Here’s where we stand as Week 5 begins…
Norm Coleman’s lawyers continued their case this morning — Day 21 of the election contest trial — before a three-judge panel to overturn the 225-vote lead that Al Franken has held since winning the recount on Jan. 3.
Over the weekend, Franken’s side, in a long awaited legal response, added 804 ballots to the possible universe of ballots that Judges Elizabeth Hayden, Kurt Marben and Denise Reilly may count…if and when they ever decide to count additional ballots in this contest.
Meanwhile, Franken also said 781 ballots that Coleman would like to see opened are acceptable to them, too.
Coleman’s universe has, technically, been in the 3,300 range, but it’s unclear now how many legally cast ballots remain in the pool of votes Coleman is seeking to have opened. His lawyers have complained about the judges’ rulings on narrowing the size of the potential ballots to be opened.
Also, earlier today, Minneapolis lawyer Charles Nauen, who has been representing Franken voters who are seeking to have their ballots opened, revised his filings with the court.
Earlier this month, the judges agreed to open the ballots of 24 of 61 Franken voters. Detailed affidavits of those voters explained how their absentee ballots had been wrongly rejected. The Coleman side didn’t oppose their efforts to open their ballots.
The remaining 37 Franken petitioners were denied their requests because the judges wanted more evidence.
Now, 19 of those 37 who were in limbo have produced more evidence and are seeking to have their ballots opened.
If opened and counted, the “Nauen 61” group could wind up adding a total of 43 votes to Franken’s recount lead of 225.
Local election officials and Secretary of State elections director Gary Poser were testifying this morning.