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Supremes Deny Coleman on Duplicate Ballots

In a brief, unanimous decision handed out earlier this afternoon, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied Norm Coleman’s request to prevent certification of the recount until claims regarding alleged double-counted ballots are resolved. Nor will it require any further efforts from the counties in pursuit of such ballots.

The Court decided simply that Coleman hadn’t presented enough evidence, essentially challenging him to contest the election if he could come back with more. As we pointed out yesterday, while it is nearly guaranteed that there were at least some instances of double-counting, the same discrepancies could be explained by other phenomena, an Coleman’s case relied on what might could best be described as circumstantial evidence.

It now appears almost certain that Al Franken will be certified by the state as the winner of the election at some point in early January. Although Franken’s lead over Coleman is narrow — 46 votes — the only substantial group of ballots remaining to be counted are rejected absentees. But both campaigns have been operating under the assumption that those absentee ballots are more likely to add to Franken’s margin than subtract from it.

Coleman’s attorneys, however, have strongly hinted that he will be back in court to contest Franken’s victory if and when that result is certified.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.