Norm Coleman joined the conference call himself today, calling yesterday’s decision by the election contest panel “a great day” for Minnesota voters.  Coleman reminded people that he led on Election Night, before the recount, and he thinks that the decision will restore the correct result of the election.  Valid ballots should be counted, and that will erase Al Franken’s “artificial” lead.

Coleman expressed confidence in this panel, saying that the unanimous decision to apply statewide standards shows that they are focused on the law and what’s best for voters.  He expects as many as 100 Franken votes to get “washed away” when the panel takes up the issue of double-counted votes.  Between the 4800 absentee ballots that got counted and these invalid votes, Coleman expects to restore his election night lead.

Ben Ginsberg, Team Coleman’s counsel, says that they got “the entire universe” of wrongly rejected absentee ballots added back into the mix.

Questions:

  • Janet Beihoffer, SCSU Scholars: What type of districts are these ballots from? — We didn’t do a lot of checking on that, but the 953 ballots previously entered came from primarily Franken districts, so they assume these come from Republican-leaning districts that the previous recount ignored.
  • Me: Equal Protection Clause problems? — Ginsberg says there are some problems, but that the election contest panel specifically addressed this with their decision.  There will still be some claims on appeal, most likely, but Minnesota has very specific rules on absentee ballots that work with the EPC.  One mistake on one ballot should not validate all of the rejected ballots.  Florida, in contrast, had varying standards by county, which the Supreme Court rejected in Bush v Gore.
  • Me again: Have you heard from Reid after he bragged that he wouldn’t seat you? — “Are you sure he wasn’t talking about Roland Burris? … Harry Reid will not block me from being the Senator from Minnesota if the voters put me there.”
  • Amanda Carpenter, Townhall:  Have Franken’s tax problems been resolved? — No one really knows, because the media quit asking about them.  Coleman doesn’t think they’ve been resolved, but again, no one really knows for sure.
  • Philip Klein, Spectator:  Is this contest the end of the line, and please explain the duplicate ballot issue — Coleman says all he wants is a fair counting of the votes.  That should decide this election, not just exhausting legal remedies.  If we get a fair count and Franken wins, then he’ll abide by that result.  The duplicate issue is still forming at the election contest, so they’re not ready to analyze that quite yet.
  • Soren Dayton, Next Right: What’s the end game if Coleman wins?  Will the Senate seat you, or is there a possibility for a re-vote? — They don’t want to get into hypotheticals.  The tradition is that a signed certificate means the Senator gets seated.  Coleman expects the contest to result in a certified winner.