Al Franken’s last resort…

is an attack on the result based on the rejection of certain absentee ballots from the tabulation. Franken now anticipates losing the recount. And Franken stands ready to call on the Senate to reject the result he anticipates in the recount.

We’ve noted the threat aimed by Franken at the heads of Minnesota authorities in the event his position on rejected absentee ballots is not adopted. Yesterday the head of Franken’s legal team reiterated it for the benefit of the press including The Hill:

Franken attorney Marc Elias made the case to reporters Monday that as many as 1,000 absentee ballots were improperly disqualified and that the Senate or the courts may need to step in to resolve the issue.

“No recount can be considered accurate or complete until all the ballots cast by lawful voters are counted,” Elias said of the recount that became necessary when only about 200 votes separated the two candidates on Nov. 4.

Minnesota’s Board of Canvassers ruled last Wednesday that it would not revisit the improperly disqualified ballots. The bipartisan board ruled unanimously that it did not have the authority to order that the ballots be reviewed and counted.

Elias said that of the 12,000 disqualified absentee ballots in the race, “as many as 1,000” ballots were improperly excluded, and should be counted. He added that the campaign would appeal to the Board of Canvassers, courts or the U.S. Senate to ensure those ballots are counted. Last week, Elias had indicated that the campaign would not directly appeal the board’s ruling.

The U.S. Constitution allows each congressional chamber to be the “Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the Board of Canvassers’ decision to not count the absentee ballots “a cause for great concern” last week, fueling speculation that the Senate would explore the legality of the Minnesota recount’s results.

“If ultimately there is no remedy before the canvassing board or before the courts, then that is certainly an option,” Elias said of the Senate’s potential intervention in the election results.

Threatening the authorities who hold your case in their hands is not usually a winning strategy. Yet Franken appears to see little prospect of winning the election the old-fashioned way.

As the recount nears completion, with more than 91 percent of the votes recounted, MinnPost’s David Brauer reports that “Coleman’s recount margin keeps growing in the late innings.”

According to MinnPost’s calculation, Coleman now holds a 344-vote lead over Franken. The Star Tribune pegs Coleman’s lead at 340 votes. Brauer concludes that time is running out for Franken “in this phase.”

For Franken, if Elias is to be taken at his word, turning to his allies in the Senate to overturn the result arrived at in Minnesota is the final phase.

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