TPM: Lawsuit 'throws everything at the wall to see what sticks'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2009, 3:42pm PT  

On Monday, we reported on former Senator Norm Coleman's right to challenge the election results in Minnesota which found Al Franken the winner by 225 votes before Franken is officially seated by the Senate.

That is, of course, the appropriate way to allow for election challengers to have their day in court, without nearly-insurmountable prejudice being stacked against them by having their opponent already seated. Incredibly enough, that's not the way most states do it, as most send officially certified results to Congress --- effectively, and Constitutionally, according to judicial precedent, handing jurisdiction of the seating of the member to a partisan Congress, robbing voters and local courts of having the final say --- before legal election contests are fully settled.

On Tuesday, Coleman filed his expected election contest in state court, which Franken's attorneys memorably described as "the same thin gruel, warmed-over leftovers ... that they have been serving the last few weeks."

We've been on the road since the complaint was filed, and haven't had time to review the 204-page suit [PDF] ourselves, but thankfully, TPM's Eric Kleefeld has done so, and reports it as "a marvelous thing"...

The complaint ignores the existence of counter-evidence, employs one maneuver when it is self-benefiting and opposes the same maneuver when it goes against them, attacks not just the recount but votes that were counted for Franken all along, and overall throws everything against the wall to see what sticks.

Kleefeld goes on to quickly summarize the key points in the complaint, all of which --- at least based on his rather amusing descriptions --- seem, indeed, to be "thin gruel" and "warmed-over leftovers". All seven or so of his points are well worth the consice read. Here's just one example:

"More Votes Than Voters" --- Shifting Definitions
Coleman claims that multiple precincts had "more votes than voters," a potential irregularity if we understand that as being more ballots than people who signed in on the register. But Coleman has another definition: When the votes tallied in the recount were more than were counted on Election Night, with no reference to what was on the voter register. The whole point of a recount is to find votes that the machines failed to pick up at first.

Coleman deserves his day in court, as we've said. He does not, however, deserve an abuse of the system. So let's hope the courts move quickly and decisively in this matter and rule wisely on just complaints while swiftly dismissing those without merit, so that MN can get the representation it deserves --- whoever that may be --- as soon as possible.

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