Election Worker Admits She’s “Somewhat” Sympathetic To Coleman

Franken lawyer David Lillehaug today questioned Pamela Howell, the precinct election worker from Minneapolis whose testimony on potential double-counting of ballots has become the center of controversy due to the Coleman camp’s prior efforts to hide evidence surrounding her. He’s been spending time running her down as a partisan, pro-Coleman witness — and she hasn’t exactly been disagreeing.

Lillehaug reviewed with Howell the fact that she spoke and e-mailed numerous times with Team Coleman during the recount and this past January. On the other hand, she refused all opportunities to speak with Franken lawyers when they’d previously attempted to contact her:

Lillehaug: And that’s because, fundamentally, your sympathies were with Senator Coleman, correct?

Howell: Not — not my object.

Lillehaug: But your sympathies were with him, were they not?

Howell: Somewhat.

Howell has been called because of a failure to properly label a small number of duplicated absentee ballots in her precinct — and at the very start of the recount, she began phoning the Coleman campaign about it. Lillehaug pointed out that she had no way of knowing who benefited from this in her Minneapolis precinct, because she couldn’t know which individual ballots were copied and not properly marked:

Lillehaug: You trusted that even if the clerical error had benefited Mr. Coleman, that his attorneys would bring it to the court – you just didn’t know?

Howell: I didn’t know.

Lillehaug: You trusted them.

Howell: They would do the right thing.

Lillehaug: You trusted them.

Howell: You never know.

Later on, under examination by lead Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg, Howell said she took steps to conceal her story from the Franken side because she wanted it out of the general public eye — and she worried about what her Democratic neighbors would do:

Howell: Well, I did not want the press at my door, and I did not want a target on my back.

Friedberg: What do you mean by that?

Howell: I live in south Minneapolis, and it’s a predominantly DFL area. And I’d just feel vulnerable.

Friedberg: You have friends in both parties?

Howell: I do.

Friedberg: Was this directed more towards not wanting your name out there, and people talking about you?

Howell: Yes.