Today was another fun day in the never-ending disaster that is the Minnesota trial. The Coleman campaign presented this week about 100 absentee ballots that they said were wrongly rejected because local officials mistakenly believed the witnesses weren’t registered voters. And then Franken lawyer David Lillehaug demolished them.
Lillehaug went over the voter registration system with state Elections Director Gary Poser, showing that many of these witnesses weren’t actually registered at the time they signed those ballot envelopes.
Lillehaug went over ballot after ballot, getting Poser to say that they were properly rejected, either because of this witness issue or for another registration problem. The Star Tribune estimates it at around 100 ballots — which would be roughly the total amount in the latest batch — and that sounds about right.
At one point, Lillehaug asked if Coleman’s people had asked how to properly read the database.
Now this isn’t a surprise that so many ballots offered by a campaign would be struck down. The point here is that Lillehaug was damaging what seemed to be some of Coleman’s better prospects.During his post-court press conference, Coleman spokesman/lawyer Ben Ginsberg took this on from two standpoints. For one thing, he thinks a lot of people really did register in a timely way, but their registration materials weren’t correctly entered into the system later. For what it’s worth, it’s quite possible this could be true in some cases.
But mainly, Ginsberg returned to the legal argument that the Coleman camp has been using ever since the court ruled against Coleman’s efforts to seek lenience on letting in ballots (which Ginsberg has referred to ominously as the “Friday The 13th Ruling”). Since it can be established that ballots were accepted on Election Night that wouldn’t pass muster under current standards, then this would mean the entire certified vote count is tainted.
“It is a situation I think that creates a real mess for the court,” Ginsberg said, saying that today’s developments would mean the current totals are “no longer reliable in the least.”
Ginsberg said he doesn’t really want to try to declare the prior votes were illegal — really, he disagrees with the strict standard: “I’m saying you can’t have it both ways.”
The Coleman camp’s strategy seems to be to cast doubt on the entire score — and to force this court or an appeals court to reverse that ruling on strict standards.
(Ginsberg presser c/o The Uptake.)