Franken-Coleman Recount Update, 12/13/08: Who’s Suing Who?
There was a time recently when you couldn’t read the local paper or hear the local radio or TV news without hearing somebody speaking for the Coleman campaign claiming that Al Franken and his evil lawyers were just itching to unleash some sort of frivolous action that would slow or stop the recount and turn it into Florida 2000. The irony is that even before November 4, the Coleman team was busy with bogus legal action, like this lawsuit against the Franken campaign that Franken’s people suspected was a ruse to draw attention away from the Nasser Kazeminy scandal. Afterwards, Norm Coleman and his own lawyer "hordes" tried all sorts of tricks, including yet another lawsuit and launching evidence-free attacks against Minnesota’s Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, to try and stop the recount that was mandated by Minnesota law. Now, Al Franken has indeed brought forth at least one legal action, but always with intent to ensure that all countable ballots are indeed counted. Norm Coleman, on the other hand, has always chosen to try to keep ballots from being counted, be it to exclude absentee ballots that were wrongly rejected initially, or to stop the entire recount itself.
Now we find that, in response to the State Canvassing Board’s recommending that county elections boards review rejected absentee ballots to search for those that were wrongly eliminated from the initial count, the Coleman camp has petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to stop this from happening, arguing that since each county will be doing its own counting, standards need to be set forth; the Franken campaign argues in turn that such standards already exist. Since forty-seven counties have finished and reported on these counts, and twenty-seven other of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties are in the midst of this process, the Coleman camp’s petition, if granted, would add more days (if not weeks) of delay. Even if the state code didn’t already have provisions for this, I suspect that the fact that all but thirteen of the eighty-seven counties are already reviewing the rejected absentee ballots would be enough in itself to cause the state Supreme Court to agree with the Franken team and leave well enough alone.
If you’re wondering why I’m not posting the current "official" recount numbers, it’s because that until the ballot challenges go away and all the ballots that can and should be counted are indeed counted, no tally that currently exists has any meaning.