Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

As of this posting, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune website, with 84% precincts recounted, Franken has lost 1,191 votes while Coleman has lost 1,189 votes. So, by this measure alone, Coleman has expanded his lead by 2 votes.

This is complicated, of course, by the challenged ballot factor (for which Nate Silver provides a helpful primer HERE.) So far, Team Coleman has challenged 1,600 Franken votes and Franken has challenged 1,557 of Coleman's. The mystery is how many of these votes will be added to each candidate's final tally once the canvassing board rules on them. On Sunday, Nate Silver projected a Franken win by 27 votes, largely due to the assumption that significantly more challenged Franken ballots will end up as valid Franken votes than will be the case for Coleman. Indeed, as Nate observed, on a precinct by precinct basis:

...the fewer the number of challenged ballots, the better Franken is doing, and the higher the number of challenged ballots, the worse he is doing; the relationship is in fact quite strong.

It is not an accident, then, that as the number of challenges has increased with each day of the recount, Franken's momentum appears to have stalled out. Very probably, a majority of the challenges are coming from Franken's pile. This is somewhat irrespective of which campaign actually instigates the challenge, since as we suggested yesterday, a potential Franken undervote could be the subject of a challenge from either campaign depending on the initial ruling of the local elections judge.

One theory as to the vastly increasing number of challenges, especially from the Coleman team, is that they are purposely challenging clearly valid Franken votes to create the illusion of a race that is closer than it actually is. To push back on this, the Al Franken campaign is insisting that Coleman's true lead is 84 votes.

"The differential between the two candidates is 84 votes," lead Franken recount lawyer Marc Elias just told a press briefing. "That obviously is down from the starting point of 215."

The public numbers from the Star Tribune currently show Coleman ahead by 210 votes, with 77% of the total ballots recounted. But the Franken campaign points to an obvious flaw in those numbers: All challenged ballots, regardless of the merits of the challenges, are taken out of the count for now until the state canvassing board can make a final ruling.

The Franken camp, however, says its observers have taken down what the opinions were of the on-site election judges, and get their number by assuming that the local officials' calls will ultimately be upheld.

It's also possible that some of the wrongly rejected absentee ballots -- many of which Franken has found should have been counted for him -- may ultimately be included in the recount. There have been at least 6,400 absentee ballots rejected statewide. The hearing on that is tomorrow.

Another point of concern for the Franken camp: a number of ballots that have just plain gone missing.

Al Franken's campaign is contending that Minnesota election officials may have lost several dozen ballots across the state. Their basis for the charge is that the number of recounted ballots in certain counties does not match the total numbers of votes tallied on Election Day.

The campaign sent a letter to Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie detailing their concerns yesterday.

"It appears that there were numerous ballots that were counted on election day, but that are no longer available for consideration during the recount," Franken recount attorney David Lillehaug wrote.

"This is a matter of profound concern and apparently a violation of the Franken campaign's right [and the Coleman campaign's right] to review every ballot cast on election night."

The Franken campaign is nobly fighting for every vote. Help Al have the resources to do so as the recount moves along into December at our Road To 60 ActBlue page.

Tags: Al Franken, MN-Sen, norm coleman, recount (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

All I have to say is...

CROM, COUNT THE DEAD!

This is getting messy.  While I'm pulling for Franken, I just know that this one is going to be remembered for a long time.

I hope that this will be the final incentive to allow statewide instant runoff voting; if we counted all the third (and fourth and fifth) party candidate votes, I think Franken would be a clear winner.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-25 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

To my mind doesn't look good. I mean what happened to all these supposed Franken undervotes???? If Franken and Coleman are only challenging about 2400 votes total then there can't be that many undervotes or what have you..

Looks like our desire to win this seat made us believe some faulty theories....

Hoping Franken pulls it off but this is heading in the wrong direction now...

by obama4presidente 2008-11-25 12:18PM | 0 recs
What's Being Challenged?

To me that's the crucial question. If Franken challenges are mostly to include ballots that weren't originally counted while Coleman challenges are mainly to exclude ballots that had been counted, then I can see Franken winning this election. However, if Franken is challenging ballots that indicated a vote for Coleman and Coleman is challenging ballots that indicated a vote for Franken, then I think Franken can only win by counting the excluded absentee ballots.

My best guess is that Franken has gained about 45 votes that are not tied to any challenges, and will gain about 43 votes simply because Coleman made more challenges. That means Franken is behind by about 119 votes.

by Zzyzzy 2008-11-25 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: What's Being Challenged?

Going on a county by county level, you can see that most of the gains for either side are tied to how many challenges they make.  However, Franken does do better when there are less challenges by both sides, which leads me to believe that there is a slight bias by the Coleman people to challenge legitimate Franken ballots, more so than Franken's people challenging legitimate Coleman ballots.

With over 3000 challenges already, we're not going to know whether Coleman's 200 vote lead holds up until December.

by Skaje 2008-11-25 01:48PM | 0 recs
Seems Plausible

Republicans do seem to have a more win at all cost mentality than Democrats. Thus, we could expect more frivolous challenges by the Coleman side by the Franken side. On the other hand, I'm sure the Coleman people think they are the angels, too.

I'd like to know how the rejected absentee ballots are distributed through out the state. Are they more proportionally from the Blue areas or the Red areas? Which type of voter gets their ballots rejected more often?

It appears that first time voters and other constituencies that vote more Democrat tend to make more mistakes when voting. Thus, that could indicate possible gains for Franken. On the other hand, older voters whose signatures change over time also have a relatively high rejection rate. This group of people tend to vote relatively more Republican. Thus, its hard to say who would gain more if we count some of the rejected absentee ballots. This election could be decided in the courts.

by Zzyzzy 2008-11-25 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

As an observer in my county, I can say that we were pretty scrupulous, and a lot of the Coleman challenges were clearly crap.

by lojasmo 2008-11-25 12:49PM | 0 recs
Seems probable

Coleman is clearly playing from the bottom of the deck on this one, which means he's scared.

He should know better than to try and screw with Minnesotans: upholding democracy is more important to us than the results of one election.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-25 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

To all these people saying all the Coleman challenges are crap:

Remember that "challenge the vote" quiz.. a few of those were Franken challenges and they looked just as crap...

by obama4presidente 2008-11-25 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

I was only speaking from personal experience.

by lojasmo 2008-11-25 02:31PM | 0 recs
OH-15 Update

The OH-15 race is still being held up over the 1,000 disputed provisionals in Franklin County. Stivers' lead is about 500+, but 25,000 absentee and provsionals will not be counted until the 1,000 are recolved. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals threw it back to the Ohio Supreme Court which is giving everyone until Monday to file briefs. There are still more than enough to be counted to put Mary Jo Kilroy over the top, but it's getting annoying.

by RandyMI 2008-11-25 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

Ugh,I dont like Coleman, but I despise Franken even more. An egomaniac who has no business running for office......nor does his left wing views match my centrist view.....I just cant support the guy, hes a slime bucket....

by adb67 2008-11-25 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

Your opinion is spoken from ignorance.  Franken is nothing if not a centrist.  He is also a kind, reasonable person.

by lojasmo 2008-11-25 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

Franken was the wrong man at the wrong time, his deep partisan message could not have been futher from obama's message of unity.  The state party made a big mistake throwing him against coleman.

by BlueDoggyDogg 2008-11-25 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

Have you listened to Franken say ONE WORD in the last eighteen months?  I think not.

by lojasmo 2008-11-26 01:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

Also, you are no more than a holding on bitter concern troll, to use the parlance of the low information blogger.  Jump in a hole.

by lojasmo 2008-11-26 01:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

why couldn't the party come up w/ a more appealing candidate? i mean, obama wins by 10 and franken ties at best? this shouldn't have even been a contest, i hope MN gets it right the next go-round.....

by BlueDoggyDogg 2008-11-25 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

Strange.  Last time I checked greater than 80% of incumbent republican senators won by a significant margin this electoral cycle.  Three basically tied.

by lojasmo 2008-11-26 01:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

A win by Coleman win would mark the first time since 1940 that a Republican has been elected Senator from Minn. in a presidential election year in which a Democrat was sent to the White House and the first time in state history that a Republican candidate won a full-term U.S. Senate seat whilst the state cast its electoral votes for a Democrat by double-digits.

by BlueDoggyDogg 2008-11-26 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

No matter what the outcome, I just hope Cullen Sheehan is savagely beaten by rioting Minnesotans and forced to repeat the phrase "the Senator has reported every gift he has ever received" into a microphone until his injuries no longer permit him to speak. Then I hope they get him a voice box and lock him away in some cold, dark place where he never gets to speak again.

While I have nothing against the man personally, he is a blizzard when it comes to obscuring the truth. Unnamed sources on blogs is one thing, but no one rents a basement apartment on Capitol Hill for $600. Even 800 ft studios with mold damage are like $1,500 a month in that area.

When Sheehan is finished and moves on to fast food or some other profession better suited to his knowledge, skills and abilities, I want real answers to those questions.

M

by techsoldaten 2008-11-26 06:05AM | 0 recs

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