With two words many observers have been thirsting for — “streamline proceedings” — the three judges in Minnesota’s senate election trial signalled late Tuesday they’ve finally had enough of after 12 days of drip-drip-drip testimony on individual ballots. They ordered lawyers for Al Franken and Norm Coleman late Tuesday to say by 4 p.m. Wednesday which categories of rejected absentee ballots should be counted. A hearing on narrowing the trial’s scope from a current pool of 4,800 contested ballots is set for Thursday at 1 p.m.
The rivals for Minnesota’s vacant seat in the U.S. Senate must tell the three-judge panel whether they want ballots in these categories counted:
1. Returned by non-registered voter in an absentee ballot return envelope on which no box in the proof of residence portion of the envelope is checked by the witness.
2. Submitted by voter in an absentee ballot return envelope on which the voter’s address is not the same as the information provided on the absentee ballot application.
3. Submitted by voter in absentee ballot return envelope in which the witness certification on the absentee ballot return envelope is signed by a person identified as a notary public but no notarial seal or stamp is affixed to the envelope.
4. Cast by a non-registered voter who hasn’t submitted proper voter registration materials even if the voter wasn’t issued materials due to an official error.
5. Cast by a voter registered and eligible to vote in a precinct who was issed a ballot for the wrong precinct due to an official error.
6. Submitted from overseas where there is no evidence that the voter submitted a Federal Post Card Application or absentee ballot application.
7. Submitted by a voter in an absentee ballot return envelope in which the voter failed to sign the certificate of eligibility on the absentee ballot return envelope where a sticker placed by election officials obstructs the certificate or signature block.
8. Cast by a voter whose absentee ballot application does not contain a signature.
9. Cast by a voter where there is no independent evidence that the voter completed an absentee ballot application.
10. Submitted by a non-registered voter who failed to sign voter-registration materials.
11. Cast by a voter whose absentee ballot application was signed by another unless the application was signed by another individual in accordance with Minn. Stat. 645.44, subd. 14.
12. Submitted in an absentee ballot return envelope in which the witness certification is signed by a non-notary witness who failed to provide a street address.
13. Submitted from overseas but arrived late.
14. Dropped off on Election Day in person.
15. Dropped off by a proper agent on Election Day but after the statutory deadline for delivery.
16. Submitted within a non-registrered voter absentee ballot return envelope on which the voter failed to sign the certification’s signature box but did sign the envelope elsewhere.