Coleman Apparently Laying Groundwork For Appeal

February 17, 2009 7:36 a.m.

Norm Coleman’s legal team is clearly getting an early start on a very important task: Laying the groundwork for an appeal.

Yesterday they asked the court to reconsider their ruling to not count certain categories of rejected ballots. And today they’ve continued to submit evidence from one of those categories into the record, ballots for which the voter failed to sign the application form.

The reason you would continue to submit evidence in a rejected category, to put it simply, is to make an appeal much easier. Coleman’s team is building up the evidentiary record that can be used in an appeals court — or perhaps the Senate itself — and the evidence will be assembled in case a higher judge rules with them as a matter of law that they should be counted.

So there you go.In another piece of news, the court today granted the Franken team’s request to be able to modify and expand the pool of rejected ballots that they’ll be allowed to plead from, after the court had previously given a similar permission to Coleman. It should be noted that the court waited until after last week’s key ruling to not count certain kinds of ballots, before formally giving Franken this new go-ahead.

In other words, the Franken camp is on notice for which types of ballots they shouldn’t bother with. Their new submission is due on Friday.

And speaking of Coleman’s ballots, Franken lawyer David Lillehaug has been demonstrating in court today that the remaining set of rejected ballots from Coleman — currently estimated at around 3,300 — still contains duds. Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg submitted a set of ballots to Wright County auditor Robert Hiivala — whose county went 51%-29% for Norm — on the grounds that there were improper rejections for supposed signature mismatches.

Lillehaug then got up and laid out how some of these ballots had additional problems, such as a residential address in another precinct (or even another county), which the court has already ruled would disqualify them.

Friedberg then said he submitted ballots where the “ostensible” reason for rejection was signature mismatch. He very frankly admitted in one case that he didn’t catch the other problem, and he apologized.

Fiedberg also submitted a list of ballots rejected because the voter wasn’t registered — and admitted that the campaign is still sorting through them. “We are gonna come back when we have proof that some of these were registered,” Friedberg said, “which I believe will be a much more efficient process.”

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