All's Quiet on the MN Recount Front

In the span between the pseudo-conclusion of the recount last Friday, and today, the flow of actual information has essentially ceased; having been replaced by the battle over public perception. With the first round of challenge withdrawals having already taken place, each candidate decided a second round was in order.

The Franken campaign lead, again by releasing the following statement on December 9th at 9:43 AM CT:

The Franken campaign announced today that it was withdrawing an additional 425 ballot challenges, bringing the total number of challenges withdrawn by Franken to 1,058.

Source: Al Franken For Senate

Coleman was again, late to the withdrawing party; issuing this release about 8 hours later at 5:33 PM CT:

The Coleman for Senate campaign today announced it would be withdrawing an additional 475 challenged ballots ahead of the Minnesota State Canvassing Board meeting to review these ballots next week. On Thursday, December 4, the campaign withdrew 650 challenges for a total of 1,125 challenges withdrawn by the Coleman campaign.

Source: Norm Coleman For Senate

The Secretary of State's data does not exclude these withdrawn challenges, so its impossible to draw any trends about these challenges beyond simple arithmetic. If all withdrawn challenges are factored into the publicly available challenge count, a new challenge count emerges:

                          Current   Withdrawn
            Franken:       2,220      1,058
            Coleman:       2,292      1,125
            Total:         4,514      2,183

            Margin:           72         67

Its is absolutely impossible to know how these challenges will break, but we do know that Franken currently trails by at least 180 votes. Using this assumption, I created functions for each candidate's challenge gains as a function of the total number of relevant challenges; these functions are shown below:

                 180 = Franken - Coleman
                   x = Franken + Coleman

Where x is the number challenges directly adding to either candidate's total. Here's an example; lets assume x is 3,000 meaning that out of the 4,514 total challenges, only 3,000 of them actually resulted in either candidate gaining votes:

                 180 = Franken - Coleman
                3000 = Franken + Coleman

               3000  = (180 + Coleman) + Coleman
               2820  = 2(Coleman)

                1410 = Coleman
                1590 = Franken

So if there are 3,000 additive challenges, Franken must win 53% of them. The graph below illustrates the above relationship for all values of x ranging between 180 and 4514:

% Challenges Needed For Franken Victory

There is absolutely no data available to access the relative difficulty associated with reaching any challenge percentage in the above graph. The graph simply presents the outcome necessary for a Franken victory based on the currently available data.

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