MN Senate recount is slowly wrapping up - right? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

MN Senate recount is slowly wrapping up - right?

ST. PAUL, MN (FOX 47) -- Nearly 1,000 sealed absentee ballots were counted in Saint Paul Saturday.

The ballots are a part of the final chapters of what's becoming a long novel - the U.S. Senate recount.

The counting of the rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul at the State Office Building got off to a late start Saturday morning because of one campaign's request.

Tony Trimble, Coleman's Attorney, says, "And for the record, our willingness to participate in this process does not waive our existing, and indeed it maintains our objection to the inconsistency that is occurring as we speak.  And as we open and review these ballots our objection remains that they should not be opened and reviewed. And even if we accept, which we will, our intent, our objection is maintained."

The morning began with a objection from the Coleman campaign. The campaign demanded that counting wait until the Supreme Court rules on the request to add hundreds more ballots to the mix.

But proceeded after the Secretary of State's office consulted with the Attorney General.

Jim Gelbmann, Deputy Secretary of State, says, "The Attorney General said, again, let's not slow down this process today and get the counting underway."

And so began a very tedious process. That first step involved separating a voter's identity with whom they voted for.

Gelbmann says, "We are going to number these ballots in a way to protect the privacy of the voter."

Gelbmann says, "The Attorney General said it's not subject to the Supreme Court order, the Attorney General does recommend that we number the ballots and the envelopes that they came from in order to preserve evidence for a possible future litigation."

Future litigation that could come in the form of lawsuits. The canvassing board will declare a winner early next week, but because the losing candidate has the right to file an "Election Contest", this race could be far from over.

After the sorting and counting wrapped up, Democrat Al Franken netted another 175 votes more than Republican Norm Coleman, pushing his lead to 225.

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