By Noah Kunin –The second day of the Minnesota Election Contest Trial for US Senate proceeded slightly more smoothly that Day 1 – once the trial actually began. Scheduled to begin at 9:00am, the 3-judge panel did not convene the trial until 1:00pm. Judges spent the first part of the day behind closed doors, debating an order on how the trial should proceed now that it is likely anywhere from 4,500 to 12,000 original absentee ballot envelopes and applications may be entered into evidence. Coleman’s legal team requested a tiered system of obtaining the originals but was initially denied. As of 9:00pm CST, no orders had been issued by the court.
The trial moved on to other issues – Coleman lawyers called individual voters as witnesses. All had been contacted by the Republican Party of MN and informed their absentee ballots had been rejected. All testified that they felt their absentee ballots should have been accepted. In certain cases, the evidence currently available shows reasonable reasons for their rejections. One voter admitted that his girlfriend forged his name on his absentee ballot application since he was out of state at the time caring for his mother, who was suffering from cancer at the time.
Testimony of Minnesota Assistant Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann dominated the last portion of the trial on Tuesday. Lead Coleman Contest Attorney Joe Friedberg questioned Mr. Gelbmann on various rationales for the various reversals of the rejected absentee ballots during the recount. This testimony was stopped at the end of the day and will pick up Wednesday, 1/28/09 at 9:00am CST.