Minn.'s biggest county now in recount spotlight


(AP) - Election officials from Minnesota's biggest county are moving to the witness stand as the trial over the disputed U.S. Senate race tiptoes along.

City clerks from two Hennepin County suburbs took questions Thursday over their handling of absentee ballots, particularly those that weren't counted because of perceived deficiencies.

Lawyers for Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken are trying to include ballots that benefit themselves and block those that could mean an extra vote for their opponent.

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Each one could prove vital because Franken holds to a 225-vote lead after a statewide recount.

Coleman's team sought to use the Minnetonka and Eden Prairie clerk testimony to show that ballot standards were inconsistently applied.

Outside court, his lawyers again criticized a judicial order limiting the number of uncounted ballots that will be considered.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)