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Talking Points -- Coleman gets voters' ire but feels appeal is appropriate

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Norm Coleman is doing some lobbying, which might be a career in his future should Minnesota's former U.S. Senator fail in his attempt to get a 312 vote defeat to Al Franken reversed by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

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Coleman spent some time this week getting in touch with media outlets to explain his decision to appeal his election loss to the state's high court. A lot of people have grown weary of the six-month - and counting -- ordeal that has left the state with one Senator. Loud voices have been heard - including some big names in Minnesota politics - telling Coleman to give it up, particularly after a three-judge panel's ruling this month resulted in Franken's post-recount lead growing larger. Coleman said he's heard those voices, but at the same time he's heard from those who are urging him to fight on, especially since he contends that the Supreme Court could be the first time forum in which the equal protection of the law principal will be addressed.

"It's a due process issue," Coleman said. "This is the first time a court is going to look at it (equal protection). I tell people, this isn't fast food justice; it's going to take some time. But I think that by putting it before the Supreme Court, there's a better chance people will feel confident in the outcome."

There are good reasons to agree: First, as much as many people would like this thing wrapped up, the legal avenues open to Coleman are open to us all. If we hold to our convictions, would we give up on a battle just because it's an inconvenience or boring to others? And second, Franken supporters are deluded if they believe their guy wouldn't be doing the same thing were he on the short end right now. These folks bristled like riled dogs when Coleman suggested that Franken accept defeat and turn down a recount when Coleman held the lead.

Coleman's point is that absentee votes were counted or rejected based on different standards from county to county. One commentator suggested that equal protection, which dates to the days of slavery, can be used as a basis for Coleman's appeal, but that he doesn't stand a good chance of prevailing because it appears the differing counts were the results of mistakes, not blatant attempts to rig the system.

Coleman, who wants about 12,000 rejected absentee ballots counted, disagrees wholeheartedly.

"These are not garden variety errors," he said. "These are clear policy decisions, up front, by the counties.

"Some counties had differing standards, and whether your ballot counted depended in large part on where you lived," he said. "I'm all for local control, but this is not a zoning or land use issue. There needs to be greater uniformity and I think that's an issue worthy of the Supreme Court."

And in an election where the difference is 300 votes out of three million cast, Coleman's appeal can't be considered frivolous.

"I'm confident the state court will review the case," he said. "Courts want to enfranchise voters and I think this process has left a lot of disenfranchised voters."

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