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Coleman-Franken trial: Just how many absentee ballots should be recounted?

In documents filed with the three-judge election contest court, Al Franken’s legal team said this morning that Norm Coleman’s examination of previously rejected absentee ballots should be limited to the 650 or so ballots that he first sought to coun

In documents filed with the three-judge election contest court, Al Franken’s legal team said this morning that Norm Coleman’s examination of previously rejected absentee ballots should be limited to the 650 or so ballots that he first sought to count when he filed his contest lawsuit earlier this month.

The recounting of absentee ballots shouldn’t balloon to more than 10,000, Franken’s lawyers assert.

Seeking to count an additional 10,000 or so ballots now – after previously limiting its scope – is an “untimely reversal” of Coleman’s position, they argue.

Franken lawyer Marc Elias called Coleman’s position an “about-face … Don’t believe them when they say they want every vote counted.”

Elias said by seeking to recount more than 10,000 previously examined ballots, the Coleman side is unfairly attacking local county election officials, who, the lawyer said, had performed their   jobs admirably in evaluating and counting the total number of 288,000 absentee ballots.

Elias noted that the Coleman side, in its court case, is still trying to block 133 lost Minneapolis ballots and 171 found ballots in Maplewood, even though local officials and the State Canvassing Board allowed those in the recount.

He called the Coleman legal team “charter members of the Flat Earth Club” for not recognizing the validity of those votes.

Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan issued a statement contrary, of course, to Elias’ point of view.

Sheehan said it’s Franken who is trying to stop votes, although history will show that the Franken side, since the start of the recount, consistently sought to have ballots included.

Only in the last week or so has the Coleman side talked about doing over all of the previously rejected ballotswhich would total about 12,000.

All of them have been examined numerous times already, all with watchful eyes of both campaigns.

“Minnesotans should be outraged by the effort to disenfranchise thousands of Minnesotans who wanted their voices heard on Election Day,” Sheehan said. “It was our hope that the Franken campaign would join us in enfranchising Minnesota voters, and join with us to see that these ballots are reviewed.  Unfortunately, they are aggressively making every effort to keep the people of Minnesota – regardless of their political affiliation or who they voted for – from having their votes reviewed and possibly counted.”

Coleman spokesman Ben Ginsberg is set to brief reporters at 12:10 p.m.

The trial begins at 1 p.m. Three judges will have the final say.