Minn. justices side with Al Franken

Chris Rizo Jan. 5, 2009, 2:00pm

Al Franken (D)

Norm Coleman (R)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Legal Newsline)-The Minnesota Supreme Court on Monday helped clear the path for Democrat comedian-turned-politician Al Franken to be become the North Star State's next U.S. senator.

Ruling against Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., the high court's decision moved the state Board of Canvassers closer to certifying Franken's narrow, 225-vote unofficial win.

Coleman asked the justices to include an additional 650 absentee ballots in the contested Senate race. The Coleman camp specifically asked the Supreme Court to order counties to send all of their rejected absentee ballots to the Secretary of State for review by the office and the two campaigns.

The court said the decision was best left for the Board of Canvassers, which is expected to certify the election results today. The justices did not issue an opinion on the merits of Coleman's lawsuit.

A Coleman recount attorney said the Republican senator would likely wage an election challenge.

"Given our campaign's unwavering commitment to ensuring that the vote of no Minnesotan is disenfranchised, today's ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court is both disappointing and disheartening," attorney
Fritz Knaak said in a statement.

A Franken win would increase the number of seats controlled by Democrats in Senate to 59, just one shy of the 60 required to force a vote on legislation amid objections by Republicans.

Franken wrote for and starred on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" comedy program from 1975 to 1980 and again from 1985 to 1995. More recently, he hosted a radio show on liberal Air America Radio.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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