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Coleman appeal will aid in votes counted equally

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Your conclusion that Sen. Coleman should stop his appeal is inconsistent with law and bad for voters. Whoever is losing will challenge and the only fair question is whether their basis for appeal raises important legal questions regarding the counting of votes without regard to the outcome of the election.

The law of our country, as set down by our Supreme Court in Bush vs. Gore, is that allowing counties to count votes by different standards is a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court vote was 7-2 on that issue. To hold otherwise would be to allow, indeed incentivize, counties to manipulate vote counts and election results by loosening or tightening standards for counting based upon predictable voting trends.

If the respondent does not favor the precedent, he must either distinguish his case from it or argue to overturn it. Whatever temporary inconvenience by a few more weeks or even months without a second senator is outweighed by ensuring that voting rules treat all of us equally.

Perhaps, instead of being critical of legitimate and necessary methods of ensuring election fairness we might consider how we could vote differently given the closely divided status of the electorate. Run-offs and statewide, uniform counting rules for absentee ballots should be considered to accelerate finality and ensure fairness.

Lawyers or other representatives of candidates should be absolutely barred from asking voters how they voted. Incorrectly completed ballots should be presumed to be invalid in whole or part absent clear and convincing evidence of the voter's intent. We have absolutely no business guessing how someone voted.

You conclude that "public perception" now that the Coleman appeal is being taken for the purpose of stalling legislation and not as method of ensuring voting fairness.

"Public perception" of the purpose of an appeal can be and very often is manipulated for political advantage. It is always easier to allege bad intent and attack than to make a reasoned argument on principle. We should not legitimize this "handlers trick," so divisive and crude by honoring it. Let us honor instead our Constitution, its guarantee of equal protection, and the independence of a non-politicized judiciary.

Carl Baer

Bemidji

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