Coleman Lawyer To Team Franken: I Got Your Estoppel Right Here

The Coleman campaign just had some fun with the Franken campaign, who have accused them of reversing all their positions on counting votes. The Coleman reply: So have you!

The Franken camp spent yesterday and this morning reading over the vast number of examples where the Coleman campaign argued that the requirements for properly filling out absentee ballots should be strictly construed, and that absentee voting is not a right but a privilege. By contrast, the Coleman camp is now arguing for lenient standards to bring in more ballots.

So Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg just got up for another turn, bringing up legal filings by the Franken campaign from during in the recount, a mix of direct Franken arguments or favorable quotations from prior case law:

• “The Minnesota courts have repeatedly emphasized that the overriding concern in interpretation of the election laws is the enfranchisement of voters. Consequently, all ballots cast in substantial compliance with the law must be counted.”

• “As long as there is substantial compliance with the laws and no showing of fraud or bad faith, the true result of an election should not be defeated by an innocent failure to comply strictly with the statute, and mere irregularities in following statutory procedure will often be overlooked.”• The rules are “generally directory and not mandatory. Procedural rules cannot override the principle that all validly cast ballots must be counted.”

• “Because the principle of voter enfranchisement is paramount, election officials may count absentee ballots even when doing so conflicts with a technical procedural rule.”

The Franken campaign has argued that Coleman can’t make his current arguments under the doctrines of estoppel and invited error — that is, he can’t switch positions if his old ones suddenly become self-detrimental. The Coleman team’s reply is that the Franken camp isn’t an honest player in making that argument at all, and that Franken has himself endorsed Coleman’s current positions and should be embracing them now.

And at the end of the day, Coleman’s lawyers are now saying, it’s the voters’ rights that count.