnesota Recount Follies
Both Al Franken and Norm Coleman got good news yesterday, as the courts continued to make up rules well after the election.
A state Supreme Court ruling, which may exclude hundreds of ballots that Al Franken (D) had sought to include in the recount, could help Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in Minnesota’s contested Senate race.
The court overturned elements of a decision by the state’s Board of Canvassers to recommend that Minnesota’s counties open and tally more than 1,000 absentee ballots that were not counted for any stated, legal reason. In its decision, the court forbade the board to include any of those ballots in its final tally, except in limited circumstances laid out in the decision.
The Tribune, though, sees a mixed bag:
Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman each got good news and bad news Thursday, as one of the wildest elections in Minnesota history took yet another pair of startling turns.
The Minnesota Supreme Court said improperly rejected absentee ballots must be counted by the state Canvassing Board, something Coleman tried to prevent. But they won’t be counted immediately, and Coleman and Franken must agree on which ones are tallied.
Meanwhile, as the state Canvassing Board continued working its way through challenged ballots, DFLer Franken all but erased Republican Coleman’s lead in the U.S. Senate recount and appeared poised to pull ahead today. But his gains could in turn prove short-lived when thousands of previously disputed ballots are added to the tally.
TPM’s Eric Kleefeld, very much hopeful that Franken will come out ahead in the process, has a good recap of the twists and turns thus far.
Nate Silver, who also hopes Franken will win, nonetheless sees the process as something of a joke. For example, a ballot which selected both Norm Coleman and Brett Favre (write-in) was counted as a vote for Coleman, whereas a similar ballot voting for Franken and Lizard People was rejected. By the rules of the game, both ballots should have been rejected. Instead, it’s up to the whims of election officials.