Long-running race comes to an end

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state’s long-running Senate race.

The high court rejected a legal challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, whose options for regaining the Senate seat are dwindling.

Justices said Franken is entitled to the election certificate he needs to assume office. With Franken and the usual backing of two independents, Democrats will have a big enough majority to overcome Republican filibusters.

Coleman hasn’t ruled out seeking federal court intervention.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the earliest Franken would be seated is next week because the Senate is out of session for the July 4th holiday.

Coleman’s appeal hinged largely on whether thousands of absentee votes had been unfairly rejected by local election officials around the state.

The unanimous court wrote that “because the legislature established absentee voting as an optional method of voting, voters choosing to use that method are required to comply with the statutory provisions.”

They went on to say that “because strict compliance with the statutory requirements for absentee voting is, and always has been required, there is no basis on which voters could have reasonably believed that anything less than strict compliance would suffice.”

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