(CN) – Absentee ballots that were improperly rejected should be included in a recount in the tightly contested U.S. Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled.
Coleman won the first round by 215 votes, but the margin was so small it triggered an automatic recount. Franken’s request for a review of rejected absentee ballots resulted in more than 600 newly counted votes, which had been previously rejected.
The recount gave the victory to Franken by a margin of 225 votes.
Justice Meyer rejected Coleman’s petition to disallow the counting of previously rejected ballots.
“Where the candidates and local election officials agree that an absentee ballot … was rejected in error,” Meyer wrote, “establishing that the correction will reflect the true vote of the people, we can allow correction of the error without awaiting an election contest.”