Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lengthening the game #mnrecount 

Gary Gross, in his canvassing board liveblog says the Minnesota State Canvassing Board has voted to not consider rejected absentee ballots. This was to be expected of course; Gary notes Chief Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson saying the board is not an adjudicative body. This was merely a prelude to the court case in which the Franken campaign will seek to get more ballots counted.

But the board decided at the end to provide some guidance to county election officials. In short, if an absentee ballot was rejected without there being a reference to why it was rejected in state statute, it was to be placed in a "fifth pile" (there are four reasons to reject an absentee ballot, listed here.) Itasca County (48-38 Franken) has gone so far as to identify three absentee ballots that appear to be fifth-pilers, and proposes to reconsider them on Monday. Since this appears to be extra-legal, it is possible that one of the two campaigns (hard to say which at this point -- may be in court this weekend to stop that process until a judge decides if state statute permits this. One is entitled to wonder why the three ballots come up now -- wasn't that the process contemplated by the law to happen between Election Day and when counties certified their results to the state? It reminds me of trying to undo the ending of the Pittsburgh-San Diego game a couple weeks ago, not least of which because I had $20 on the Steelers to cover. At some point the end of the game is the end of the game, but some people always think the line is fixed.

For the game here in Minnesota, the decision today means, most likely, we're headed for a second overtime in a courtroom, soon.

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