Most of the work related to the ongoing recount in the Minnesota Senate race ended week when the canvassing board went through almost all of the challenged ballots, assigning them to either Franken, Coleman, or “other.” Many ballot challenges issued earlier by one campaign or the other were withdrawn but for clerical reasons could not be considered yet. In this way, the week ended with Franken ahead by over 250 votes.
The challenged-then-withdrawn ballots have been re-entered into the count unofficially, and the canvassing board will verify those data today and adjust the count accordingly. As expected, Franken’s lead will go down, but remain positive. The count at the end of this operation will have Franken with a 48 vote lead.
Then, as far as we can tell, there are three more things to do.
1) Both Franken and Coleman have a small number of additional challenges to enter, and presumably the canvassing board will consider these. We’re talkin’ dozens in total. This might cause the count to change a little bit one way or another. I have no information on what is expected.
2) The Minnesota state supreme court is going to consider, today, the issue of what the Coleman campaign claims to be double counted ballots. They have selectively identified about 130 ballots that they claim were double counted, although the procedure used during the recount makes this almost impossible. It is almost certainly the case that these magic double counted ballots are nothing more than Coleman’s effort to lose this race with a claim … that morons and conspiracy theorists can hang onto … that he really won. If the supreme court handles this like they handled the last issue brought before them related to this race, which was very poorly, we can expect some messiness.
3) Last week, the Minnesota state supreme court issued a bizarre ruling regarding what might be around 1,500 absentee ballots rejected by parsimonious and probably under trained election officials. These ballots are likely to favor Franken, and therefore Coleman, who wants to be Senator no matter what, does not want them counted. The Supreme court ruled that the two campaigns and the secretary of state’s office need to come up with a plan that all three parties agree on to consider these ballots. In other words, the Supreme Court gave Coleman veto power over considering these votes.
I will keep an eye on things and I will keep you posted.