Lost and found in Minnesota

Norm Coleman’s lead lawyer in the election contest proceeding is the prominent attorney Joe Friedberg, who made his name doing criminal defense work. So far Friedberg is proceeding methodically to make Senator Coleman’s case through examinations of local election officials with a focus on rejected absentee ballots.

It isn’t clear to me where the case is going, but yesterday’s proceedings featured the “minor bombshell” dropped by Anoka County election offical Rachel Smith. Smith testified that county officials had discovered “a dozen or more [absentee] ballots that were never counted in the statewide recount that ended last month.” The discovery includes:

  • Three military ballots for Coleman from a Spring Lake Park precinct that were originally duplicated and misplaced before the recount. They were found in a large envelope containing discarded absentee-ballot return envelopes.
  • Six absentee ballots that were found inside their original return envelopes and have never been counted.
  • Several other ballots that were rejected for one reason or another, but that the county now says should be reconsidered.

On Friday Washington County election official Kevin Corbid also wrote to the three-judge panel hearing the election contest that the county has discovered two ballots that have neither been counted nor rejected.

When 133 ballots went missing in a Hennepin County precinct during the recount, Al Franken demanded a forensic investigation to locate them. After the recount produced his minuscule lead, Franken lost interest in counting all legally cast ballots. Now it’s time to move on.

Rachel Stassen-Berger reports that Franken refers to himself as a “senator-elect” as he prepares to assume office. Stassen-Berger also quotes Franken referring to “1.8 million jobs we’ve lost in the last three months since my election.” Suffering his own peculiar variation of a common male malady, Franken has developed a bad case of premature electionation.

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