Minnesota’s Canvassing Board on Wednesday denied Al Franken’s request to include thousands of absentee ballots in a recount in the U.S. Senate race in the state.
The five-member board, which oversees the recount, stressed during Wednesday’s hearing that it wasn’t rejecting the merits made by Franken’s attorneys. The panel also indicated that the fight over the exclusion of the absentee ballots from the recount most will likely land in court.
Some 12,000 absentee ballots were rejected from the initial vote count because of technicalities and errors.
Unofficial results from the November 4 election put Sen. Norm Coleman, a freshman Republican, 215 votes ahead of Democratic challenger Franken, best known for his stint on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and as a former talk-show host on progressive radio network Air America..
The slim margin for Coleman, far less than half of 1 percent, triggered an automatic recount, marking the first time there’s been a recount of a U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.
Franken’s campaign argued that some 6,400 absentee ballots were wrongly rejected. Coleman’s team said the board doesn’t have the authority to include the disputed ballots in the recount.