Franken campaign's rejected ballot story false

Al Franken's  lead attorney, Marc Elias
Al Franken's lead attorney, Marc Elias, said the campaign is not suing to have the rejected absentee ballots in the count. He said they are simply looking for the data so that the campaign can identify people who were legal and lawful voters to ensure their ballots are counted.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

The story an attorney for Democrat Al Franken's U.S. Senate campaign told reporters in order to illustrate claims that valid absentee ballots were wrongly rejected, turns out to be false.

Late Thursday morning, the Franken campaign held a news conference to announce a lawsuit it hoped would force counties to provide it with the names and addresses of people whose absentees ballots were rejected.

To make the case that some valid absentee ballots were not included in the vote tally, Franken's lead attorney Marc Elias said an 84-year-old Beltrami County woman's absentee ballot was not counted because her signatures did match.

DFLer Al Franken and U.S. Sen. Republican Norm Coleman are jockeying for legal position in advance of an official recount in their election. Coleman leads by just a few hundred votes.
MPR Photo/Tim Nelson

Elias told reporters a dramatic story about how the woman had suffered a stroke and her absentee ballot signature did not match the one on file with local election officials, which lead to her ballot's disqualification.

Several news organization reported the story, including Minnesota Public Radio News.

Thursday evening, Franken campaign spokesman Andy Barr told Minnesota Public Radio News the story was not correct.

Barr said the woman, whom the Franken campaign has refused to name, failed to meet the witness requirement of her absentee ballot, and that the signature discrepancies outlined earlier in the day were not the reason for the rejection of the ballot.

Barr said the Franken campaign stands behind its assertion that some absentee ballots were wrongly rejected, and that it will proceed with its request that the State Canvassing Board include a review of rejected absentee ballots in its recount.

To read the previous story go here.