Norm Coleman is sitting at counsel table as the trial begins in his challenge of the State Canvassing Board’s final ruling declaring Al Franken the winner of the Senate race recount.
The following is a statement just issued by Coleman:
“Today marks the beginning of an important and historic moment. The start of the election contest trial marks the beginning of a critical process that will result in every Minnesotan knowing that every valid vote was treated equally and fairly.
“I’m attending this trial today because the outcome is important to both me and all Minnesotans. I’ve dedicated almost my entire adult life, over 32 years, in service to Minnesota. I’d be humbled to continue that service in the United States Senate for another 6 years. Elected officials serve with the consent of the governed, and that consent can only be meaningful if Minnesotans have confidence in the electoral process.
“It is vital that we get this right, and that we ensure that every Minnesotan’s valid vote is counted, and counted only once.
“Minnesotans rightfully have had pride in their open and transparent election system, and today’s trial is a further expression of our pride in the system that is designed to make sure that we get the results of elections absolutely right.
“We have a strong case. More importantly, Minnesotans have a strong case to be made that we should decide this election, not politicians in Washington, D.C., or clever legal motions intended to deprive us of our legal rights to ensure the most accurate and valid count to ensure the most credible results of this election.
“There is absolutely no question that inconsistent standards have limited the number of absentee ballots counted thus far. I had hoped that Mr. Franken would join me in ensuring that every valid vote is counted. Unfortunately, his campaign is actively proceeding to take whatever legal action is necessary to try to stop these votes from being counted. Let me be clear: We don’t know, nor do we care, the party affiliation or the candidate choice of the individuals whose ballots were rejected. It’s not in anyone’s interests to have a process in which rejected absentee ballots are being cherry-picked – every valid vote must count.
“We believe there is no question that some votes were double-counted, resulting in more votes than voters. I would hope that Mr. Franken would join me in ensuring that every valid vote is counted only once.
“And there is no question that the counting of ballots that no one can prove ever existed raises serious concerns about the validity of the totals from the state canvassing board. On this matter, I would hope that Mr. Franken would agree that counting votes that do not exist is clearly not in the tradition of Minnesota elections.
“So, we begin.
“I, along with all Minnesotans, look forward to a process that, if done properly, should result in a conclusion to this election that is accurate and valid.
“I will remain actively engaged through the election contest trial, as I have done through every step of these post-election proceedings. I have great confidence in my legal team and I remain fully confident that if these issues are properly addressed — if no vote is counted twice, if consistent standards are applied, and if no voter is disenfranchised — I will end up where I was on Election Day: in the lead on my way back to the United States Senate.
“Regardless of the outcome, however, we will all have been best served by a process that is open and transparent, and, Minnesotan in its design, Minnesotan in its execution and Minnesotan in its ultimate conclusion.”