Panel moves to 'streamline' recount proceedingsby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Judges in Republican Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate recount trial have asked attorneys from both sides to submit briefs by 4 p.m. today on whether 19 categories of absentee ballots are legally cast under law.
In the order, the three judges -- Elizabeth Hayden, Kurt Marben and Denise Reilly -- said the move is meant to "streamline proceedings" of the trial, which has moved at a sluggish pace during the last three weeks.
Among the categories the panel is asking both sides to review are: Absentee ballots cast by non-registered voters who have not submitted proper voter registration materials; absentee ballots not containing signatures; and absentee ballots in which stickers placed by an election official fully or partially covered the certification or sticker block.
The judges will hold a hearing on the briefs at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Coleman's attorneys are working through about 4,700 rejected absentee ballots, one by one. The tedious process is their way of presenting evidence they hope will convince the three-judge panel the ballots should be added to the race that DFLer Al Franken leads by 225 votes.
On Tuesday, the panel ordered that 23 rejected absentee ballots be opened and counted. The ruling stems from 61 individual voters who told the court their ballots were improperly rejected and asked the court to count them.
The ruling means that those votes could go to Franken and expand his lead.
Meanwhile, the trial continues Wednesday morning, with Dakota County Elections Manager Kevin Boyle back on the stand for a third day.
Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg is questioning Boyle on double-counting and duplicate ballots in his county. He must still undergo cross-examination from the Franken side.
After Boyle, Coleman attorneys said they plan to call Plymouth and Wright County election officials to testify.