Franken petitions state canvassing board

Just before the state canvassing board meets for the first time Tuesday, Democrat Al FrankenâÄôs campaign urged it to examine rejected absentee ballots in Minnesota. FrankenâÄôs campaign sent a message to the board to tell it to look through rejected absentee ballots to make sure they were counted correctly. According to the Secretary of StateâÄôs office , Republican Sen. Norm Coleman leads Franken by 206 votes. The mandatory statewide recount is scheduled to begin this week in most counties. According to Franken campaign officials, some absentee ballots were incorrectly excluded from the vote count. Last week, the Franken campaign sued Ramsey County to get access to information on rejected ballots across the state. Getting the information for these rejected absentee ballots is necessary to ensure that every vote is counted, said Andy Barr , communications director for the Franken campaign. âÄúThere are, of course, legitimate reasons to reject absentee ballots, but it is clear that some ballots have been rejected in error,âÄù Barr said. âÄúThese are votes that should be counted.âÄù While ColemanâÄôs campaign did not respond to a request for comment, it said in a written statement that FrankenâÄôs campaign wants to block the recount and âÄúoverturn the will of the voters of Minnesota.âÄù Pennington County in northwestern Minnesota released rejected absentee ballot information to the Franken campaign. Pennington County resident Ordell Adkins voted absentee, she said, and found out her ballot was not counted because Pennington County didnâÄôt think she was a registered voter. After it was revealed that she was registered, her vote counted, she said. Even if her vote wasnâÄôt counted, the state canvassing board should still make sure they did it right, she said. âÄúThey should check all those that were rejected anyway,âÄù she said. âÄúThere could be many across the state.âÄù Political science assistant professor Kathryn Pearson said this move could set up both campaigns for more options in case the election does not go in their favor. âÄúBy making this request, I think theyâÄôre also potentially laying the groundwork for a lawsuit later,âÄù she said. Pearson also said both Franken and Coleman are still hard on the campaign trail. âÄúDespite the fact that all ballots have been cast, both of these campaigns are still very much in campaign mode,âÄù she said.