As noted, Hennepin County, the state’s largest, is alone in having its reply brief posted on the Supreme Court’s website. The response, signed by DFL County Attorney Mike Freeman, is a strong argument against the Coleman campaign’s request. Here’s the heart of the argument:
The fact that campaign representatives were successful or unsuccessful in convincing local election officials to reconsider does not, however, change the fact that this Court established a uniform standard for determining which ballots could be forwarded to the Secretary of State for counting.
Those ballots must be identified by local election officials as rejected in error and the campaigns must agree with that assessment. In other words, only ballots which the local officials and the two campaigns agree were rejected in error will be passed on to the Secretary of Stateâ€™s Office.
In Hennepin County, that number turned out to be 255. Whether local elections officials were convinced to add a ballot to the consideration list or elected to stand upon their initial judgment unless the campaigns both agreed to the contrary, this Courtâ€™s Order was fully complied with. Nothing local election officials did in any way suggests the extraordinary relief Petitioner seeks is warranted under this Courtâ€™s Order or in order to secure equal protection of the laws.
In addition, local election officials have finished the reviews this Court ordered. There is nothing to be gained and much to be lost by an order scrapping the hard and careful work of local election officials…
A point of some contention and significance appears to be whether, in fact, the court’s order contemplated that local officials would send on to St. Paul absentee ballots that one campaign alone thought were wrongly rejected. That would describe the Coleman camp’s 650-some ballots.
Clearly, Freeman beliieves there was no such requirement. We shall see whether the court agrees.