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Improperly Rejected Ballots? "Count Them All," Says League

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December 12, 2008

A fair election means every vote should count. That’s the perspective of election watchers like the Minnesota League of Women Voters as Minnesota's Canvassing Board meets today to consider what to do with improperly rejected absentee ballots in the undecided U.S. Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.

League executive director Keesha Gaskins says any absentee ballots that were unjustly rejected should be added back into the mix.

"The voters themselves did everything they were supposed to do. They complied with the process, their votes were legal, and they were submitted on time. As a consequence, the intentions of the voters should be reflected in the final tally."

The Canvassing Board finds itself in uncharted territory, admits Gaskins, and her organization is urging a transparent and defensible method to assure voters.

"The legal scope of the Board is not entirely clear, so, our position really is, whatever mechanism needs to be in place to make sure the votes get counted, that’s what needs to happen."

Hundreds of absentee ballots may have been improperly rejected, according to the Franken campaign, which submitted affidavits by more than 60 people who claim their rejected ballots should be valid. Franken still narrowly trails in the recount.

Next week, the Canvassing Board turns its attention to the thousands of ballots challenged by the two campaigns during the county-by-county recount.

Art Hughes, Public News Service - MN