Our former law partner Norm Carpenter writes with a prediction concerning the Minnesota Senate recount:
Here’s what will happen. The count will come down to rejected absentee ballots. These ballots will have been rejected in many cases on “procedural” grounds: no check in the box on why an absentee ballot was requested, no signature, etc. The person who submitted these ballots is known and can be contacted (we have already seen this happen).
So…all the ballots are collected and the DFL will argue that “mere” irregularities should not prevent the ballot from being counted; after all, the voter’s intent is clear, and the voter was not aware of any mistake by the election officials. The Republicans will argue that the requirements are in the statute for a reason, and if the procedures are not followed the ballots have to be rejected.
Screams at this point from the Franken supporters: there is no fraud, it is just that Republicans do not want all the votes to be counted. The will of the people is being thwarted. Republicans answer that the we can’t have retroactive validation, the statues govern.
The canvassing board goes for the Republicans, 3-2. Appeal to the courts. Rallies outside the courthouse, marches through the streets (all orchestrated in Washington.) Nick Coleman has apoplexy.
The New York Times weighs in with an editorial that the courts have to correct procedural cavils. Democrats win. The people have spoken: to get to the US Senate, write for Playboy and go on SNL.
Norm Carpenter’s scenario assumes that Senator Coleman prevails in the recount conducted according to Hoyle. The scenario is otherwise predicated on the strategy that has been already implemented by the Franken campaign in lawsuits seeking the identity of voters who cast rejected absentee ballots. As reported here by the Star Tribune’s Kevin Duchschere last week, for example, a Ramsey County (St. Paul) district court judge granted Franken’s request for injunctive relief ordering county officials to release such data to the Franken campaign.
Assuming that Senator Coleman prevails in the recount and the canvassing board supports the rejection of nonconforming absentee ballots, I think Norm Carpenter’s prediction is a good bet. In any event, it is one that supporters of the rule of law should be prepared to handle.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt finds this scenario unlikely.
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