Review of Challenged Ballots, Day 1

The State Canvassing Board has begun the tedious process of reviewing the challenged ballots from the Minnesota Senate Recount. The proceedings can be watched at the Minnesota House of Representatives Website (as shown below) or at

[The first session has ended, but a replay is available: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]

The exact number of challenges, by either campaign, remains somewhat uncertain. Each campaign has released three phases of withdrawals, roughly halving their initial number of challenges. The most recent withdrawal statement came from the Franken campaign last Friday:

The Franken campaign today announced that it would withdraw another 750 ballot challenges, bringing the total number it has withdrawn to over 1800.

Source: Al Franken for Senate

Based upon each candidate's withdrawals and the Secretary of State's data, the challenge count stands as depicted below:

                          Current   Withdrawn
            Franken:       1,470      1,808
            Coleman:       2,027      1,350
            Total:         3,497      3,158

            Margin:          557        458

Norm Coleman and Al Franken each issued further statements regarding potential withdrawals. We'll start with Norm Coleman's statement issued on Sunday, December 14th at 5:41 PM CT:

With that in mind, it is our intent to reduce our challenges to somewhere south of 1,000 ballot challenges by the time the board meets on Tuesday. It is our hope that prior to the Canvassing Board meeting the board and the Secretary of State will have a credible process that is both uniform and consistent for reviewing challenged ballots.

Source: Norm Coleman for Senate

Franken released a similar statement yesterday, December 15th at 7:52 PM CT:

Two days after members of the state canvassing board issued an urgent plea for campaigns to withdraw additional challenges in order to allow them to finish their work in a timely fashion, the Franken campaign today announced that it would have fewer than 500 challenges remaining by the time the board meets on Tuesday.

Source: Al Franken for Senate

Depending on who you believe, or which count you use, a plethora of challenges, by both campaigns, still must be reviewed by the five member canvassing board. The review process started at 12:00 PM CT today, after a delay, and intends to conclude on Friday the 19th.

The recount results from each of Minnesota's 4130 Precincts were semi-finalized last Friday, the 12th of December. The results are depicted below; challenge conclusions are not included:

Minnesota Recount Results

It appears as the the board as begun by reviewing only challenges made by Al Franken, at least so far. [2:27 PM CT]

Current Challenge Resolution Count:

2:06 PM CT: Coleman +25, Franken +5

2:10 PM CT: Coleman +27, Franken +5

2:16 PM CT: Coleman +29, Franken +6

2:24 PM CT: Coleman +31, Franken +8

2:35 PM CT: Coleman +35, Franken +8

2:39 PM CT: Coleman +37, Franken +8

2:45 PM CT: Coleman +37, Franken +8 (After 62 Challenges)

2:47 PM CT: Coleman +37, Franken +9, Other +12 (After 64 Challenges)

2:58 PM CT: Coleman +43, Franken +9, Other +18 (After 70 Challenges)

3:05 PM CT: Coleman +49, Franken +9, Other +19 (After 77 Challenges)

3:55 PM CT: Coleman +77, Franken +14, Other +29 (After 120 Challenges)

4:12 PM CT: Coleman +79, Franken +14, Other +30 (After 123 Challenges)

4:23 PM CT: Coleman +82, Franken +15, Other +32 (After 129 Challenges)

4:49 PM CT: Coleman +90, Franken +19, Other +36 (After 145 Challenges)

5:02 PM CT: Coleman +96, Franken +21, Other +40 (After 157 Challenges)

5:07 PM CT: Coleman +97, Franken +22, Other +41 (After 160 Challenges)

The Canvassing Board has concluded reviewing ballots, for today. After the final ballot was reviewed they went on to talk about the need for each campaign to further reduce the number of challenges brought to the board. The board reviewed 159 challenges put forth by the Franken campaign, and a single challenge by the Coleman campaign which was mistakenly in the wrong pile. Coleman's challenge was overruled and the vote went to Franken.

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