Recount trial resumes; absentee voters testify

Norm Coleman listens to Gerald Anderson
Republican Norm Coleman, right, listens as Gerald Anderson, left, testifys about his ballot that was rejected as he appeared before the Senate recount trial Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 in St. Paul, Minn.
Pool Photo/Jim Mone

2:25 p.m.

Norm Coleman's attorney James Langdon has called several witnesses to the stand this afternoon, including Gerald Walter Anderson, 75, of St. Paul, and Eugene Carl Markman, an election judge in St. Cloud.

Witness Gerald Anderson
Gerald Anderson, left, testifys about his ballot that was rejected as he appeared before the Senate recount trial Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 in St. Paul, Minn.
Pool Photo/Jim Mone

Coleman's team is challenging whether the recount properly included and counted legally cast votes in three major categories.

They have to prove by a preponderance of evidence that officials wrongly rejected absentee ballots, that they double-counted other ballots, and that 133 missing ballots from Minneapolis should not be counted.

Anderson, who is handicapped and blind, said he voted absentee in the November election. He said his wife, who also voted absentee, pointed him to where he needed to sign. Anderson said he learned that his ballot had been rejected when he got a phone call from the Republican Party about two weeks ago.

"Perhaps my signature is not as good as it once was," Anderson said on the stand. "It gets a little crooked here and there."

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But, he added: "They just threw [my ballot] out in the garbage as if I were worth nothing," Anderson said. "I couldn't believe this could happen in America ... I'm entitled to my vote."

Markman, another witness, said he also voted by absentee ballot before the November election. His ballot was also rejected because the signatures did not match.

Gerald Anderson testifies
Gerald Anderson, in green background right, testifys during the Senate recount trial Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 in St. Paul, Minn. At table, right, is Republican Norm Coleman.
Pool Photo/Jim Mone

1:20 p.m.

Court is expected to reconvene at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon in Norm Coleman's election contest trial.

The trial was delayed this morning while the three-judge panel met privately with officials from the Secretary of State's office.

A court official says they were trying to hammer out a process for getting about 11,000 rejected absentee ballots to St. Paul from counties throughout the state.

On Monday, the judges told Coleman's attorneys that they could not submit their copies of the absentees because some of them had markings made by Coleman campaign workers.

Coleman argues that many of the absentees were improperly rejected and should be added to the count. He trails Democrat Al Franken by 225 votes after a statewide recount.

9:30 a.m.

Day two of Republican Norm Coleman's election contest trial has been delayed this morning. The three judge panel is meeting privately before entering the courtroom.

Former Sen. Norm Coleman is in the courtroom for the second day. Al Franken has not appeared for either day of the trial.

It's unclear what will actually happen today. On Monday, the testimony took a peculiar turn when the panel stopped the Coleman campaign from entering into evidence copies of absentee ballots.

Coleman's legal team will have to subpoena the counties for the original 12,000 absentee ballots, of which they expect between 4,500 and 5,500 to have been wrongfully-rejected. The counties will send their original absentee ballots directly to the three-judge panel.