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Franken Moves To Throw Out Law Suit

(CBS/AP)
It's inspired an online game: "Seat The Senator," where players win a prize from the National Wildlife Federation for correctly guessing when Minnesota will have its second senator.

Nonetheless, the ongoing court battle between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken has long-since stopped being fun for most Minnesotans. Franken leads Coleman by a slim margin following a recount in the Minnesota Senate race, and Coleman has turned to the courts to try to overturn his apparent victory.

Today, Franken called for a full dismissal of Coleman's legal challenge. Lawyers for Franken filed the motion for dismissal this morning and may argue the motion Friday morning, the Associated Press reports. In it, Franken's legal team argues that Coleman has failed to prove his claims of election irregularities.

After Franken's victory was certified by the Minnesota State Canvassing Board on January 5, 2009, Coleman's legal team filed an election contest to try to overturn the results of a state recount. The two would-be senators have since debated the results of the election in a St. Paul courtroom.

By the latest count Franken leads Coleman by 225 votes, but both men have sought to bolster their tallies with absentee ballots that they contend were wrongly rejected. In Franken's case the number of disputed ballots is roughly 800, while Coleman is lobbying for the inclusion of more than 2,000 ballots.

Franken's legal team contends that although some votes were not counted, the results should still stand. The Star Tribune reports that Franken's lawyer Marc Elias stated that election officials "[got] it right 99.99 percent of the time."

Coleman's team wrapped up their case on Monday. They suffered a major setback during the course of the trial when judges threw out testimony by Minneapolis election judge Pamela Howell, who claimed that she had seen errors that resulted in some people's votes being counted twice. Howell's testimony was rejected because she had violated civil trial procedures by giving materials to Coleman's lawyers that she hadn't provided to Franken's team.

Both Republicans and Democrats eagerly await the outcome of the race, but no one (other than Coleman and Franken themselves) is more interested than the White House and Senate Democrats. With Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) battling health problems and the Minnesota Senate contest still undecided, the Democrats have been largely deprived of two key votes at a time when they are facing contentious fights over the president's agenda.

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