Hennepin County declines to reconsider some absentee ballots

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s largest county has declined a request from Al Franken’s Senate campaign to reconsider some disqualified absentee ballots.

Franken trails GOP Sen. Norm Coleman by 206 votes and the race is headed for a recount starting next week. With all precincts reporting, Coleman has 41.99 percent of the vote while Franken has 41.98 percent, according to the Minnesota secretary of state’s Web site.

Attorney David Lillehaug asked the Hennepin County canvassing board to reconsider 461 absentees that he said had been improperly rejected.

"We want to make sure at the earliest stage as possible that validly casted ballots are counted," Lillehaug said.


Lillehaug said some of the ballots were disqualified on the grounds that signatures didn’t match, or that the voter wasn’t properly registered. Lillehaug says the campaign knows at least some of those ballots to be valid.

The general counsel for the Minnesota Republican Party, Matthew Haapoja, said that the Franken campaign is trying to find more votes where there are none. And Coleman campaign’s accused the Franken campaign of trying to "stuff the ballot box."

Coleman’s attorney, Fritz Knaak, called the Franken campaign’s request "a hail Mary pass."

"They’re hoping people will look the other way and let these clearly invalid ballots be accepted," Knaak told The Associated Press .

Board members said the ballots could be dealt with during the upcoming recount.

Hennepin County did approve 84,002 absentees.

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