Monday at the state Supreme Court
- June 1, 2009 - 7:45 PM
What happened: The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments in Republican Norm Coleman's appeal of a lower-court ruling that DFLer Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race by 312 votes.
Arguments: Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg argued that many rejected absentee ballots were similar to others that were counted, with the difference in treatment from local officials' decisions. Friedberg also said the lower court had invoked strict standards for accepting absentee ballots that would have invalidated some already-counted ballots.
Franken attorney Marc Elias contended that the election was essentially sound, with some "garden-variety" variations that are to be expected and didn't violate voters' rights. He said that Coleman offered arguments rather than evidence that there were widespread disparities in the handling of ballots.
Questions for Coleman: Justices pressed Friedberg on what concrete evidence Coleman had presented to support his arguments. Friedberg said, in part, that numbers painted a compelling picture and that the lower court had limited the evidence his side could present during the trial.
Questions for Franken: Justices asked Elias whether some absentee ballots that were counted should not have been and, if so, whether it could be known who got the most legally cast votes in the election. Elias said that some ballots may have been admitted in error but not enough to change the outcome.
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