Pace picking up in Minn. Senate trial

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) âÄî Minnesota’s Senate trial is starting to pick up speed. The judges set out a schedule Thursday for the next three days that indicates they will rule soon on some of the main arguments of the case. Later Thursday, lawyers for Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken were to argue over the validity of 19 distinct reasons for rejecting voters’ absentee ballots. The judges’ decision whether or not to count ballots in those categories is expected as early as next Monday morning. Once that happens, Coleman’s lawyers should be able to go much faster through a process that has involved arguing over ballots one by one. Coleman’s lawyers say thousands of rejected ballots should be counted as they try to overcome Franken’s 225-vote lead. Franken’s lawyers say most of the ballots were lawfully rejected. Coleman’s lawyers have said they’ll argue to count ballots in most of the 19 categories. Attorney Ben Ginsberg said his team would argue Thursday that decisions to accept or reject ballots from those 19 categories varied from one county to another. Such discrepancies “underlie our case,” Ginsberg said, because he said Coleman’s lawyers have already been showing that some absentee ballots in most or all of the judges’ 19 categories were counted while others were not. As an example, Ginsberg pointed to one category: Ballots that were rejected because the absentee voter’s witness was not a registered voter. In Carver County, the Coleman team calculated that officials rejected 181 ballots in that category. In Sherburne County, similar in population, officials only rejected one ballot like that.