MN-Sen: Recount Complete...Sort Of

The semi-final results of the hand recount were published today at 1:28 PM CT on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website. Of Minnesota's 4,130 precincts, 4,129 have finished reporting. The remaining precinct represents the Minneapolis' 3rd Ward where 133 Ballots have gone missing. During the ensuing search 12 sealed and uncounted absentee ballots were found. Pending the returns of these 145 ballots, here is the count:

            Recount         Original
Coleman:   1,208,344   -   1,210,995  =  -2,651
Franken:   1,207,657   -   1,210,285  =  -2,628

Franken Net Today:   13 (91 Yesterday, -13 day before, 41)
Total Franken Net:   23
Franken Deficit:    192
Current Margin:     687

But there are also 1,965 votes, as certified on November 18th, from the aforementioned Minneapolis precinct, which are not included in the count. Based upon those roughly two thousand votes, Franken leads Coleman by 495; and that 495 is not included in the table above.

There are still 6,655 challenged ballots that have not been counted that will be reviewed by the canvassing board starting next week. From the challenge pile, Coleman is responsible for 3,375 and Franken 3,280. Both sides have called the opposition's challenges frivolous, and both sides appear to be right.

On December 3rd, the Franken Campaign issued a press release regarding their frivolous challenges:

This afternoon, the Franken campaign sent a letter to the Secretary of State withdrawing 633 challenges. The fact that we are withdrawing these challenges does not in any way have any effect on the likelihood that Al Franken will win the recount. The only practical impact of what we are doing today is that it will save the state canvassing board the trouble of looking at these challenges themselves.

Source: Al Franken For Senate

Not to be out done, the Coleman campaign released their version of the story on December 4th:

Today, in the spirit of working to remedy an excess of challenged ballots, we will voluntarily withdraw 650 challenged by the Coleman campaign. This morning, I left a voicemail, and sent an email, to Franken campaign attorney Marc Elias regarding challenged ballots. We are doing so this in the spirit of reaching out to their campaign so we can sit down early next week and discuss what process we can agree to in order to winnow down these challenged ballots.

Source: Norm Coleman For Senate

Factoring in the 1,283 withdrawals into the challenge count yields the following result:

            Franken:  2,647
            Coleman:  2,725
            Total:    5,372

            Margin:      78

Once the final precinct is included, disregarding the 133 ballots, Franken could net as many as 495 votes. If the 133 ballots were erroneously counted twice, Franken would lose 46 votes, reducing his gain from Minneapolis Ward 3's First Precinct to 449. If Franken also sweeps the 12 new absentee ballots, he will head into the challenge phase, of the recount, with a minimal deficit of 180 votes.

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