Coleman Could Gain 3 Votes — Only 222 More To Go

Norm Coleman may have just made a little bit of progress in his election lawsuit, with the potential to gain back three votes that had been lost during the recount. Now if he can get those in, he’ll just have to work on making up the remaining 222 votes in Al Franken’s lead.

This all goes back to the duplication process for absentee ballots that have been damaged, a standard process performed at the precincts on Election Night. At a precinct in the Republican stronghold of Anoka County, three labelled duplicates were found for which the labelled originals could not be located. The decision made at the time was to assume that the originals weren’t properly labelled and were elsewhere in the count, so the duplicates shouldn’t be included.

The problem with this: Throwing out these three duplicates, sans the originals, meant that Norm had lost exactly three votes in this precinct during the recount, compared to the Election Night totals.

While she was on the stand today, Anoka County elections manager Rachel Smith said she was looking yesterday through envelopes containing stacks of ballots…and found the originals, which are now back at her office. Normally there would be serious chain of custody problems for ballots that are found at this stage, but the match-up with the Election Night totals could give Coleman an opening to get these votes in.At a post-court press conference, Coleman lawyer Ben Ginsberg said the found ballots “stand in stark contract to the arguments that the Franken campaign had the nerve to make at the Minnesota Supreme Court today,” in Franken’s lawsuit to be provisionally certified as the winner and sent off to Washington.

Speaking of Franken, the apparent-provisional-sort-of-winner has a new op-ed piece in today’s Rochester Post-Bulletin, breaking his silence and making his case to the people of Minnesota that he should be seated:

With new job cuts announced nearly every day, foreclosure rates still climbing, and middle class families being squeezed harder than ever, it’s clear that we have a lot of important work to do, especially here in Minnesota.

So needless to say, I am eager to get to work. At a time when our economy needs a dramatic boost, President Obama needs partners in the U.S. Senate to get it done.