Last night, the judges presiding over Norm Coleman's lawsuit against Al Franken released their Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Judgment (full text here) wherein they officially dismissed Coleman's claims with prejudice and declared Franken "the party to the contest who received the highest number of votes legally cast in the 2008 United States Senate general election and is therefore entitled to receive the certificate of election."
Coleman's lawyers claimed they expected this outcome and have been working on an appeal to the Minnesota State Supreme Court. In closing arguments last week they admitted they had not proved the requirements set upon them by the judges in the contest but said the courts "got [it] wrong."
On April 7, 2009 Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg told the press appeal would be filed on the grounds that:
- The March 13th Order created a new set of rules for counting ballots that was not in place on election day;
- There were different standards used by different counties to count identical ballots; and
- The March 13th Order defined what is an illegal vote under Minnesota law and under that definition there are over thousands of illegal votes in the election day count.
AlthoughÂ the Coleman team will argue there was a violationÂ of equal protection in their appeal, the April 13 Order specifically states:
Â“the Equal Protection Clause does not forbid the use of a variety of voting mechanisms within a jurisdiction, even though different mechanisms will have different levels of effectiveness in recording votersÂ’ intentionsÂ…
There is hardly an election held in any county at which in some town irregularities do not occurÂ… [but] the citizens of Minnesota should be proud of their election system. Minnesota has one of the highest voter-participation rates in the country. The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State and election officials throughout MinnesotaÂ’s counties and cities are well-trained, fair, and conscientious and performed their duties admirably. Minnesota could not conduct elections without the hard work and diligence of its dedicated professional and citizen volunteers, and the Court is proud of their service.Â”
ColemanÂ’s lawyers have indicated that they intend to keep their arguments aliveÂ until Coleman is declared the winner of this race (Joe Friedman has even christened the case the Â“full employment actÂ for lawyersÂ”),Â but the ideaÂ that Republicans in Congress canÂ keep Franken from being seatedÂ is contraindicated by the right of Minnesotans toÂ be represented by their two legally elected senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. To that end, there is increasing sentiment that ColemanÂ should concede and that Governor Pawlenty should act appropriately. See the Â“ItÂ’s time to give it up, NormÂ”Â video, petition and growingÂ facebook profile, or read why MN Progressive Project is suggesting calls (651.296.3391 or 1.800.657.3717) and/or emails (firstname.lastname@example.org) be made to MN Governor Pawlenty to Â“make sure he knows he is constitutionally required to issue that election certificate as soon as the State Supreme Court decides on ColemanÂ’s appeal, regardless of the result.Â”