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Amid Recount, Rejected Absentee Ballots Could Be Key

With 65 percent of the votes recounted and a margin of less than 200 votes separating Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, thousands of rejected absentee ballots could decide the election, reported The Star Tribune.

Regardless of the recount's outcome, the losing candidate will likely challenge the thousands of rejected absentee ballots, which could span the ever-shrinking vote margin betwen the two candidates. The Pioneer Press reported that Al Franken had already started that challenge.

The Al Franken for Senate campaign won a decision in a Ramsey Court on Sunday to obtain the names of those rejected ballots. The judge, Dale Lindman, said the county's refusal to make the information public was in violation of the Data Practices Act.

The Franken campaign will use that information to help identify voters and determine their intended vote.

"They did everything right, and yet their votes were not counted," said David Lillehaug, an attorney for the Franken campaign. "It's clear to us that mistakes have been made."

Some feel, however, that the information would be used to determine exactly who those absentee voters cast their ballot for.

"The fact is, they're going to get the names and addresses, and they're going to pound on people's doors and ask, 'How did you vote?' " said Fritz Knaak, an attorney with the Norm Coleman campaign.