As many of you have already heard, the recount process in Minnesota to determine the outcome of the Senatorial race is over, and Al Franken has been certified as winner.
There is now a review period of seven days during which any voter in the state of Minnesota. Including me, Al Franken, whomever, can sue for an Election Challenge. Although both Secretary of State Ritchie and I have expressed the opinion that Norm Coleman, who lost the race, is unlikely to issue such a challenge, the press and even Coleman’s lawyers have suggested that a challenge will in fact be filed by three o’clock tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.
However, you know the following is true: The best chance Coleman has to turn what he calls Franken’s “Artificial Lead” around is from a set of 650 as yet uncounted rejected absentee ballots. There are two things working against Coleman in regards to these ballots. First, the process is over and they were not counted. Asking for them to be counted is not a matter of bringing in something new. They have already been not-counted by a process determined by the same court to which Coleman would issue the challenge, and some members of that court were also on the canvassing board that certified the election this afternoon. So the chances of a challenge being accepted by this court is easily estimated at zero point zero zero zero. Or less.
Second, in order for Al Franken’s official 225 vote lead to be erased by counting these absentee ballots, there would have to be a very strong bias in these 650 ballots that Coleman wants counted. I calculate that there is about a two to three percent probability that counting these votes would change the outcome in Coleman’s favor. That may seem like a lot, but the chances of having the votes being counted to begin with is about zero.
Coleman really has two choices: Proceed with the challenge and end his political career or don’t proceed and have a chance of continuing in Minnesota politics.
Which, I would guess, would involve his run for governor in two years. As a democrat, of course.