Fight over Senate ballots precedes board hearing

Head Elections Judge Diane Follmer
Head Elections Judge Diane Follmer from St. Paul showed off what she called "the election recount manicure," which includes two rubber finger cots to aid in counting all of the ballots.
MPR Photo/Caroline Yang

The Coleman and Franken recount campaigns are ramping up their arguments over what should be done about what elections officials say are 133 ballots missing from a precinct in Minneapolis.

Both campaigns claim legal precedents supporting their competing arguments.

The attorney for DFL candidate Al Franken, Marc Elias, says there's no question ballots in the Minneapolis precinct were lost. He says the only way to ensure that votes cast there are counted is to include the final election night machine tally for that precinct.

"This state, because it conducts a canvass of every precinct, is in a position to make sure that those people's votes count," said Elias. "We expect that the Canvassing Board will agree with that and take a position on Friday."

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The Coleman campaign doesn't even agree that there are lost ballots. It sent a letter to Minneapolis officials saying they are permitted to submit nothing more than the results of their hand recount.

The state Canvassing Board is expected to take up the issue Friday morning.

It's also expected to discuss what should be done with wrongly rejected absentee ballots. The Franken campaign wants them included in the recount.

Today the Franken campaign released a Web video featuring accounts of several voters whose absentee ballots were wrongly rejected.