Board members stressed that they weren't rejecting the merits of the arguments made by Franken's attorneys, and they made it clear that they expect the issue to be litigated. The absentee Ballots will be Revisited in Court

The 6000 plus ballots that were rejected will have a review in court. Until then, everyone has to wait through the process. The people who read more want Al to throw in the towel are not respectful of the democratic process.

They are being foolish, and their comments are juvenile. Norm has not won yet. It isn't a question, it is a fact-- this will go to court and we are going to look at each and every absentee ballot.

Tension rises as Minn. recount enters 2nd week

The State Canvassing Board, a panel of five arbiters charged with determining the winner in the overtime election tussle between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic rival Al Franken, unanimously voted this morning to deny the Franken campaign's request that rejected absentee ballots be included in the recount.

During the discussion, the board members stressed that they weren't rejecting the merits of the arguments made by Franken's attorneys. They also made it clear they expect the issue to be litigated separately from the recount procedure.

Also this morning, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who chairs the Canvassing Board, said that attorneys from each campaign have said they can find a way to trim the pile of ballots being challenged in counties across the state. Combined, the two sides are so far contesting more than 3,600 ballots.

"This would be a very great benefit to the Canvassing Board and the citizens of the state," Ritchie said early on at the board's meeting this morning.

Tuesday night, the Coleman campaign said that its senior counsel, Fritz Knaak, acknowledged in a fax to the Franken campaign that observers for both sides were being overly aggressive in challenging ballots "in a mounting game of ballot challenging that serves no useful purpose.""This is not the way the recount process was intended to work," the correspondence continued, "and we are trying the patience and goodwill of election officials and volunteers throughout the state.

"While the Franken campaign began [Tuesday] morning challenging 25 ballots in one Sherburne County precinct, the vast majority without merit, it's obvious that our campaign volunteers felt the need to match these growing and unnecessary challenges throughout the day."