The Franken Coleman Recount: What next?

All but one precinct has been counted (and I understand that will be done momentarily). However, there is a box (or bag or envelope) of ballots missing in Minneapolis. The Secretary of State has indicated that the recount deadline is extended to allow these missing 130 or so votes to be found and included. (Coleman’s lawyer is objecting to this, naturally.) In a television interview earlier today, Richie also indicated that the state will be looking at a number of absentee ballots as well.

The current difference between Coleman and Franken is probably about 192 votes, with Coleman ahead. This does not count the six thousand or so ballots that are currently not in the Coleman, Franken or “Other” piles because they are being contested by one side or the other.

A fund raising letter has been going around indicating that there is still a pretty good chance that Franken is ahead of Coleman in consideration of the contested ballots. My own calculations based entirely on thumb suck estimates of one kind or another suggest that the contested ballots could account for a good percentage of the 192 votes that separate the two candidates, but that the difference between the two candidates would still be only a few votes … one way or the other.

By no means is this settled.

Over the next ten days or less, both campaigns are expected to follow Franken’s initiative in removing some of the challenged ballots from consideration. You can expect the final number of challenged ballots to be close to 5,000. As this happens, the number of votes seaprating the candiates will also change if some of those ballots are placed in the “Franken” or “Coleman” piles. (They could also be placed in the “Other” pile .. and in fact, that is what I expect.)

The state canvassing board will meet on December 16th and thereafter to review the ballots, the recount data, etc. etc. and eventually come up with a final count.


  1. #1 Ana
    December 5, 2008

    I have just been asked by ceimn to observe, over the next week, the sorting and counting of improperly rejected absentee ballots and am glad to know and report here that the Sec. of State has taken this initiative. Given what we already know about the matter (est. number in Ramsey County at 35 or so), these votes will be of critical significance to the outcome of this race – even if only used as “discovery” for the next-to-certain court challenge…

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    December 5, 2008

    I’m glad you’re doing this, Ana. Thank you.

  3. #3 Ana
    December 5, 2008

    While Minneapolis has been given more time to come up with the 133 missing ballots (not the first time this precinct has made the news this season: ), the possibility that they will never be found is real and elections officials are beginning to discuss what should happen in that case. One option would be to include the machine-vote totals from Nov. 4th for that precinct in the recount (C: 464, F: 1355). Adding these to the recount totals of all other precincts, now up at the SOS website, puts Franken up by 204 votes going into the challenge-stage (C: 1,208,808 F: 1,209,012).

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    December 6, 2008

    Ana; I get different numbers. Working on this now, I’ll post something later this AM.

  5. #5 Stacy
    December 6, 2008

    Did it take this long in Florida? I don’t remember.

  6. #6 Ana
    December 6, 2008

    Stacy – Katherine Harris ended the recount in Florida before the votes were counted.

    Greg – I’m not surprised that you get different numbers. There are many many reckonings out there…

  7. #7 Ana
    December 6, 2008

    Or I could have used the wrong precinct/ward combo…

    Ward 3, Precinct 1 (from Nov.4): C:595 F:1090

    That puts Coleman up going into the challenge stage by 192.


  8. #8 Greg Laden
    December 6, 2008

    Ana: Exactly. I just posted the new information.