Franken won. That’s the conclusion of the 68-page ruling handed down Monday evening by the three-judge recount court, completing their work. They wrote:
The overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the November 4, 2008 election was conducted fairly, impartially, and accurately. [Citations omitted] …
After seven weeks of trial, the factual record is devoid of any allegations of fraud, tampering, or security breaches on Election Day, during the recount process, or during the election contest.
To the contrary, the genereal election resulted in a “fair expression” of the voters of Minnesota. [Citations omitted]
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 Minnesota’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 professionals and citizen volunteers, and the Court is proud of their service.
Among the specific findings set out by the court:
69. The record is devoid of any evidence that election officials did not perform their durites on Election Day in good faith and to the best of their abilities.
70. The Court has received no evidence or testimony to support a finding of wholesale disenfranchisement of Minnesota’s absentee voters in the November 4, 2008 general election.
125. There was no evidence of fraud in the conduct of this election and no showing of bad faith on the part of any election official at any point during the election or recount.
126. Accordingly, Coleman received a total of 1,212,317 votes and Franken received a total of 1,212,629 votes in the race for United States Senator in the November 4, 2008 general election.
153. Errors or irregularities identified by Contestants in the general election do not violate the mandates of equal protection. [Citations omitted]
154. The Minnesota legislature enacted clear, uniform standards regulating absentee voting in this state. See Minn. Stat. § 203B.12. Election officials exercised reasonable discretion within the confines of Minnesota election law and under a comprehensive, state-wide training program in determining whether a voter met the statutory requirements of absentee voting. [Citation omitted]
157. Franken received the highest number lawfully cast ballots in the November 4, 2008 general election for United States Senator for the State of Minnesota and is entitled to receive the certificate of election.
Contestants argue that different counties adopted different procedures for evaluating absentee ballots, with the result that a voter’s ability to have an absentee ballot opened and counted depended to some extent on where in the state the voter resided. The Court heard testimony that different counties adopted different procedures in their handling of absentee ballots. [Citations omitted]
However, the implementation of procedures unique to each county does not, wihtout more, create an equal protection problem. “The equal protection clause does not dlemand that laws operate with rigid sameness upon all persons within a state.” [Citation omitted] …
Election officials must comply with the requirements of Minnesota statute. Nonetheless, election officials at the local level must have some discretion to operate elections in a manner that best harmonizes with the unique circumstances present in their jurisdiction The Minnesota legislature conferred authority upon county and municipal officials to oversee the administration of absentee balloting procedures within their jurisdiction. …
Counties and cities adopted different procedures and methods, consistent with their resources and personnel …