There is light at the end of the election-contest tunnel.
Norm Coleman’s legal spokesman, Ben Ginsberg, said this afternoon it’s likely that Coleman’s side of the case — it’s his to prove, of course — could be completed by Friday.
“Done?” asked a tired and somewhat bored reporter, inquiring for all in the dwindling media gang at the Minnesota Judicial Center.
“Done done.” Ginsberg said, making the conclusion definitive.
And how does he feel about the case Coleman’s side has put on?
“Good good,” Ginsberg said, clearly as giddy as most of the journalist observers.
But back to the count count … er, the recount.
Fittingly, today’s topic was, mostly, the matter of double-counting of votes. Thus all the duplication in the air.
Gary Poser, the secretary of state office’s elections director, explained the origins and enforcement of a rule — so-called “Rule 9” — that was agreed to by both campaigns before the recount began in November.
That rule allowed local election officials to count original ballots in the event there were, somehow, duplicate absentee ballots discovered in the statewide recount.
Of course, the Coleman side agreed to that protocol, but Ginsberg said all the duplicate ballots weren’t so marked. And, so, the process changed after Coleman’s side agreed to it.
“The law was not always followed,” Ginsberg said. “The notion that somehow an agreement or rule is struck for a process and you find out … the law wasn’t followed, strikes me as nonsense,” Ginsberg said.
We’ll have to see what Judges Elizabeth Hayden, Kurt Marben and Denise Reilly think of that.
Meanwhile, the Coleman side has contracted its potential ballot universe a bit more. Previously, it had said there were about 800 signature mismatches between absentee ballot applications and ballots; that’s been reduced to 168. Also, a category of nonregistered voters, once about 1,200, has shrunk to 306.
The total number of ballots Coleman wants considered will likely be in the 2,000 range, he said. Franken is seeking an additional 800 or so. Franken lawyer Marc Elias said he thinks any votes the three-judge panel counts will be even fewer than that.
Once Coleman’s side has completed its case, that could trigger a motion by the Franken side to dismiss the entire case. Franken’s part of the legal case is expected to last another two weeks or so beyond the completion of Coleman’s case.
Ginsberg keeps saying Coleman can still win.
But the jury is still very much out out on that.