Five Minnesota television stations have filed a lawsuit in a bid to get copies of rejected absentee ballots cast in the U.S. Senate contest between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.

KSTP and KSTC of the Twin Cities, Duluth's WDIO, KAAL of Austin and Rochester and KSAX of Alexandria are at odds with Ramsey County concerning what the stations argue is public information under state data-practices law.

In June, an attorney for the stations sent a letter to the county asking to copy all the uncounted absentee ballots from the state's November general election. The stations, all owned by Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., also asked for data that would show why those ballots were rejected.

"There continues to be widespread doubt and concern in Minnesota about how the state's election laws functioned" last fall, the stations said in an Aug. 5 district court complaint. The Legislature is likely to talk about those concerns in coming months, they argued, and the debate and its possible outcomes will depend on "the availability of detailed and accurate information about the problems" related to the election.