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Court rejects Coleman request

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ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed Norm Coleman's request to have more absentee ballots considered in the U.S. Senate recount he is trailing to Democrat Al Franken.

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The court order, released this morning, paves the way for the state Canvassing Board to meet this afternoon to certify results of the recount.

Franken leads Coleman by 225 votes with all ballots counted.

Republican Coleman, whose six-year Senate term ended on Saturday, last week asked the court to intervene as improperly rejected absentee ballots were being reviewed. The Coleman campaign said counties applied different standards in determining which rejected absentee ballots should be counted.

"The record before us with respect to petitioners' motion demonstrates that local election officials have acted diligently and in accordance with our orders," said the court order signed by Justice Alan Page.

The secretary of state's office met Saturday to count about 950 improperly rejected absentee ballots - the final stack of votes counted in the prolonged Senate recount.

The five-member Canvassing Board - Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and four judges - is expected to certify the recount result. That action triggers a seven-day period during which a lawsuit can be filed challenging the result. That is called an election contest.

Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak has said an election contest is likely.

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