Franken-Coleman recount: Supremes order process to count absentee ballots

Never one to take a day off, the Minnesota Supreme Court this morning issued an order formalizing the process to open the 1,600 or so improperly rejected absentee ballots yet to be counted in the Coleman-Franken recount.

The order follows a recommendation made to the justices yesterday by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and the campaigns.

Key elements: Votes must be counted by Jan. 4, and the privacy of the voters will be maintained because the ballots will be opened as a group in St. Paul, not in each precinct.

The tricky issue: Via Data Practices Act requests, campaigns and others know which voters’ ballots may have been rejected. If, in a small precinct, one absentee ballot was improperly rejected, it’s possible to know whose ballot that is.

By aggregating all the improperly rejected ballots in St. Paul, votes can’t be traced to specific counties and, so, voters.

Privacy is preserved.

For the full order (PDF), go to the Supreme Court’s recount web site and scroll to the middle of the page, click on “Order 12-24-08.”

That page has all the recount documents filed with the court, which could make for some time-consuming holiday reading.

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