Trial ends for Minn. Senate race

March 13, 2009 at 4:20 PM
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ST. PAUL, Minn., March 13 (UPI) -- Lawyers for U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and former Saturday Night Live star Al Franken made their final arguments Friday in the Minnesota vote-counting fight.

The case involving the still undecided 2008 election is over uncounted absentee ballots.

The decision on reopening the vote count for the disputed Minnesota Senate seat is now in the hands of three judges, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. A recount ended with Franken, a Democrat, 225 votes ahead of the Republican Coleman.

At issue are 1,360 rejected absentee ballots. Coleman's lawyers argued that they should be counted, which could conceivably turn the race around again.

Joe Friedberg argued that allowing only ballots that meet every step of the legal requirements for absentees sets a standard that "doesn't exist anywhere in Anglo-American jurisprudence."

Kevin Hamilton, representing Franken, said that after an election, recount and seven-week trial it is time to declare his client the winner, the St. Paul Pioneer Press said.

"It is clear that contestants have utterly failed to prove their case," Hamilton argue. "This election, undoubtedly the most closely scrutinized in Minnesota history, was carefully conducted fairly administered and accurately certified by the Minnesota canvassing board."

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