Update: Al Franken Declared Winner; Coleman's Options Dwindle
Update from Satyam over at Think Progress:
The Minnesota State Canvassing board has certified results showing that Al Franken has won the Minnesota Senate recount, beating Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) by 225 votes. But the race is still "in limbo," as the BoardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s declaration "starts a seven-day clock for Coleman to file a lawsuit protesting the result" -- which he has indicated he will do. Senate Republicans have said they will filibuster any attempt to seat Franken while litigation is pending.
Original Post by Steve Benen:
It's going to be increasingly difficult for Norm Coleman and the Republican Party to justify dragging this out even further.
The Minnesota state Supreme Court has turned down Sen. Norm Coleman's plea to include 654 rejected absentee ballots in the final vote count in his race against entertainer Al Franken, a major setback for the GOP incumbent who is seeking to make up a 225-vote deficit.
The Court -- in an opinion issued this afternoon and signed by Chief Justice Alan Page ( a member of the Purple People Eaters) -- said that Coleman's attempt to include these rejected absentees did not meet the criteria for counting ballots laid out in a previous ruling, specifically that both sides had to agree for any additional ballots to be counted.
"Because the parties and the respective counties have not agreed as to any of these additional ballots, the merits of this dispute (and any other disputes with respect to absentee ballots) are the proper subject of an election contest," wrote Page.
And with that, Franken should be declared the winner in about an hour.
Lead Franken attorney Marc Elias released a statement in response to the court ruling, "Today, the Supreme Court once again affirmed the validity of the rules under which this recount was conducted. Minnesotans have waited a long time for a winner to be declared in this race, and today, with the last attempt to halt the counting process now having failed, Al Franken will be declared the winner."