In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Team Franken Tackles The Coleman Electoral-Uncertainty Principle

Some other key moments this afternoon illustrated a disadvantage that the Coleman legal team really has against Team Franken. Hamilton moved to introduce CD-ROMs with a custom-filtered database -- that is, a report culled from the state's entire voter-registration database, containing info on the voters at issue here and with private identifying information not displayed. Hamilton said this was a better way to present evidence than what the Coleman team did, which was to get certified printouts for each individual voter from the Secretary of State.

Lead Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg objected, and had to spend some time talking to DFL technological director Jared Nordlund about how this works. Friedberg was repeatedly asking if information was being manipulated, altered or deleted. Nordlund and Hamilton explained that they started with a certified copy of the full Secretary of State database, updated as of March 1, 2009, and have used the report-builder function in Microsoft Access to build a custom file with the voter information at issue in this case.

Friedberg's best-evidence objection seemed a bit odd, considering how the Coleman side got in serious trouble in the first week of the trial for using bad photocopies with key information removed or writing added on. But instead, he referred back to this episode, saying how his side got in trouble for using copies with "smudge marks."

The judges allowed it, after Hamilton showed that the information is all verifiable from the original certified copy of the state database. Later on, Friedberg began making similar inquiries about database functionality with Mansky. And two possibilities became clear: Either Friedberg was deliberately trying to cast undue doubt on the validity of the the Franken evidence, as inferior to the stuff his side procured through a much more costly and time-consuming method -- or he doesn't understand the technology.

At his post-court press conference, Coleman spokesman Ben Ginsberg noted that the court accepted the CD-ROM, but added: "We may have ongoing objections to individual voters using their manufactured and manipulated sheets, from their own construction."

(Ginsberg presser c/o The Uptake.)