Recount trial delayed by weatherby Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Lawyers for Democrat Al Franken won't be able to rest their case as planned today in Republican Norm Coleman's election contest.
Franken's attorneys had expected to rest this afternoon, but yesterday's late winter snowstorm prevented one of their last witnesses from travelling from northwestern Minnesota to St. Paul.
The witness, a Clay County elections official, couldn't make it to St. Paul to testify because a blizzard closed part of Interstate 94 a day earlier. The storm dropped up to a foot of snow in the area.
Franken won't have the Clay County auditor on the stand until Thursday, along with two voters who will testify about their rejected absentee ballots. There's a possibility the auditor could testify by phone.
Republican Norm Coleman's election lawsuit is in its seventh week. He wants to overturn Franken's 225-vote lead following the statewide recount.
Once Franken rests, the court will hear from a lawyer trying to independently validate the absentee ballots of a small group of voters. Then Coleman will have an opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses.
Meanwhile, the three judges in the case agreed that 14 more ballots should be opened and counted. The voters in question were represented by Minneapolis attorney Charlie Nauen, who has taken the cases of Franken backers. The court deferred action on ballots of five other voters involved in the Nauen action.
Also Wednesday, Coleman's lawyers filed a list with the court of 1,360 voters with rejected ballots that they believe should count. Some involve ballots where a signature may have differed between the envelope and the ballot application; many others are cases where the registration status of a voter's witness was in doubt.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)