On a conference call with reporters just now, Norm Coleman’s legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg reaffirmed that the Coleman campaign is appealing yesterday’s defeat in the election court, which declared that Al Franken won the election.
“We have been reviewing the court’s order and we feel that they have misunderstood a number of the issues as well as what’s at stake in this case,” said Ginsberg. “And so let me reiterate what we have said so that there is absolutely no mistake about this: Senator Coleman and Cullen Sheehan [Coleman’s campaign manager and co-plaintiff] will be appealing this decision from the three-judge court.”
Ginsberg laid out the various issues that are ripe for appeal — which were pretty much all the issues. The most in-depth treatment was given to the question of rejected absentee ballots, with Ginsberg insisting that it was a constitutional violation to not include the roughly 4,400 envelopes from the Coleman camp’s list. Ginsberg also pointed out that these ballots came mostly from precincts that Coleman won, and at the precinct level this becomes a decent predictor of what the votes will be.“The court was very defensive of the Minnesota system,” said Ginsberg. “The purpose of a contest is to be protective of the rights of the voters. And instead of spending so much time patting themselves on the back about the Minnesota system, the court really missed the big picture that I think, in its prior rulings, the Minnesota Supreme Court has been conscious of.”
Ginsberg said the formal notice of appeal would likely be filed next week, after they’ve had some time to look into the details of the ruling and construct their arguments. They have a ten-day period in which to file it. Ginsberg also said the election contest law carries with it an automatic right to be heard by the state Supreme Court.
“This really is a clarion call that the system of election administration in this country is broken,” said Ginsberg, who previously served on the Bush legal team during the Florida 2000 litigation. And Ginsberg warned that the problems inherent in an election system, even one as good as Minnesota, can’t get fixed if the state sweeps them under the rug rather than acknowledging them.