This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 27, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And we are following the developing situation in Minnesota tonight where the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken is still undecided almost three months after Election Day.
Now for the second straight day, a three-judge panel considered whether or not that some 3,000 to 5,000 rejected absentee ballots will be counted which could make the difference at the end of the day as Al Franken clings to a tenuous 225 vote lead.
And joining us now in a "Hannity" exclusive is Norm Coleman.
Senator, thanks for being with us.
NORM COLEMAN (R), FMR. MINNESOTA SENATOR: Sean, it's always a pleasure to be with such a great American. Thank you.
HANNITY: I appreciate that. All right. Let's start. You were in the courtroom from day one. Al Franken was not there. The issue has come down to these 3,000 to 5,000 absentee ballots. Tell us what the status of this is now.
COLEMAN: A very simple case we have, and that is the proposition, one that all votes that are validly cast should be counted, and particularly whether it comes to absentee ballots, not just those in Democrat areas, and that's what has happened so far.
I was ahead election night, Sean, I was ahead when the recount started. The Franken folks want to stop now that he has a tenuous, we believe, artificial lead but when all the votes are counted, all the absentee ballots are counted, and there is across the state we believe that we will regain the lead.
In addition to that, the simple proposition that no vote should be counted more than once. There are a number of votes that have been double counted, meaning there are more votes than voters in a number of precincts in — in the number of, by the way, in Democratic areas.
So if we just make sure that every vote is counted once, and every legally cast absentee ballot is counted, I'm really confident that I'm going to come back out on top.
HANNITY: Well, Senator, as many as — I understand that 25 counties have literally more votes than they had people that actually said they were voting on Election Day. Is that correct?
COLEMAN: Actually, I think it was about more than 25 precincts.
COLEMAN: And predominantly Democrat areas. And, yes, you have more votes than voters. In America, that's not supposed to happen. We believe that will be corrected.
The biggest pool of votes that you touched on were the absentee ballots. There were about 953 that were counted from heavily Democrat areas. We have over 4,000 absentee ballots from across the state, and — and they were rejected even though they — from those that were accepted. That's classic Bush versus Gore. You can't have different standards in different counties.
COLEMAN: So today we had real voters come in and say hey, my vote was rejected. A 75-year-old blind guy whose wife had him sign under her signature, not in his signature place. He said he voted since, he voted for Eisenhower in ‘52. He wants his vote counted. We're going to get his vote counted, Sean, and we'll win this race.
HANNITY: All right. But I want to go — I think this is very important to explain to the audience exactly what's happening here, because I contend that Al Franken wants to stop the counting, you know, now that he's ahead, but they — this is very important because the absentee ballots, they only went to the canvassing board, and their decisions were conflicting, and they literally only allowed the recount for districts that would — or precincts that would tend to favor Al Franken, but they didn't apply the same standards to districts where you did very well.
Explain specifically what happened.
COLEMAN: Well, here's what happened. We have about 12,000 absentee ballots that were rejected. The order was given to the counties, go back and take a look at those that were rejected, perhaps wrongfully rejected. And what you had is you had some counties, mostly in Democrat dominated areas, that went back and — we got a lot of those that were wrongfully rejected and they're put in the mix.
And many of the other counties particularly Republican dominated counties, folks look and say hey, we did the right thing on election night, we're not going to put any back in the mix.
But the bottom line, if you have ballots in Democrat counties that were put back in the mix, even though apparently the signature didn't match on the night of the election or because there wasn't registration form that one could see, but they later found it when they opened the ballot, and found the registration form in there, you have to apply those same standards statewide, Sean.
And what we did is we identified over 4,500 absentee ballots that — that were — that have been rejected that have the same standards, the same conditions as those that have now gotten into be counted. So if you're going to count all of them, you're — I believe we'll come out ahead.
Right now the Franken folks want the votes — the counting stopped. They've got ballots in from the Democratic areas, they want the counting stopped, they're fighting real hard not to allow in votes.
The folks who came before the court today to say hey, I'm legally registered...
COLEMAN: ... I'm alive. I voted. I want my vote counted.
HANNITY: Well, which is only fair. As your lawyer pointed out, it's — it is very tedious, it is going to take a little bit of time, but you can't have two separate standards here as it relates to the counting of the votes.
Let me ask you on another point here, and that is Harry Reid has desperately, seemingly desperately wanted to seat Al Franken and do it quickly. But Minnesota law does not allow the certification to go through, and correct me if I'm wrong, until every court challenge is complete.
COLEMAN: The — I've paraphrased Twain. In the reports of my defeat or Franken's victory are greatly exaggerated. Minnesota law specifically holds off any final certification. The governor, the secretary of state cannot sign a certification that anyone is the winner until we conclude the contested case.
Harry Reid has said, has talked about wanting to seat Franken provisionally. Harry Reid will not decide who the next senator for Minnesota is.
COLEMAN: The voters of Minnesota will decide who the next senator is. They're going to decide when their votes are all counted.
HANNITY: All right, Senator.
COLEMAN: ... and no voted is counted more than once.
HANNITY: Last question. There are a lot of people that have been writing us and wanting us to cover this story. They're following it closely. What could people do if they want to help you, Senator?
COLEMAN: Sean, this recount is an expensive proposition. Al Franken's got George Soros. He's got Moveon.org. I need just good Americans to contribute, ColemanForSenate.com, www.colemanforsenate.com. It's an expensive proposition. Don't let George Soros, Moveon.org, or the far left buy this race.
HANNITY: All right, Senator, we'll be watching closely. Thank you for being with us.
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