Franken Lobbies the Canvassing Board

In what may be one of the low points of modern political history, the Al Franken campaign has assembled a tear-jerker of a video, featuring Franken voters whose absentee ballots were allegedly rejected by mistake:

Why is Franken doing this? The Minnesota Canvassing Board will meet on Friday to consider Franken’s demand that it open inquiries into any absentee ballots that Franken claims were “improperly” disqualified. The video is part of Franken’s effort to put political pressure on the Board, and, failing that, to generate public support for the lawsuits he may file in counties across Minnesota.

As far as the Canvassing Board is concerned, I’m pretty sure Franken’s effort is doomed to failure. The Board has already made it clear that it views its role as strictly ministerial: “recounting” ballots that were cast on November 4, not adding new ballots to the pile, or deleting ballots from it.

Franken can still have recourse to litigation, of course. But if the Canvassing Board’s review of the challenged ballots has the expected outcome–a swing of very few votes one way or the other–and Norm Coleman still has a victory by 200 or so votes, it seems nearly certain that any legal challenge will fail. Even if Franken convinces courts across the state to hear appeals from citizens who claim their absentee ballots were mistakenly excluded, there is no reason to believe that the net result of such reconsiderations will favor Franken. If, as Franken claims, 1,000 absented ballots were mistakenly disqualified–the number can only be a guess–Franken voters in that group would have to outnumber Coleman voters by around 200, in a three-way race. It isn’t going to happen.

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