We’ve now found a case of lead Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg actually being concerned about ballot fraud, and wanting to keep a vote out as a result — so much so that he’ll speculate about a Franken-voter being mentally disabled.
Really. No joke.
In court just now, lead Franken lawyer Marc Elias went over a rejected ballot envelope for which he said a power of attorney had been granted by a disabled voter, to allow a family member to fill it out. The issue was that the mark made to authorize the family member was not a signature or a conventional “X”, but was instead an amorphous scribble. Elias and Goodhue County elections official Carolyn Holmsted spent some time hashing it out.
Then Friedberg took issue with this whole idea of the power of attorney to fill out a ballot, which is a specifically allowed clause in Minnesota law for disabled voters.
“And normally, people give powers of attorney because they’re incompetent, mentally disabled,” Friedberg began, before he was interrupted by a very loud objection from the Franken side.
“Your honor, this door was opened,” Friedberg replied.The judges sustained the objection as to how Friedberg was phrasing this, but allowed him to continue with the line of inquiry.
Friedberg then discussed how if the power of attorney was granted because the voter was mentally incompetent, then obviously the ballot is invalid — but if it’s because of a physical disability, it’s valid. The problem, Friedberg offered, is that we don’t know.
Friedberg debated the idea of delegating authority to fill out a ballot. “I can’t give my ability to decide who to vote for to someone else, can I?” he said, before the Franken camp successfully objected.
He then rephrased: “To be more specific, John Clarence Albert can’t give his decision-making process in relation to who to vote for to anybody else, can he?” This, too, met a successful objection.
He tried again: “You have no idea whether John Albert even knows that someone even voted on his behalf, do you?” Friedberg said. After this was objected to, Friedberg simply asked whether Holmsted had ever seen a mark like this before — she hadn’t.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane: Joe Friedberg once offered up the idea that someone had illegally signed and voted in two ballots for himself and his wife, but said that one of them should be counted. He also previously declared that he didn’t care about the procedures to prevent ballot fraud.