Review of Challenged Ballots, Day 3

The second to last day allocated by the State Canvassing Board for the review of challenged ballots started today at 9 AM CT. The proceedings can be watched at the Minnesota House of Representatives Website (as shown below) or at

[The third session has ended, but a replay is available: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

Yesterday the Board examined 415 total ballots, predominately from the Franken pile, and ruled as follows, according to the StarTribune:

Candidate   Challenges  ->Coleman    ->Franken     ->Other
Coleman (R)     20      7  (35.0%)    7 (35.0%)   6  (30.0%)
Franken (D)    391     225 (57.5%)   56 (14.3%)  110 (28.1%) 
Unknown         4       0  (00.0%)    0 (00.0%)   0  (00.0%)
Total          415     232 (55.9%)   63 (15.2%)  116 (28.0%) arrived at the same total of 415, but their intermediate numbers differ slightly:

                 238 awarded to Coleman 
                 63 awarded to Franken
                 114 awarded to "Other"

The day seemingly belonged to Democrat, Al Franken. Roughly 15% of Franken's challenges were for himself; I find it unlikely that Coleman will reach a similar threshold, but we won't know until the results are in. Today, the board will review, or start to review approximately 1,017 Coleman challenges.

If Coleman's challenges follow the same trend as Franken's (using Star Tribune data), the following result seems possible, if not probable:

Candidate  Gain from Coleman Challenges   Net Challenge Gain
Coleman      1016 * (14.3%) = 145.2       232 + 145.2 = 377.2 
Franken      1016 * (57.5%) = 584.2       63 + 584.2 = 647.2
Other        1016 * (28.1%) = 285.5       116 + 285.5 = 401.5
Total                  1016                   Franken +270

The Star Tribune arrived at "Franken by 275," and that includes the thousands of withdrawals issued by each campaign; a fact the above calculation ignores. So if Franken gains in the ballpark of 270 votes from the challenges, where does that leave the count?

There is still the issue of the mistakenly rejected absentee ballots place in the "fifth pile." According to the Star Tribune, with 51 of 87 counties having completed their review of absentee ballots, 721 remain in the "fifth pile."

If Franken does in fact gain the 270 votes from the challenges, he will overcome the current 188 vote deficit and take an 82 vote lead. This may explain why the Coleman campaign has taken a sudden interest in the double ballot counting issue. They released the following statement yesterday on the topic:

If the founders had wanted some people to have their vote counted once and other people to have their votes counted twice it would have been in the Constitution. Unfortunately for the Franken campaign the case law in this matter is quite clear: Double-counting votes violates the concept of "one person, one vote." The Franken campaign's refusal to correct errors in which the same voter's originally cast ballot, and a duplicate ballot made election night because the original was inadvertently damaged, will create an inaccurate count. It would be an aberration and a corruption of the Constitution to allow for a new standard to be applied to double-count votes just because the Franken campaign is asking for it to be done.

Source: Norm Coleman for Senate

The canvassing board, yesterday, allowed each campaign to make their case regarding this topic. The board essentially decided that this is not an issue they will look into, at the moment, and suggested that a court would be the proper place to take of the claim. They may address the issue again today, however. The board also hinted at the possibility of releasing data this morning, but that does not appear to be the case, at least so far. Perhaps they will address this issue too.

Current Challenge Resolution Count (from

9:00 AM CT: Meeting started; 208 additional challenges from the Coleman campaign. Lunch from 12:30 to 2:00 PM CT. They will handle these additional challenges on December 30th.

9:06 AM CT: The first three ballots were withdrawn with 2 being allocated to Franken and 1 to Other.

9:07 AM CT: They are apparently placing "incident report" challenges in a blue folder for later review.

9:09 AM CT: First actual challenge, goes to nobody; an undervote.

9:17 AM CT: Coleman +238, Franken +72, Other +116 (After 426 Challenges)

9:27 AM CT: Coleman +238, Franken +79, Other +118 (After 435 Challenges)

9:38 AM CT: "Lizard People" ballot ruled an overvote.

9:39 AM CT: Coleman +238, Franken +96, Other +120 (After 453 Challenges)

9:40 AM CT: After 38 challenges, Coleman has not gained a vote.

9:43 AM CT: "Flying Spaghetti Monster" ballot ruled a vote for Franken.

9:56 AM CT: Coleman +238, Franken +127, Other +122 (After 486 Challenges)

10:16 AM CT: Coleman +240, Franken +147, Other +130 (After 518 Challenges)

10:38 AM CT: Coleman +243, Franken +151, Other +133 (After 527 Challenges)

10:49 AM CT: Coleman +243, Franken +153, Other +138 (After 534 Challenges)

11:05 AM CT: Coleman +244, Franken +165, Other +141 (After 549 Challenges)

12:07 PM CT: Coleman +248, Franken +245, Other +155 (After 648 Challenges)

5:12 PM CT: Coleman +253, Franken +432, Other +198 (After 883 Challenges)

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