)Updated) According to several different sources of information, it appears that when the challenged ballots are figured into the current Minnesota Senate Seat Recount, Candidate Al Franken will move ahead of incumbent Senator Norm Coleman by somewhere between eight and twelve votes. This is significantly different than I had expected. I had predicted that Franken would move ahead by one vote because, well, that would be really funny.
Both sides of the race have withdrawn the vast majority of challenged ballots. Secretary of state Ritchie delayed the start of the canvassing board’s meeting yesterday to allow those withdraws to happen. Apparently the canvassing board did meet yesterday and is meeting today. Given the reduced number of challenges, you can expect the canvassing board to have completed their look at these challenges in far fewer than the four days it was originally thought to take. Perhaps we will be hearing from them later today. They now say they are hoping to finish this activity by Friday. I’m predicting much, much sooner. In most cases, the ballots are pretty clear and I doubt the board will tolerate much messing around by the lawyers.
UPDATE: We now know that the canvassing board will begin looking at challenged ballots today at noon Central Time, and will begin by looking at the 442 challenges made by the Franken camp. Later, they will get to the 980 challenges made by the Coleman camp.
There is still the matter of absentee ballots. Franken wants them counted, Coleman does not. If the recount at hand, including challenges but not including absentee ballots favors Franken, it will be interesting to see what the Coleman camp does.