Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Last Friday, Al Franken's legal team argued a motion for the court to summarily dismiss former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate election contest in Minnesota.
In support of the motion to dismiss, Franken attorney Marc Elias argued that Coleman had filed a "scattershot petition"; that in five weeks Coleman called more than 50 witnesses, placed in evidence thousands of pages of material, yet proved little more than a handful of previously-rejected absentee ballots should be opened and counted.
Moreover, Elias noted that eight of Coleman's original claims had been abandoned, pointed out that the court had previously ruled the parties had a burden of proving, on an individualized basis, that any previously-rejected, uncounted absentee ballots were lawfully cast, and thus, should now be counted.
Elias argued that while Franken was certified by the state canvassing board, at the end of the painstaking post-election hand-count, to have received 225 more votes than Coleman, the Coleman team, he said, had presented individualized evidence with respect to no more than nine (9) absentee ballots. Though, in the case of ballots cast by voters who did not appear to be registered, Elias conceded the Secretary of State had indicated, there may be as many as 100 ballots in which missing registration forms might be found inside the absentee ballot secrecy envelopes.
Elias argued that while trial courts ordinarily prefer to defer a ruling on a motion to dismiss until after both sides present their case, the expeditious nature of the proceedings and exigencies warrant an immediate dismissal, even before his team's own case is concluded...