Minnesota About To Count More Votes

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The Minnesota election contest is headed into one of its final steps this morning, with officials from the Secretary of State’s office preparing to count previously-rejected ballots, after the judges reviewed 387 envelopes yesterday and approved counting an as yet undisclosed number of them. Judge Elizabeth Hayden has just handed down the list of ballots, but the number is not known at this moment.

Video is being carried by our good friends at The Uptake, and the counting itself could happen any minute now, after the envelopes are organized and the ballots separated from them.

Just now, Coleman attorney Tony Trimble just requested a 15-minute recess to review the list, and Hayden refused to grant it, saying the court was ready to proceed.

Meanwhile, the Franken camp sent an e-mail last night to their supporter list, from campaign manager Stephanie Schriock and lead attorney Marc Elias, with Elias explaining that things looked good for them:

Essentially, the Court agreed that the law should be followed as written. That’s exactly what our argument has been all along. And although Coleman is likely to appeal in the hopes of finding a venue less picky about the rule of law, our analysis shows that the meticulousness of the Court’s procedure and ruling would make such an appeal a difficult proposition.

Full Franken camp e-mail after the jump.

Late Update: Judge Hayden just let everybody know that even if an observer for a candidate were to leave the table, the process would still continue.

Al Franken for Senate

Dear Friend,

Needless to say, it’s been a long road for our campaign since election day. From the recount, to the canvassing board, to the election contest trial – being involved in this process has been an amazing experience and an absolute honor for me. We can be truly proud of our election system and the officials who make it work.

It has taken a lot of dedicated people and financial resources to see this process through, and we’re not done yet. Our supporters have been incredibly generous with their time and contributions every step of the way. So today, on behalf of Al and the rest of our team, I want to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who has helped out. We would not be where we are today without all of you.

At this point, you’re probably wondering: where, exactly, are we today? The contest court issued a pivotal ruling last week ordering the review of around 400 rejected absentee ballots, the majority of which will probably be counted tomorrow.

Press accounts are really detailed, but don’t always make a ton of sense to folks without a law degree. So to update you all on where things stand, I’m going to turn to the person who updates me, each and every day, on the status of this process – our lead attorney Marc Elias.

FROM: Marc

TO: Stephanie

CC: Email List

RE: Update for supporters

Stephanie,

The ruling from the Court shows that former Senator Coleman will have a hard time convincing anyone to overturn the results of this election.

Essentially, the Court agreed that the law should be followed as written. That’s exactly what our argument has been all along. And although Coleman is likely to appeal in the hopes of finding a venue less picky about the rule of law, our analysis shows that the meticulousness of the Court’s procedure and ruling would make such an appeal a difficult proposition.

After all, the original state canvassing board process was tri-partisan and fully transparent. The state canvassing board included four judges, including the Chief Justice and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The panel appointed for the election contest was very careful and took this seriously. And this ruling reflects weeks of testimony from dozens upon dozens of witnesses, not to mention hundreds of exhibits and nearly 20,000 pages of filings.

Now, we don’t know what’s in the envelopes the Court may order opened. But it is interesting to note that, at the end of this long process, our consistent argument regarding improperly rejected absentee ballots has been proven right.

We’ve always said that the vast majority of those ballots were rejected properly. We estimated that somewhere between 1,000 and 1,600 were rejected improperly. And it looks like the Court is going to end up agreeing with that range.

So, as we prepare for the final step in this process, we should feel good about where we stand.

-Marc

##

I hope that helps get everyone up to speed on where things stand. Thank you all, once again, for your support throughout this process. When Al Franken takes his seat as Minnesota’s junior Senator and goes to work for Minnesota’s middle-class families, we can all be proud of the work we’ve done to see this through.

Take Care,

Stephanie

Stephanie Schriock
Campaign Manager
Al Franken for Senate

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