Franken Lawyer: Coleman Has Switched Positions On Rejecting Votes

The Minnesota election trial is continuing today, after the Franken campaign spent the morning laying out their claim that Norm Coleman’s legal arguments at this point cannot be taken at face value.

Specifically, Franken attorney David Lillehaug reviewed rejected absentee ballots that were vetoed by the Coleman campaign, under the state Supreme Court’s controversial decision that gave the candidates a veto power over improperly-rejected absentees. The presentation made an interesting display of the Coleman camp’s reasons for rejecting ballots then — and though Lillehaug didn’t directly say it just yet, it provides a contrast to Coleman’s positions now:

• A ballot was rejected because the witness failed to fill in their address. This past Monday, Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg was arguing that a lighter standard should be used to include ballots such as these.

• A ballot was affirmed by the Coleman camp as being properly rejected because the voter failed to sign their absentee application, but were given the ballot anyway. Yesterday, Friedberg was saying this sort of state negligence wasn’t a specific legal reason to throw out a vote.• The voter included their registration card inside the special secrecy envelope for the ballot, rather than outside that envelope. Friedberg was arguing yesterday that these ballots should be included.

• The signature on the ballot envelope didn’t match the one on the application. The Coleman team now believes extra leniency should be applied in matching up signatures — even going so far as to advocate for a man who admits that someone else forged his signature on the application.

At this point we start to see some redeeming qualities of the state Supremes’ decision. Because the campaigns listed with each veto the reason for doing it, they appear to have locked themselves into the idea that particular reasons for rejecting ballots were legal and valid ones. In other words, it may be very difficult to litigate one’s way out of this.