Recount update: What the Supreme Court held

I wrote about the most Minnesota Supreme Court order regarding the recount here. On Wednesday the Supreme Court denied Senator Coleman’s petition for relief on the issue of double counting in the recount. The double counting issue involves approximately 130 absentee ballots that the Coleman campaign contends were counted twice for Franken.

The Supreme Court deferred consideration of the issue to the election contest. An election contest is a judicial proceeding provided by state law to make the final determination who received “the highest number of votes legally cast at the election and is therefore entitled to receive the certificate of election.”

In its order, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated that it could not resolve the double counting issue raised by Senator Coleman based on the record presented “in this abbreviated proceeding.” The Supreme Court expressed no opinion one way or the other on the merits of Senator Coleman’s claim of double counting. It simply held that the issue “is better suited to an evidentiary hearing and fact-finding[.]”

Nate Silver characterizes the Supreme Court order as deciding “that Coleman hadn’t presented enough evidence” to support his claim of double counting. Josh Marshall asserted that the Supreme Court order “put the kibosh on Coleman’s last credible legal angle.” Other left-leaning sites expressed similar views.

Because I find the views expressed by Silver et al. to be misleading, I wanted to clarify what the Supreme Court decision of this past Wedesday actually says.

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