Franken camp finds 6,400 uncounted absentee ballots
(Update at bottom: Canvassing board rejects Franken camp request, but not on merits of case)
With the recount in the razor-thin Minnesota U.S. Senate race continuing into its second week, Democratic candidate Al Franken's campaign says it has uncovered 6,400 rejected absentee ballots and will ask a state board to count at least some of those votes.
Campaign attorney Marc Elias said Tuesday that the campaign received the rejected ballots from 66 of the state's 87 counties, according to the Associated Press. In some instances, clerical errors or oversight caused the ballot to be improperly rejected.
Franken is running to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Elections officials have recounted nearly 80 percent of the more than 2 million ballots cast in the Senate race.
Coleman's lead has shrunk since election day but still stands at 211 votes, according to figures compiled by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Franken's campaign, meanwhile, estimates the lead is less than half that and says their candidate is just 84 votes behind.
Each campaign is challenging more than 1,500 votes each, not counting any of the just-discovered absentee ballots Franken plans to ask to have included.
Franken's campaign also says several dozen ballots have gone missing.
The state canvassing board will convene next month to rule whether to count the disputed ballots. Its verdicts on the 3,000-plus ballots at issue likely will decide the election.
Canvassing board rejects Franken camp request, but not on merits of case
The AP reports, "In a blow to Democrat Al Franken, absentee ballots that were rejected by poll workers won't be included in Minnesota's Senate recount."
"A state elections board decided it does not have the authority to decide whether rejected absentee ballots in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race should be counted, but the five-member board this morning agreed that any absentee votes that were not counted should be part of an on-going recount," Don Davis reports for the Minn. State Capitol Bureau.
Bob von Sternberg, who liveblogged the board meeting for the Star Tribune notes, "During the discussion, they stressed the fact that they weren’t rejecting the merits of the arguments made by Franken’s attorneys.They also made it clear they’re fully expecting this issue to be litigated separately from the recount procedure."
"We do not have the authority to review rejected absentee ballots," Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin said. "That's the bottom line."
This video is from CNN.com, broadcast Nov. 26, 2008.
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