3-judge panel to hear Coleman challenge

Jan. 7, 2009 at 3:27 PM
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ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A three-judge panel will be appointed to hear a lawsuit brought by U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., challenging his election recount loss, legal experts say.

The Minnesota State Canvassing Board this week declared Coleman the loser to Democratic challenger Al Franken by 225 votes in a recount of the Nov. 4 election results. Coleman's move to challenge the declaration will begin before a panel of Ramsey County, Minn., judges, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Wednesday.

The judges will be assigned by the chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and could come from any level of the state's judiciary system, legal experts said, adding that the trial must begin within three weeks.

Coleman argues that the canvassing board double-counted some votes and treated wrongly rejected absentee ballots inconsistently, among other claims.

"Minnesotans deserve 100 percent confidence that their senator was fairly elected," Coleman said Tuesday in St. Paul, surrounded by cheering supporters.

"It is essentially the same thin gruel, warmed-over leftovers of meals that we've all been served the last few weeks," Marc Elias, Franken's recount attorney, told the Pioneer Press.

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