Minnesota Trial Hashes Out Possible Double-Counting — And Coleman’s Role In Creating It

The Minnesota election trial centered on a major claim of the Coleman campaign, claiming that absentee ballots were accidentally double-counted and gave an illegitimate leg-up to Al Franken.

The problem for them, though, is that this possibility came about under procedures to which they had agreed.

This all goes back to a procedure in Minnesota to make duplicates of absentee ballots that were too damaged to run through the machines on Election Night. After discussions with the two campaigns, state Elections Director Gary Poser created a rule for how to sort them in the recount. Unfortunately, scattered cases of negligence in creating or labeling the duplicates and originals introduced a bunch of problems.

Lead Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg questioned Poser about all of this, and even brought up an e-mail where Poser admitted to an unhappy county election official: “I don’t disagree, I lost that battle.”Then Franken lawyer David Lillehaug got up and showed who it was that defeated Poser: The Coleman campaign, and the Franken camp, too, who insisted on using original ballots. And when Poser sent out memos to clarify the procedures, after the problems first became apparent, Coleman lawyer Tony Trimble even responded that this was fine.

But starting in mid-December, the Coleman camp claimed that the application of this rule was “unilaterally imposed” by the state on the campaigns. If anything, as we saw from the examinations by both sides’ lawyers, this rule was imposed by the candidates on the state.

This does bring us back to the Coleman camp’s legal position at this point. They feel they are not bound by any prior positions or actions taken as a result of those positions, if they can argue the actions were illegal and/or made in error.

At his post-court press conference, Coleman lawyer/spokesman Ben Ginsberg responded: “It makes absolutely no sense to stick an agreement that is predicated on people following the law when in fact the law wasn’t followed.”

(Ginsberg press conference via The Uptake.)