During the Minnesota trial this morning, the Franken legal team has continued to hammer Norm Coleman for reversing his position on counting rejected absentee ballots -- so much so that he's asking for specific envelopes to be counted that he had successfully thrown out before.
Franken lawyer David Lillehaug has been cross-examining Dakota County elections manager Kevin Boyle, using the questioning as a vehicle to make this larger point. Lillehaug reviewed a Web page
that the Coleman campaign has put up, posting the names and home counties of all the thousands of rejected absentee voters for whom they're now advocating:
The page declares: "Check below to see if you are one of the thousands of Minnesotans the Franken campaign is seeking to disenfranchise."
Lillehaug then had Boyle confirm that there are ten individuals on the Dakota County list alone whose ballots were deemed by Boyle's office to have been wrongly rejected and would have been counted -- except the Coleman campaign vetoed them, under the decision by the state Supreme Court that gave the campaigns a veto over improperly-rejected absentees.
"And according to this exhibit, these are the people that Norm Coleman is suggesting the Franken
campaign is seeking to disenfranchise?" Lillehaug asked rhetorically.
Meanwhile, there is some hope that these proceedings could speed up soon. The three-judge panel has ordered the campaigns to file briefs arguing in clear terms whether they regard specific categories of rejected absentee votes as having been legally cast and worthy of counting -- for example, if a voter gave a different address on the ballot return envelope versus what was on their application form.
The court will be hearing oral arguments on these categories tomorrow afternoon, and could come down with some solid rulings on what kinds of votes will or won't get in.
This wouldn't, however, definitively answer the questions of whether individual ballots will be included. Even with established categories, there will still be plenty of room to argue over whether a ballot qualifies for the category. But it will at least set the terms of the debate, and that can go a long way towards making this easier.