The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge by Norm Coleman, thereby leaving the vote count determined by an election contest judicial panel placing Franken in the lead standing.
The basis of the Coleman legal challenge is was essentially that all abentee votes shoudl be counted no matter what, because they are, after all, votes.
The reason that is bad election procedure and bad law is that absentee voting is subject to serious abuses, and thus demands a certain amount of procedural control. This has been established previously. The absentee ballots that were not counted in this contest were all in violation of standing procedural rules. Coleman wanted those rules ignored so that the votes could be counted, Franken simply asked that the law be followed.
The court decided in favor of Franken.
…because strict compliance with the statutory requirements for absentee voting is, and always has been required, there is no basis on which voters could have reasonably believed that anything less than strict compliance would suffice…
This, by the way, is one of the reasons that I never vote absentee. You should not either.
Now, the question remains: Will Governor Tim Pawlenty, Republican presidential hopeful, certify the election? The Minnesota State Supreme Court did not specifically order Pawlenty to do so, so there is a chance he won’t.
Pawlenty made these statements during an interview on CNN last Sunday:
I’m not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty … I’m going to follow the direction of the court … I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I’m prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.
Well, as far as I know, the court did NOT give Pawlenty a “green light” or “guidance and direction.” It seems to me that he spoke on Sunday in such a way as to leave open the possibility of not signing the election certificate.
The court said, specifically, “Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled … to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota.” That is clear, but it is not direction. It is guidance, but it is not a “green light.” And keep in mind that Tim Pawlenty is as smarmy and slimy and slippery as they come ’round these parts.
Of course, Coleman could just concede. But no one expects that. The only person smarmier than Pawlenty ’round these parts is Norm Coleman.
We wait. With baited breath.