Franken-Coleman Recount Update: Equal Protection?
As mentioned yesterday, Norm Coleman’s last big trick up his sleeve — before he decides to actually do a full-on set of lawsuits — is to try and use the Minnesota Supreme Court’s foolishly-trusting nature against the Franken campaign, by setting up one set of standards for challenging "fifth pile" ballots in Democratic counties and a totally different, and more lenient, set of standards for Republican counties. And as Nate Silver reports, the Franken campaign, in St. Louis County at least, might be letting the Coleman people get away with it. Or are they?
See, the whole reason the Coleman camp has any power at all over the fifth-pile ballots is because they insisted that, rather than allowing the county elections boards to review the ballots according to their own rules, a standard set of rules be developed, in the name of "equal protection" (yes, the Coleman people love citing Bush v. Gore even though Nino Scalia sez you’re not supposed to). Now that’s all well and good. But what isn’t well and good is that the Coleman people insisted that the campaigns, instead of just the county boards and the state canvassing board, have a say in how those standards — standards that are supposed to apply equally to all of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties — are set. And the Soops — with the notable exception of Alan Page — fell for this.
However, the Coleman people are being rather blatant in their blowing off of the very "equal protection" trope they claim to cherish. For example, as reported by the MnIndy, see how they’re handling the fifth-pile ballots in Anoka County: Coleman’s camp gave the back of its hand to Anoka County Elections Supervisor Rachel Smith after only ten minutes yesterday by refusing to proceed unless additional ballots that they picked out — ballots that hadn’t been selected by county staff for counting — were included. This despite the fact that neighboring Sherburne County was allowed by Coleman’s partisans to continue its review despite refusing to count similarly-cherry-picked ballots offered up by Coleman camp reps in that county:
[Smith] said Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s office helped Dakota County avoid the same scenario at another regional meeting this afternoon — and in her opinion that bodes well for renewed efforts in Anoka. Why didn’t Anoka take the approach of neighboring Sherburne County and simply refuse to review additional ballots proposed by the Coleman camp? “I was fine with doing that,” Smith told MnIndy — but when Coleman’s representative refused to proceed the review was stopped in its tracks.
You can watch the entire aborted ten-minute meeting here, thanks to The UpTake. You can also read more about the differences between the Anoka and Sherburne situations here, thanks to the Minnesota Independent.
But even with the separate and unequal ballot treatment promoted by the Coleman campaign, things are still looking grim for the Normster. How grim? John Cornyn had an ickle widdle hissy fit when Harry Reid and Amy Klobuchar talked about Al Franken being seated in the upcoming Senate in a few weeks. He cited the bogus "duplicate ballots" nonsense as an alleged reason not to seat Al, even though the state and various county canvassing boards have strongly denounced, if not openly mocked, that particular gambit.