Coleman Camp: Count Every Vote — All of Them

January 19, 2009 12:06 p.m.

Now this is an interesting new gambit from the Coleman campaign. They’re now calling for all 12,000 rejected absentee ballots — regardless of whether the local officials think they were properly tossed based on state law — to be counted.

Previously the Coleman campaign was only trying to put about 650 rejected envelopes into the count, which came almost entirely from precincts that he had carried in the election. If Coleman were to succeed at this latest move — which at first glance looks unlikely, as it would require throwing out the state laws governing absentee ballots — would it help him?

Intuitively, it would seem as if errors in filling out absentee ballots would make up a random sampling of all absentee ballots — which as we know, went overall to Al Franken by a comfortable margin. On the other hand, as we’ve reported, both campaigns have demonstrated a skill for figuring out which voters they’d like to get into the count and which voters they’d like to keep out.

So does the Coleman campaign know something about these ballots that the rest of us don’t? Or is this some sort of statistical Hail Mary pass — a blind attempt to try something new, since the alternative is to continue on their present course and still lose?

Late Update: Franken spokesman Andy Barr just sent us a statement ridiculing Coleman for first opposing the counting of rejected ballots, then agreeing, then opposing, then agreeing and so on: “We’re not going to respond to any proposal they make until they figure out what, exactly, their proposal is.”

Full statement after the jump.

“First the Coleman campaign said there were no wrongly rejected absentee ballots. Then they said there might be a ‘handful.’ Then they went to court to stop any of them from being reviewed and counted. Then they rejected our proposal to count all the ballots identified by county elections officials as having been wrongly rejected. Then in their election contest, they questioned whether the court should ignore the 950 ballots that had been reviewed and counted by a process they’d agreed to – and substitute 650 ballots they pulled from thin air.

“It seems like the shake-up of the Coleman legal team has resulted in even more confusion on their side. Yesterday, one set of their attorneys proposed to our attorneys that they wanted all 11,000 rejected absentee ballots to be counted, regardless of whether they’d been correctly rejected or not. And today, another set of their attorneys are telling the press that they want all 12,000 rejected absentee ballots to be reviewed by some other process.

“We’re not going to respond to any proposal they make until they figure out what, exactly, their proposal is.”

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